Conclusion on the peer review of the pesticide risk assessment for bees for the active substance clothianidin


European Food Safety Authority
EFSA Journal
EFSA Journal 2013;11(1):3066 [58 pp.].
Conclusion on Pesticides
On request from
European Commission
Question Number
19 December 2012
16 January 2013
14 March 2013. This version replaces the previous one/s.

On page 31 of the Conclusion the unit is changed from “mg a.s./100 kg granules” to “g a.s./100 kg granules” following an error reported by the applicant (Sumitomo Chemical Agro Europe) occurred in the unit for the conversion of the absolute residues of clothianidin into the amount per granules given in the study report Lindner, 2009 (study 34). The risk assessment remained unchanged.

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy
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The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was asked by the European Commission to perform a risk assessment of neonicotinoids, including clothianidin, as regards the risk to bees. In this context the conclusions of EFSA concerning the risk assessment for bees for the active substance clothianidin are reported. The context of the evaluation was that required by the European Commission in accordance with Article 21 of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 to review the approval of active substances in light of new scientific and technical knowledge and monitoring data. The conclusions were reached on the basis of the evaluation of the uses of clothianidin applied as a seed treatment or granules on a variety of crops currently authorised in Europe. The reliable endpoints concluded as being appropriate for use in regulatory risk assessment, derived from the submitted studies and literature data as well as the available EU evaluations and monitoring data, are presented. Missing information identified as being required to allow for a complete risk assessment is listed. Concerns are identified.


Clothianidin was included in Annex I to Directive 91/414/EEC on 1 August 2006 by Commission Directive 2006/41/EC, and has been deemed to be approved under Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009, in accordance with Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011, as amended by Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 541/2011. 

The specific provisions of the approval were amended by Commission Directive 2010/21/EU, to permit use as a seed treatment only where the seed coating is performed in professional seed treatment facilities, which must apply the best available techniques to ensure that the release of dust during application to the seed, storage and transport can be minimised, and where adequate drilling equipment is used to ensure a high degree of incorporation in soil, minimisation of spillage and minimisation of dust emission.  

In accordance with Article 21 of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 to review the approval of active substances in light of new scientific and technical knowledge and monitoring data, in April 2012 the European Commission requested the EFSA to provide conclusions as regards the risk of neonicotinoid active substances for bees, in particular with regard to the acute and chronic effects on colony survival and development, taking into account effects on bee larvae and bee behaviour, and the effects of sublethal doses on bee survival and behaviour. Following discussions at the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCFCAH) in June / July 2012, and taking into account the outcome of the EFSA statement on the findings in recent studies investigating sublethal effects in bees of some neonicotinoids in consideration of the uses currently authorised in Europe (EFSA Journal 2012;10(6):2752), the EFSA received an updated request from the European Commission to prioritise the review of 3 neonicotinoid substances, including clothianidin, and to perform an evaluation of the currently authorised uses of these substances as seed treatments and granules.

The conclusions laid down in this report were reached on the basis of the evaluation of the studies submitted for the approval of the active substance at EU level and for the authorisation of plant protection products containing clothianidin at Member State level, for the uses as seed treatments or granules applied on a variety of crops in Europe. In addition, the EFSA Scientific Opinion on the science behind the development of a risk assessment of plant protection products on bees (EFSA Journal 2012;10(5):2668), some relevant literature data, as well as monitoring data available at national level were also considered in the current evaluation.

Several data gaps were identified with regard to the risk to honey bees from exposure via dust, from consumption of contaminated nectar and pollen, and from exposure via guttation fluid for the authorised uses as seed treatment and granules. Furthermore, the risk assessment for pollinators other than honey bees, the risk assessment following exposure to insect honey dew and the risk assessment from exposure to succeeding crops could not be finalised on the basis of the available information. A high risk was indicated or could not be excluded in relation to certain aspects of the risk assessment for honey bees for some of the authorised uses. For some exposure routes it was possible to identify a low risk for some of the authorised uses.

Clothianidin, peer review, risk assessment, pesticide, insecticide
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