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Pesticide News Story: Now Available Online: The EPA’s Draft Pollinator Risk Assessment Framework

For Release: August 16, 2012

In preparation for a FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel meeting scheduled for September 11 – 14, 2012, the EPA has released a white paper presenting its proposed process for assessing the potential risks of pesticides to honeybees. The white paper reflects collective efforts of the EPA with the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. The white paper includes a description of the problem formulation step, where protection goals and assessment endpoints are defined, as well as conceptual models depicting potential routes of exposure that might affect individual bees (larvae and adult) as well as whole colonies. The white paper also discusses the data and methods used for quantifying exposures and effects and characterizing potential risks to honeybees. Consistent with the EPA’s current pesticide risk assessment processes, the framework proposes a multi-tiered approach that initially relies on laboratory-based studies on individual bees, and then transitions to more realistic field-based studies involving whole colonies. The proposed process should enhance the ability of EPA, PMRA and CalDPR to reliably assess chemicals for direct and indirect effects to honeybees. The EPA will also request advice from the SAP on the usefulness of this framework for characterizing potential effects of pesticides on other species of bees.

Please see the web page for the September FIFRA SAP meeting for links to the EPA’s white paper and other information related to the meeting.


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