Informatica ambientale has made two presentations at the most important conferences in Environmental Sciences in Europe: the 27th SETAC (Society of Environmental Toxicology And Chemistry) Europe meeting held in Brussels from 7th to 11th of May. Andrea Di Guardo prepared, as first author, two poster presentations in the ” Modelling and monitoring of pesticides fate and exposure in a regulatory context” session. I would like to tell something about one of them.

The first poster relates to the presentation of a new research in collaboration with the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (DISAT) of the Milano Bicocca University and the International Centre for Pesticides and Health Risk Prevention (ICPS) based in Milan; research focus is on the determination of soil matrix vulnerability to pesticide at landscape level, based on the use of our EDSS (Environmental Decision Support System) VULPES. It is a substantial innovation in the recent field of environmental risk assessment of pesticide in soil, which is currently addresses by the EFSA document “Guidance Document for predicting environmental concentrations of active substances of plant protection products and transformation products of these active substances in soil” because it is the first attempt to move towards a territorial and real-case assessment instead the use of predefined scenarios for all Europe.

What are the differences with the EU guidelines approach? First of all, guidelines provide a methodology for regulatory practice using a tiered approach, which consists of five tier of increasing complexity in terms of data and models to be used. If the final scope is registration of Plant Protection Products (PPPs) or active ingredients, the tiered approach is well suited, but it relies on scenario-specific simulations which should be representative of the entire Europe (i.e. models are applied on a specific set of data representative of a single area). On the other hand, our approach could identify soil vulnerable areas to a specific PPPs or active ingredient coupling real environmental data (meteorological series, pedologic data, irrigation data) and PPP usage data (along with its physico-chemical properties) with chromatografic models such as PELMO and PEARL. Beyond registration issues, this approach could be extremely useful to identify problematic areas where PA or industries should focus for limitation (PA) or stewardship (industries) measures.

More data and comments will follow about this promising field of research; the workgroup is currently writing a research paper for a peer-reviewed journal and new test cases are expected to start within the end of 2017.