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Accounting for metabolism and avoidance in acute risk assessments for birds and mammals - PS2348

EU and UK regulations require that, before a pesticide is authorised for use, the potential risks to the environment must be assessed. The standard approaches used to assess acute risks to birds are based on calculating a conservative estimate of the amount of the pesticide contained in the daily food of a bird and comparing this with data on its acute toxicity to birds. This probably greatly over-estimates the risk for those pesticides that are rapidly metabolised by birds, or if birds are able to avoid eating foods that contain the pesticide. A mathematical model to take account of these factors was used by the European Food Safety Authority in a refined scientific assessment of the risk to birds from the pesticide pirimicarb (EFSA, 2005). This offers a more realistic basis for risk assessment, and could potentially be useful for many other pesticides. However, although the result was judged to clearly indicate a low risk for pirimicarb (due to its very rapid metabolism and strong avoidance), the result for other pesticides will be more uncertain. Therefore it is important to test the validity of the model for a wider range of pesticides before it could be relied upon for regular use. This research will carry out this testing using three different types of existing data from field and laboratory studies with a range of pesticides. In each case, the model will be used to make predictions about the effects that are expected, and these will be compared with the effects actually observed. In addition, the project will produce a user-friendly software version of the model and use it for the validation studies. If the validation results are positive, the project will also produce detailed guidance on how to use the software, especially regarding the selection of data required as inputs, which requires considerable expert knowledge. This will help to ensure that the model can be used consistently and appropriately in routine regulatory assessment. This project will therefore play an important role in validating and implementing a potentially useful tool for higher tier pesticide risk assessments.
Objective 1: Test the validity of effects predicted by the model for a range of pesticides, by comparing them with data on effects observed in field and laboratory studies.

Objective 2: If the validation is successful, produce a user-friendly spreadsheet version of the model together with help files; otherwise, analyse the causes of model failure and identify options for improving it.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : BB modelling FERA PS2348 FINAL REPORT   (1336k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2008

To: 2009

Cost: £53,982
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Central Science Laboratory
Decision Support Tools              
Environmental Protection              
Field Measurements              
Nature conservation              
Pesticide use              
Risk assessment and management              
Wildlife conservation              
Fields of Study
Pesticide Safety