Environmental Chemistry Expert Unit

The Environmental Chemistry expert unit assesses how pesticides interact with the environment and where they and their breakdown/transformation products are most likely to occur.  This involves:

  • reviewing data on biotransformation, phototransformation and hydrolysis in order to determine their significance and relative importance in the transformation of the pesticide in different environmental media
  • assessing the persistence of the pesticide to ensure it does not accumulate in the environment
  • identifying the proportions and distributions of individual pesticide related compounds present in soil, water and sediment
  • investigating the potential mobility of pesticides and relevant transformation products to contaminate the aquatic environment by surface runoff, drainflow, soil erosion or by moving through soils and leaching into groundwater
  • predicting the likelihood and levels of environmental exposure (predicted environmental concentrations, PECs) that may arise in the terrestrial compartment and in non-target areas such as groundwater, surface water and sediment from the intended use of the product. These PECs are used to inform risk assessments performed by other specialist units such as ecotoxicology and consumer exposure

The Department has implemented a risk assessment and management approach to safeguard our environment from potential pesticide impacts.   Prior to their marketing, release or use, applicants are required to scientifically demonstrate the pesticide has no unacceptable effects on the environment.   The applicant’s application including data published in the scientific literature is subjected to a rigorous scientific assessment by Experts within the Department against prescribed EU criteria for assessing the safety and effectiveness of pesticides.  Evaluation of the data makes it possible to determine the fate and behaviour of a pesticide in soil, water and air, the potential for its uptake by plants or animals and the potential for bioaccumulation in organisms.

The information presented in the following sections is intended to assist registrants in preparing high-quality registration dossiers (i.e. applications for potential authorisation of a pesticide). Companies are encouraged to consult this information before submitting an application for potential market authorisation of their product.

Data Requirements and Guidance for Assessing Pesticide Environmental Fate and Behaviour