Scientific Opinion addressing the state of the science on risk assessment of plant protection products for in-soil organisms
Following a request from EFSA, the Panel on Plant Protection Products and their Residues developed an opinion on the science behind the risk assessment of plant protection products for in-soil organisms. The current risk assessment scheme is reviewed, taking into account new regulatory frameworks and scientific developments. Proposals are made for specific protection goals for in-soil organisms being key drivers for relevant ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes such as nutrient cycling, soil structure, pest control and biodiversity. Considering the time-scales and biological processes related to the dispersal of the majority of in-soil organisms compared to terrestrial non-target arthropods living above soil, the Panel proposes that in-soil environmental risk assessments are made at in- and off-field scale considering field boundary levels. A new testing strategy which takes into account the relevant exposure routes for in-soil organisms and the potential direct and indirect effects is proposed. In order to address species recovery and long-term impacts of PPPs, the use of population models is also proposed.