EFSA’s pesticide experts have developed an approach that could help risk assessors to make better use of epidemiological data in the assessment of active chemical substances used in pesticides.

The Panel on Plant Protection Products and their Residues (PPR) has also made recommendations on how to improve the quality and reliability of epidemiological studies used in risk assessment of pesticides.

The panel’s scientific opinion is a follow-up to a literature review commissioned by EFSA that noted significant associations in epidemiological studies between exposure to pesticides and 23 major categories of human health outcomes.

The review also identified a number of weaknesses and limitations affecting the reliability of such studies and their applicability in the regulatory risk assessment of pesticide active substances.

As well as addressing these limitations, the PPR opinion also proposes a methodology for integrating epidemiological evidence with data from experimental toxicology, as the two lines of evidence can complement each other in the risk assessment process.

The use of evidence from epidemiological studies in risk assessment of pesticides is the subject of a conference being hosted by EFSA in November. The deadline for registration is 6 November.