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

EFSA Journal 2013;11(1):3068[55 pp.]. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2013.3068
European Food Safety Authority Contact pesticides.peerreview@efsa.europa.eu
Type: Conclusion on Pesticides On request from: European Commission Question number: EFSA-Q-2012-00792 Approved: 19 December 2012 Published: 16 January 2013 Affiliation: European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy
Abstract

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was asked by the European Commission to perform a risk assessment of neonicotinoids, including imidacloprid, as regards the risk to bees. In this context the conclusions of EFSA concerning the risk assessment for bees for the active substance imidacloprid 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 imidacloprid 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.

© European Food Safety Authority,2013

Summary

Imidacloprid was included in Annex I to Directive 91/414/EEC on 1 August 2009 by Commission Directive 2008/116/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 imidacloprid, 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 imidacloprid 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 treatments 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 finalized 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.

Keywords

Imidacloprid, peer review, risk assessment, pesticide, insecticide

Background documents
Background documents are available in theRegister of Questions