Amy Brooks, Helena Crosland and Alan Lawrence have co-authored a journal article that assesses the risks to bats from plant protection products, reviewing the recent EFSA (2019) statement regarding toxicity and exposure routes.
You can read the full open-access article on the Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry journal website:
Assessing the risks to bats from plant protection products: a review of the recent EFSA statement regarding toxicity and exposure routes
Authors: Amy Brooks (CEA), Joachim Nopper (BASF SE), Arnd Weyers (Bayer AG), Helena Crosland (CEA), Manousos Foudoulakis (Corteva Agriscience), Sonja Haaf (ADAMA Deutschland GmbH), Michael Hackett (CEA) and Alan Lawrence (CEA)
Wild birds and mammals that feed in agricultural habitats are potentially exposed to pesticides through various routes. Until recently, it has been implicitly assumed that the existing EU risk assessment scheme for birds and mammals also covered bats (Chiroptera). However, recent publications raised concerns and, in 2019, a scientific statement was published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that concluded that bats were not adequately covered by the current risk assessment scheme. Here we review the evidence presented and assumptions made in the EFSA bat statement relating to toxicity, bioaccumulation and exposure pathways (oral, dermal and inhalation), in terms of their relevance for bats potentially foraging in agricultural areas in the EU, and highlighting where uncertainties remain and how these could be addressed.
Based on this review, it is clear that there is still much uncertainty with regard to the appropriateness of the assumptions made in the EFSA bat statement. Significantly more information needs to be gathered to answer fundamental questions regarding bat behaviour in agricultural landscapes, together with the relative sensitivity of bats to pesticide exposure. Given the current critical information gaps, it is recommended that quantitative risk assessments for bats are not performed for pesticides until more robust, reliable and relevant data are available. The risk to bats can then be compared to that for birds and ground-dwelling mammals, to determine the protectiveness of the existing scheme and thus whether a bat scenario is indeed required and under what circumstances.
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