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Assessing the cumulative risk of pesticides on people

The study has been commissioned by the European Food Safety Authority and the objective, when the findings are published early in 2017, will consider the effect on people of long-term exposure to pesticides.

The study will take into account 100 different substances found in a range of common pesticides. These are listed in the European Food Safety Authority Panel on Plant Protection Products and their Residues.

The statistical tool used in based on Monte Carlo Risk Assessment and a special database is being generated so that data from member states can be captured.

A key focus will be with running mathematical and experimental approaches that allow assessment of the links between the effects of pesticides in individuals and ecological changes in regions where intensive farming is practiced. There will also be an assessment of pesticide residues on food.

Once the report has been published, irrespective of the outcome, the European agency intends to have an annual risk assessment in place that will report on the chronic and acute risks that pesticides pose to consumers. If the outcome requires changes to the maximum residue levels of pesticides in food, this will take the form of a recommendation to the European Commission.

In a statement, Luc Mohimont, from the European Food Safety Authority Pesticides Unit, indicated: “This is an exciting and significant development. Progress has been made in developing an approach for carrying out reliable exposure assessments of multiple pesticides, which takes us a step closer to our ultimate goal.”

The ultimate goal being meaningful data collected and sorted to assess the risk to consumers of eating food that has been treated with pesticides.

In related news, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to begin testing foods for the controversial herbicide glyphosate.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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