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SUSTAINABLE PLANT PROTECTION TRANSITION: A GLOBAL HEALTH APPROACH

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SPRINT (SUSTAINABLE PLANT PROTECTION TRANSITION: A GLOBAL HEALTH APPROACH)

Período documentado: 2020-09-01 hasta 2022-02-28

Current farming systems rely on the use of Plant Protection Products (PPP) to secure high productivity and control threats to the quality of the crops. However, PPP use may have considerable impacts on human health and the environment. SPRINT will develop and validate a Global Health Risk Assessment Toolbox to integrate assessments of the impacts of PPPs on ecosystem, plant, animal and human (EPAH) health. The main goal is to use integrated risk assessment at the local, regional, national and European levels to map PPP impacts on EPAH health. SPRINT will focus on different PPP use patterns and detected residue mixtures in contrasting conventional/integrated and organic farming systems. Transition pathways toward sustainable use of pesticides will be identified in a multi-actor approach with a focus on the following objectives:
- Engage with local, regional, national and international stakeholders to identify knowledge needs and improve awareness of and trust in integrated pesticide risk assessments.
- Assess PPP component mixtures and their distribution in EPAH and related health states in conventional/integrated and organic farming systems.
- Estimate direct and indirect PPP exposure levels in representative case study sites (CSS).
- Develop laboratory tests for determining PPP mixture effects.
- Develop a Global Health Risk Assessment Toolbox for risk and impact assessment of PPP mixtures, linking exposure to health impacts.
- Assess integrated risks, costs and benefits of PPP use in different farming systems at micro and macroeconomic levels.
- Propose transition pathways towards sustainable plant protection, provide policy recommendations, and develop a research agenda
During the first 18 months, SPRINT established a multi-actor stakeholder structure, set up a stakeholder platform, and established stakeholder networks at CSS, national and international levels. The CSS sampling campaign was completed in all eleven locations in Europe and Argentina. The underlying study protocol was approved by an ethical committee in each of the CSS regions/countries. Over 200 pesticide residues are being analyzed in the CSS environmental, animal, and human samples. Some PPP results have already been submitted. PPP analyses and other health-related parameters will be finished by summer 2022. Data on the occurrence and health impacts of PPPs was collected from national monitoring programs and published scientific literature. Fate and exposure model chains were defined, as well as the setup and the procedures for the (eco)toxicological tests. The concept for the toolbox was established, and specific tools are now being discussed with experts and stakeholders. Questionnaires were conducted in the CSS covering: health status and economic costs at the farm level, alternatives available to reduce use/risk of PPPs, and the barriers to implementing available solutions. The project website and the project data management plan were set early on in the project. Several dissemination and exploitation activities as well as awareness-raising and communication activities have been performed by the consortium. SPRINT activity, financial and legal management groups have been supported by plenary sessions, WP-CSS leaders’ monthly open hours, and other key project meetings. Efforts have also been made on gender balance aspects of the project.
The results of the field samples will support computer model-generated estimates of the environmental fate of PPPs as well as human and livestock exposure. These estimates will then be used to predict the impact of PPPs on EPAH health. Based on the health hazard and environmental occurrence, selected PPP mixtures will be further studied for toxicity relevant to human and ecosystem health. Existing and new essays will be used to determine PPP toxicities in innovative laboratory-based platforms which will include testing sensitive ecological species and using mesocosms. Limited in vivo testing in experimental animals (mice and rats) will be done to verify suspected observations from in vitro tests. Further extended toxicity testing will be considered if preliminary findings suggest unexpected adverse outcomes such as non-additive interactions between PPP components in mixtures. Results from this experimental work will support physiology-based kinetic (PBK) models that describe the uptake, distribution, metabolism and excretion of PPPs. These PBK models will improve the interpretation of the results from field samples with respect to the source of the PPP exposure in humans and farm animals, e.g. dietary or non-dietary origin. These results will support predictions of expected impacts on health status with respect to three main attributes: resilience, reproduction/productivity and manifestation of diseases. With the Global Health Risk Assessment Toolbox, SPRINT will integrate the assessments of PPP impacts on EPAH health. The predictions will be upscaled according to certain sustainable transition scenarios on a European scale, specifying in each case the variability of known and unknown uncertainties. For each of the policy-relevant transition scenarios, the health impact and wider socio-economic implications will be predicted for farmers, neighbors and consumers, disaggregating by gender where possible. The predicted outcomes for conventional and organic farming systems will guide policy actions to encourage a transition to more sustainable agricultural practices regarding the use of PPPs.

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