OECD Working Group on Pesticides
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is an intergovernmental organization consisting of 30 industrialized countries in Europe, North America, Asia and the Pacific. Through its Environment Program, OECD works to help countries manage the risks of chemicals as efficiently and effectively as possible.
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In 1994, OECD established the Pesticide Forum, now known as the Working Group on Pesticides (WGP), to help countries cope with the increasingly burdensome workload of conducting new risk assessments for hundreds of pesticides that have been on the market for years, and assessments for new active ingredient pesticides. It is the first forum for national pesticide regulators from developed countries to discuss common issues. The OECD Working Group on Pesticides includes activities on:
- conventional pesticides
- biological pesticides
- biocides pesticides
EPA is involved in cooperative work to:
- Help OECD governments share the work of pesticide registration and reregistration
- Harmonize the data and methods used to test and assess pesticide risks
- Help OECD governments reduce the risks associated with pesticide use
OECD encourages the exchange of review reports and has developed an electronic database to facilitate such exchanges and collaboration on reviews. EPA is working with OECD countries on electronic data submission (EDS) for industry. EPA's goals and procedures using EDS are on EPA's Web site.
The OECD Pesticide Program divides its work into 6 program areas. The objectives of each program area are summarized below:
- Registration/Reregistration/Work sharing: To share the burden of pesticide registration and reregistration by helping countries exchange information and work co-operatively on pesticide assessments.
- Data Requirements: To promote the harmonization of data requirements for pesticide registration among OECD Member countries
- Test Guidelines: To revise and develop OECD Test Guidelines to help standardize testing practices and increase mutual acceptance of pesticide studies among OECD Member countries.
- Hazard/Risk Assessment: To harmonize pesticide hazard and risk assessment methods among OECD Member countries.
- Risk/Reduction: To help OECD countries work together to reduce the risks associated with pesticide use.
- Biocides: To promote cooperation among Member Countries on biocides data requirements and reviews.
- Biopesticides: To promote cooperation among member countries on the evaluation and reregistration review of biopesticides.
The OECD WGP has numerous additional activities and projects underway. A few highlights of current work are listed below.
Implementation of OECD Dossier Guidance for Industry Submissions and the Monograph Guidance Document for Governments
OECD Member countries are working to implement the Dossier and Monograph formats into their national review processes on a regular basis. Current work is focusing on developing electronic submission systems that will allow pesticide registration submissions to be done electronically in the OECD format. The United States is working with other OECD member countries to share information regarding the development of electronic databases that are necessary for the adoption and implementation of OECD study templates.
Work Sharing Projects
OECD Member countries are involved in a number of work sharing projects that range from information exchange to parallel and joint reviews. In 2006/2007, the U.S. is working with other OECD Member countries on 3 trilateral joint reviews. Additional joint reviews and joint evaluation of dossiers are in the planning stage. The Member countries will continue to work together to find opportunities for routine sharing work on pesticide reviews.
Collaboration on Minor Uses
OECD has established a Minor Use Working group to address global issues including data sharing and cooperation; development of a minor use guidance document on residues; efficacy and crop safety and policy issues such as regulatory incentives and liability.
Activities on Biocides
OECD established a Task Force on Biocides to address regulatory issues of common concern on biocide products. A key project of the Task Force is the development and validation of testing methods to determine the efficacy of biocide products used on hard sufaces. EPA is co-chairing this project with Australia. The Task Force is also working on the development of a Guidance Document for the evaluation of the efficacy of antimicrobial treated articles with claims for external effects and is considering taking on work to develop a series of Test Guidelines on efficacy of biocides used to treat articles.
Collaboration on Biopesticides
OECD established a BioPesticides Steering Group in 1999 to help member countries harmonize biological pesticides assessment and improve the efficiency of control procedures. The Steering Group will focus over the next several years on resolving science issues associated with registering biopesticides as well as on promoting communication and information exchange. Work includes the development of major document providing guidance on addressing biopesticides registration issues including data waivers, microbial contamination, storage utility, fungal metabolites, classification and labeling and pheromones.
More comprehensive information about the OECD Pesticide Program can be found on the OECD web site.
With the goal of harmonizing the calculation of MRLs across the OECD, the OECD has developed a MRL Calculator. It is made up of an Excel spreadsheet simple to use without requiring extensive statistical knowledge from the user. There is one spreadsheet for single data sets and one spreadsheet for multiple data sets . A User Guide and a Statistical White Paper are available to help with the use of the Calculator. Beginning April 1, 2011, Canada and the United States will join the other OECD member countries in their use of the OECD MRL Calculator to calculate pesticide MRLs. The OECD MRL Calculator will replace and supersede the NAFTA MRL Calculator. A brief fact sheet providing background information on the NAFTA MRL Calculator and the transition to the OECD MRL Calculator is also available.