SDHI update

Following the publication on 7 November of an article in the scientific journal PLOS One on the toxicity of SDHI fungicides to cells cultured in vitro, ANSES points out that it is continuing its work on the potential health effects of these substances under real conditions of exposure, in cooperation with other scientific research and expert appraisal organisations.

In this regard, it asked INSERM to consider the data from this publication, along with other recent publications, in the collective expert appraisal that the Institute is currently conducting to update knowledge on the health effects of pesticides.

This is important because scientific risk assessment is based on all the available knowledge, particularly data on mechanisms of action and experimental toxicity in cells (in vitro) and animals (in vivo). The article published yesterday provides new data obtained on cell lines under experimental conditions. In any case, as the authors point out in their article, it is unwise to compare IC50[1] values obtained in vitro under laboratory conditions with the SDHI concentrations that could result from applying pesticides to crops.

These data of interest will therefore be examined by the scientific expert groups that ANSES is mobilising to examine all recent studies on SDHI, including the results of INSERM's collective expert appraisal, in order to update its opinion of 14 January 2019.

ANSES points out that following a report by a team of scientists, it convened a group of independent scientific experts and concluded on 14 January that there was no health alert justifying the withdrawal of marketing authorisations for SDHI fungicides. However, it called for vigilance at European and international level and decided to continue work on potential toxicological effects on humans, in order to better document exposure through food, air and soil, and to detect possible health effects in the field through the existing monitoring schemes.

ANSES also took the initiative to address the issue of cumulative exposure to the various SDHI fungicides via food and will be publishing its findings in the first half of 2020.

ANSES's mission is to scientifically assess health risks in order to protect human health and the environment. With plant protection products, whenever a doubt arises and a health alert is confirmed, it amends or withdraws marketing authorisations without delay.

[1] Concentrations inhibiting the biological functions studied, for half of the cell cultures.