Pesticides are a reality of modern life but
their use must be strictly monitored to protect human and animal health and the environment. Workers who come into contact with pesticides can be
vulnerable to the harmful effects from these chemicals. The European Food Safety Authority – or EFSA –
and the French Food Safety Agency – ANSES – recently held a joint conference
to share expertise and assess scientific progress in the area of human exposure to pesticides. One of the topics on the agenda was a new
methodology developed by EFSA to help ensure the safety of people who work with
and are exposed to pesticides. The new guidance from EFSA, there is a clear
definition of what the concerned exposure groups are – and for each of these groups
there is a way to calculate their exposure to pesticides based on specific uses. This is representing definitely something that has not been existing so far so I think
it is also a huge step forward to harmonised risk assessment in Europe. In conjunction with the guidance document it was necessary to have a calculator to
translate let’s say what was the theory of the guidance in practicalities. You can add all the information requested
in the first page, then you click the mouse and you have the results for all the
classes of exposed people. Working collectively is an absolute necessity
in order to efficiently work to protect consumers. Science has no borders and the single European
market is a reality – a reality for the companies, for the products, for free circulation in Europe
but also for the citizens and for the consumers. For ANSES, strong cooperation
with EFSA is absolutely crucial. ANSES and other organisations in France have
done a lot of work on investigating epidemiological relationships, causal relationships, between
the use of pesticides and human diseases. And this is good for EFSA to learn about this
relationship because also EFSA will produce a scientific opinion on this so ANSES work and the
work of other research organisations in France is informing EFSA’s future work on epidemiological
studies and epidemiological relationships. The cooperation is a crucial factor for EFSA’s success. Our role is to ensure food safety
for 500 million European consumers and we can only do that in partnership with other
organisations, specifically with the risk assessment organisations of the member states. By pooling these resources we really can
make sure that food in Europe is safe. Together EFSA and ANSES are delivering science
on pesticides to protect human health.