SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
16 January 2014
Volume 15 Issue 1

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SETAC Europe Special Science Symposium on Pesticides and Pollinators

Anne Alix, Dow AgroSciences

This Special Science Symposium took place from 16–17 October 2013 in Brussels, Belgium. It aimed to bring an up-to-date view on the topic of pollinators and pesticides, covering the issues of effect testing methodologies, exposure estimates, laboratory and field approaches to testing, modeling, risk assessment and risk management, with a focus on wild bees. Internationally recognized experts exchanged their views on existing risk assessment tools but most importantly explored the options for the development of future tools in the regulatory context. Fourteen presentations introduced each of the six sessions on regulatory issues, methods for honey bee testing, methods for wild bees, exposure testing, risk assessment and risk management.

Overall, science appears to be mobilized on the topic of side effects of pesticides on bees. A number of research projects also gather multiple partners, which speeds up the applicability of research findings to bee management in agro-ecosystems. A critical aspect is the communication on research projects and findings, which tends to focus on media topics rather than on a fair representation of scientific learning. In addition, some topics are still not documented enough, such as wild bees biology or behavior in all bees, which constitute hurdles to testing methodology development, particularly in wild bees or to routinely address sublethal effects in the laboratory context.

Experts agreed on expectations about the outcomes of a risk assessment, as well as on the components of bee health that matters and that should be the basis for risk assessment processes. The risk assessment approaches presented for Europe and North America highlighted specificities related to the regulatory frameworks but also a common agreement on risk assessment processes. The discussions indicated, however, differences of views on the practicality of testing methodologies, these differences being driven by priorities to either a comprehensive approach to effect characterization or to the reproducibility of effects occurrence in experimental systems. This indicated a need for more dialogue and harmonization between all the stakeholders involved into regulatory testing development.

In this context, presentations illustrated the important work undertaken in international organization such as the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), the International Commission on Plant-Pollinator Relationship (ICPPR) and the European Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) as well as the collaborations in place between these organizations. A calendar of testing methodologies development is being prepared for the following years. Risk mitigation measures, monitoring programs and general pollinator surveys are being reviewed and improved for a broader implementation (as for example in the SETAC MAgPIE workshop, SETAC Europe Environmental Monitoring Advisory Group on Pesticides (EMAG-Pest).

This symposium, which welcomed 87 participants from 13 countries and 17 experts from beyond Europe, was introduced by the European Commission. The organization committee thanks all experts and Roel Evens from the SETAC Europe office for their contributions.

SETAC Europe Special Science Symposium on Pesticides and Pollinators Speakers:
Claudia Garrido, BeeSafe
Jens Pistorius, Julius Kühn Institute
Csaba Szentes, European Food Safety Authority
Tom Steeger, US Environmental Protection Agency
Connie Hart, Health Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency
Laurie Adams, North American Pollinator Protection Campaign
Mark Miles, Bayer CropScience
Gunilla Eriksson, European Commission
Stephan Schmitzer, IBACON
Cynthia Scott-Dupree, University of Guelph
Ingo Tornier, Eurofins
Christoph Sandrock, IES Ltd.
Keith Walters, Imperial College
Volker Grimm, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)
Veronique Poulsen, French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES)
Anne Alix, Dow AgroSciences

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