Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Actual water pollution often vastly higher than calculated, European research on pesticide approvals shows

Date:
August 8, 2012
Source:
Universität Koblenz-Landau
Summary:
The current process of the EU for the approval of pesticides, in particular against insect infestation, is based upon inadequate evaluation models, new research shows. The study indicates that the concentrations of insecticides actually found in water resources are frequently higher than the theoretically calculated values forming the basis of the approval process. The adequate protection of surface waters requires that the procedure be completely re-examined and revised.

The current process of the EU for the approval of pesticides, in particular against insect infestation, is based upon inadequate evaluation models. This is the result of a study conducted by the University of Koblenz-Landau. The study indicates that the concentrations of insecticides actually found in water resources are frequently higher than the theoretically calculated values forming the basis of the approval process. The adequate protection of surface waters requires that the procedure be completely re-examined and revised.

Pesticides sprayed onto fields are, for example, flushed by rain into rivers and oceans. In larger amounts they lead to the demise of flora and fauna: the bio-diversity suffers substantial damage. Within the scope of a legally established approval process the EU is therefore seeking to determine the effects of pesticides. Since the end of the 1990s mathematical simulation models (FOCUS models) have been used to predict the concentrations in water resources which arise due to the use of pesticides in agriculture. In Europe, a pesticide can be approved only when the predicted concentrations are below the ecologically critical effect thresholds. However, until now the agreement of the predictions with practice has never been thoroughly validated.

Using the example of insecticides which are particularly toxic for most animals living in water, the Institute for Environmental Sciences in Landau has now put this process to the test. In 122 cases the measured values were compared with the predicted values. The result is alarming: there is no statistical and not even any apparent relationship between the values. In up to four of ten cases the actual pollution of the water resources is higher than calculated. With newer insecticides, this quota is even greater.

"The results of the study clearly show that the calculation models in their current form are unsuited for the protection of water resources," states Professor Ralf Schulz of the Institute for Environmental Sciences at the University of Koblenz-Landau. "In view of these new results the risk assessment for many active substances approved in the EU must therefore be re-examined. This is the duty of the relevant approval authorities."

Besides faulty calculation models, other possible causes for the substantially higher values found in the field situation may be: failure of farmers to comply with regulations for the application of pesticides and insufficient instructions for use by the manufacturer. "Either the approval of insecticides or agricultural practice is subject to considerable errors -- presumably both," adds Schulz. "As permit owners, industry must meet its environmental obligations and play its part in clarifying the causes. In any case, in Germany also we need more independently derived data on the pollution of water resources in agricultural areas with pesticides."

As long as the actual causes remain unclarified, as a precautionary measure the environmental concentrations of insecticides predicted within the scope of the approval process should be increased by a factor of ten in order to adequately protect water resources. Furthermore, it is possible to require a buffer strip of five to ten metres between fields and water bodies not used for agricultural purposes. However, this was not included in the revision of the plant protection act in Germany at the end of 2011.

The current regulations for the approval of agricultural pesticide use in the EU was amended only in 2009 and, following this, incorporated in German national law by a new version of the plant protection act.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universität Koblenz-Landau. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anja Knäbel, Sebastian Stehle, Ralf B. Schäfer, Ralf Schulz. Regulatory FOCUS Surface Water Models Fail to Predict Insecticide Concentrations in the Field. Environmental Science & Technology, 2012; 46 (15): 8397 DOI: 10.1021/es301649w

Cite This Page:

Universität Koblenz-Landau. "Actual water pollution often vastly higher than calculated, European research on pesticide approvals shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808081332.htm>.
Universität Koblenz-Landau. (2012, August 8). Actual water pollution often vastly higher than calculated, European research on pesticide approvals shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808081332.htm
Universität Koblenz-Landau. "Actual water pollution often vastly higher than calculated, European research on pesticide approvals shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808081332.htm (accessed August 2, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pyrenees Orphan Bear Cub Gets Brand New Home

Pyrenees Orphan Bear Cub Gets Brand New Home

AFP (Aug. 1, 2014) — The discovery of a bear cub in the Pyrenees mountains made headlines in April 2014. Despire several attempts to find the animal's mother, the cub remained alone. Now, the Pyrenees Conservation Foundation has constructed an enclosure. Duration: 00:31 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rare Whale Fossil Pulled from Calif. Backyard

Rare Whale Fossil Pulled from Calif. Backyard

AP (Aug. 1, 2014) — A rare whale fossil has been pulled from a Southern California backyard. The 16- to 17-million-year-old baleen whale fossil is one of about 20 baleen whale fossils known to exist. (Aug. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Greenpeace Ship Arctic Sunrise Free to Leave Russia

Greenpeace Ship Arctic Sunrise Free to Leave Russia

AFP (Aug. 1, 2014) — Greenpeace's ship Arctic Sunrise, held in custody by the Russian authorities since September last year, has departed the Russian city of Murmansk en route for its home port of Amsterdam. Duration: 01:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) — Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins