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A Concerted Action to construct generic databases of re-entry and bystander exposures to plant protection products, and develop predictive models

Contract nr: FAIR-CT96-1406
Project nr: 1406
Project type: CA
Starting date: 01/01/1997
Duration: 48 months
Total cost: 368,000 EUR
EC Contribution: 368,000 EUR
Scientific Officer: Arnaud BORCHARD
Research topic: Plant health

In the European Union Council Directive 91/414/EEC of 15 July 1991 controls the authorisation and placing on the market plant protection products. The role and importance of plant protection products, the removal of national barriers to trade, the harmonisation of national legislative provisions relating to the authorisation of plant protection products, provisions as to data requirements and decision-making criteria and standards for protection of health and the environment are all provided for in the Directive. Within the EU, predictive models have been used to estimate likely levels of operator exposure by various Member States in their authorisation processes. This reflects the lack of field study data for many compounds and/or their use patterns. In the case of bystander or re-entry exposure, it is believed that even less relevant information is available. The development of harmonised models for pesticide exposure assessment, incorporating the best features of existing models presently in use in Europe and the assembly of a comprehensive, high quality database to support the model will result in a significantly improved assessment of the impact of pesticides on the health of operators, other workers and bystanders. These models should be widely acceptable in Europe and will provide guidance for the design of future field studies for inclusion in the database that will allow further improvement of the harmonised model. In 1996 the original EUROPOEM steering committee was contracted by the EU Commission to address these issues.

A primary objective of this proposal is to construct a generic European re-entry database of the monitored exposures associated with re-entry by workers into areas where crops have previously been treated with plant protection products. This exercise will allow generic Transfer Factors (also known as Transfer Coefficients) for specific crop/re-entry activity combinations to be derived. A predictive model will be developed that will use Transfer Factors to predict worker re-entry exposure. A second primary objective is to construct a generic European database of bystander exposure to plant protection products, and to develop a predictive model. A third objective is to use previously generated studies to evaluate the efficacy of exposure mitigation measures. The final objective is to update and expand the existing European predictive operator exposure database and to refine the predictive operator exposure model (the EUROPOEM database and model).

The group will establish criteria for acceptability of re-entry and bystander exposure data. Existing re-entry and bystander studies will be collected and generic databases will be constructed. The group will develop models for the prediction of bystander and re-entry worker exposure. In addition, new studies of operator exposure (e.g. studies carried out since the EUROPOEM project began and studies carried out in Member States that have only recently joined the EU) will be collated and used to update the EUROPOEM operator exposure database, filling data gaps. This will allow refinement of the EUROPOEM model to produce an improved basis for predicting operator exposures and potential hazards. The available exposure data will be critically reviewed in order to evaluate the efficiency of exposure mitigation measures, including protective clothing and engineering controls. The group will develop methods of disseminating the results of the project, allowing wide access to, and maximum exploitation of, the project results.

Current situation/results:
Significant progress has been made towards addressing the aims of this Concerted Action. A substantial number of high quality operator exposure studies have been entered into the generic EUROPOEM database and existing surrogate values reviewed in the light of the new data. As a result of a Europe-wide request for relevant additional data, it has been determined that substantially all of the available data has now been accessed.
A working group to evaluate mitigation methods, standards and efficacy has been established and a unified conceptual framework developed. The literature on mitigation is being evaluated and the EUROPOEM database used to evaluate the barrier performance of protective gloves and clothing.
A working group to consider re-entry exposure of workers has evaluated the relevant literature and established a framework for assessing post application exposure and risk. The development of models is being progressed. Scenarios for bystander exposure have been developed and the relevant literature accessed. A substantial number of exposure records have been summarised.
The steering committee has been actively involved in co-ordinating the activities of the various working groups. Data gaps have been identified and the development of future research programmes to address these deficiencies supported.


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  • Dieter WESTPHAL
    Bundesinstitut fuer Gesundheitlichen Verbraucherschutz und Veterinaermedizin
    Thieallee 88-92
    D-14191 Berlin
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  • Erik KIRKNEL
    Danish Institute of Plant and Soil Science
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  • Stuart JAGGERS
    PO Box 1467
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  • Pierre-Gerard PONTAL
    Rhone Poulenc Agro
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  • Andrew GILBERT
    MAFF - Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food
    Central Science Laboratory
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    Bayer AG
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  • Graham CHESTER
    SASD - Zeneca Agrochemicals
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  • Paul HAMEY
    MAFF Pesticide Safety Directorate
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    Tel.: +44 1904 45 58 80
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    Instituto Nacional de Seguridad e Higiene en el Trabajo
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    Pesticide Control Service
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    TNO Nutrition and Food Research Institution
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    Kuopio Regional Institute of Occupational Health
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  • Berthold KREBS
    AgrEvo Gmbh
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    Novartis Crop Protection AG
    CH-4002 Basel
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  • Sophie SZILVASI
    Ministère de l'Agriculture et de la Pêche
    Rue de Chevaleret 175
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