SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
14 July 2016
Volume 17 Issue 7
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SETAC Europe Special Science Symposium on Risk Mitigation Measures for the Environment

Anne Alix, Special Science Symposium Chair and SETAC Europe Vice President

MAgPIE logoThe 12th SETAC Europe Special Science Symposium on “Risk mitigation measures, risk assessment and labelling in the EU 28: Introduction to the MAgPIE toolbox” was held from 1–12 May 2016. It was a follow-up of the SETAC workshops MAgPIE, held in April and November 2013, where experts from 20 countries shared their experience to prepare a toolbox with risk mitigation solutions to reduce exposure to pesticides in farmlands. One of the primary recommendations of the workshop was to pursue the development of the toolbox, broaden our network and ensure the communication and understanding of the tools and options already available, to stimulate discussions and to join forces for the improvement of these tools. This SESSS is the first milestone of this recommendation. Participants in attendance numbered 34, representing regulatory authorities, industry and academia from eight European countries.

multi-functional field margin
Multi-functional field margin, mitigating spray drift and providing habitat, connectivity and food source to non-target organisms. It also includes a nest for pollinators.

Over the three days, participants were introduced to the risk mitigation tools that were identified as the most promising for a broader implementation in European countries. The SESSS opened with an introduction, setting the regulatory context under which risk mitigation measures are being defined and implemented in Europe, and presenting the MAgPIE proposal for harmonization and standardization of the work amongst member states.  A subsequent presentation illustrated the process followed during the two workshops to gather the scientific data on which the toolbox relies, as well as the regulatory, practical and economic parameters that were taken into account in listing the most promising tools. 

A series of sessions followed, presenting successively the measures effective at mitigating transfers to groundwater, via drainage, runoff and spray drift, as well as measures that aim at protecting non-target organisms in crops and off-crops. In each session, presenters provided clarification regarding to effectiveness, practicalities and implications for the regulatory risk assessment and decision-making. The last session was dedicated to a plenary discussion of the most promising and ready to use tools to collect feedback from the participants as well as their views on the necessary steps towards a broader implementation of effective tools.

sprayer boom
Demonstration of the effectiveness of different drift reducing nozzles on a sprayer boom.

On the third day, participants were offered the opportunity to pursue the exchanges in the Hof Ten Bosch farm where Bayer is studying the effectiveness of various risk mitigation measures contained in the MAgPIE proceedings.

The organizing committee wishes to thank SETAC Europe for their support in organizing this quite unique SESSS, the European Commission for their support in the organization, the participants and sponsors Dr. Knoell and Bayer Crop Science, as well as Bayer Crop Science for sharing their expertise at the farm visit. 

Author’s contact information: AAlix@dow.com

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