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Agriculture - Planting the seeds for sustainable farming and forestry
“To develop a set of harmonised indicators to assess the overall risk of pesticides to the environment and human health.”

The problem

Within sustainable agricultural systems the aim is to provide effective crop protection, while minimising the impact of pesticides on the environment and human health. The risk arising from pesticide use is currently assessed within Member States of the European Union (EU), but there is no consensus on either methodology or the number and type of indicators to include. There is a need for a harmonised European approach to the assessment of pesticide risk to support policy development toward sustainable agriculture.

HAIR  Harmonised environmental indicators for predicting pesticide risk


HAIR will deliver a set of indicators to assess pesticide impacts on agro-ecosystems and human health. As such, the project will:

  • Establish a consistent database structure for parameters affecting pesticide risk (e.g. land use, toxicological properties, soil type, climate, etc.)
  • Provide a standardised set of indicators for predicting pesticide risk in the expanded EU
  • Validate indicators of risk using existing datasets
  • Utilise GIS-based information to provide outputs on different regional and European-wide scales
  • Deliver an integrated and user-friendly software tool for predicting overall pesticide risk

Contribution to policy development:

HAIR will:

  • Enable policy-makers to predict the environmental fate of pesticides in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems
  • Facilitate predictions of pesticide exposure for public health policy
  • Provide an assessment tool that contributes to the aims of Agenda 2000 and the 6th Environment Action Programme’s thematic strategy on the ‘Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products’
  • Provide a framework for the pesticide usage that complements the role of Directive 91/414/EEC in authorising pesticides

Project deliverables

  • Development of environmental and health risk indicators – Month 26
  • GIS-based maps of pesticide use – Month 34
  • Report on verification of indicators – Month 36
  • Software package – Month 36
  • User manual – Month 36


  • Workshops – Month 3
  • Papers in scientific journals – Month 39
  • Presentations at conferences and symposia – Month 39

Technical information

Project acronym: HAIR
Project’s official full title: Harmonised environmental indicators for pesticide risk
Research priority: Tools and assessment methods for sustainable agriculture and forestry management
Specific webpage: Details not yet available
Proposal/contract no: 501997
Start date: 2004
Kick off meeting: Not yet available
Completion date: 2007
European Commission scientific officer: Daniele Tissot (

Name: National Institute of Public Health and the Environment
Abbreviated name: RIVM
Address: PO Box 1
3720 BA Bilthoven
Country: The Netherlands
Tel: +31 30 274 9111
Fax: +31 30 274 2971


Name: Joint Research Centre
Abbreviated name: JRC
Country: Italy

Name: Central Science Laboratory
Abbreviated name: CSL
Country: UK

Name: Cranfield University
Abbreviated name: CU
Country: UK

Name: Biologische Bundesanstalt
Abbreviated name: BBA
Country: Germany

Name: Alterra Green World Research
Abbreviated name: Alterra
Country: The Netherlands

Name: Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
Abbreviated name: UCSC
Country: Italy

Name: Ghent University
Abbreviated name: RUG
Country: Belgium

Name: National Environmental Research Institute
Abbreviated name: NERI
Country: Denmark

Name: Centre for Environmental Research
Abbreviated name: UFZ
Country: Germany

Name: Luigi Sacco Hospital and University
Abbreviated name: ICPS
Country: Italy

Name: Norwegian Crop Research Institute
Abbreviated name: NCRI
Country: Norway

Name: Catholic University of Louvain
Abbreviated name: UCL
Country: Belgium

Name: Mario Negri Research Institute for Farmacology
Abbreviated name: NEGRI
Country: Italy

Name: Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Centre
Abbreviated name: VAR
Country: Belgium

Name: Wageningen Software Labs
Abbreviated name: W!SL
Country: The Netherlands

Name: Research Institute of Organic Agriculture
Abbreviated name: FiBL
Country: Switzerland

Name: Central Service for Plant Protection and Soil Conservation
Abbreviated name: CSPPSC
Country: Hungary