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Plant protection products

Plant protection products protect plants or plant products from harmful organisms or diseases. They can also be used to regulate a plant’s growth. Plant protection products are classified into different groups according to their desired effect:

 

 

  • Herbicides: used to control weeds
  • Insecticides: used to control insects
  • Fungicides: used to control fungal diseases
  • Molluscicides: used to control snails
  • Acaricides: used to control mites
  • Rodenticides: used to control harmful rodents
  • Growth regulators: used to control biological processes

Legal foundations and legally regulated procedures

The authorisation and use of plant protection products in Germany is regulated by the German Plant Protection Act (PflSchG) and related regulations, as well as European legislation, in particular Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009.

More detailed information on the legal foundations can be found here.

In Germany, plant protection products may only be used if they have been authorised for their intended purpose by the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL). The BVL is the competent authority specified in the German Plant Protection Act. The Plant Protection Act also stipulates that BfR, the Julius Kühn-Institute (JKI) and the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) are to be involved in procedures related to plant protection products and specifies the competencies of these authorities.

Further information on the various legal procedures and the steps required for the authorisation of plant protection products in the EU can be found here.

Health risk assessment

BfR is responsible for the assessment of health risks posed by plant protection products. BfR’s health risk assessments cover the following areas:

  • Toxicological assessments of plant protection products and the active substances and co-formulants they contain
  • Derivation of limit values below which the exposure to a particular active substance is considered acceptable
  • Suggestions for the classification and labelling of plant protection products and their active substances whenever they may be harmful to human health
  • Determination of the amount of a plant protection product to which a particular group of people may be exposed (exposure)
  • Proposal of maximum residue levels for active substances from plant protection products in food and feed
  • Specification of safety measures for users when handling plant protection products and for people who are affected indirectly
  • Assessment of analytical methods for monitoring residues of active substances from plant protection products

More in-depth information on the risk assessment process can be found here.

In its assessment, BfR takes into account all groups of people who may come into contact with plant protection products. This contact may occur as early as the application stage. These groups are:

  • Users of plant protection products
  • Workers (e.g. people carrying out follow-up work on a previously treated field)
  • Residents who live next to a treated field
  • Bystanders (e.g. people walking by the field while it is being treated)
  • Consumers who may ingest residues of plant protection products through food or drinking water

The health risk assessments for the different groups of people ensure that plant protection products pose no unacceptable risks to human health.

Further information contain the pages on the assessment of consumer safety and residues of plant protection products and their safe application.

Beyond its specific risk assessments, BfR is also involved in the development of test guidelines and assessment concepts.

Monitoring of legal regulations

In Germany, the federal states are responsible for monitoring compliance with legal regulations. The use of products is monitored by the plant protection authorities of the federal states. The federal states also monitor plant protection products that are currently on the market. Monitoring offices in the individual federal states regularly verify compliance with the statutory maximum residue levels of active substances in food and feed. If exposure levels are too high, the affected food and feed are taken off the market.

For further information (documents, press releases) please have a look at our German webpage.

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The BfR has finalised its draft report for the re-evaluation of glyphosate

Glyphosate in an active substance widely used in herbicides and is currently subject to a comprehensive re-evaluation process by the European Union (EU). The BfR has already completed the draft re-assessment report on health risk assessment.

Information

 (1 document)
Date Title Größe
26.03.2013
BfR Information
BfR concept for assessment of endocrine disrupting substances under different regulations 51.8 KB
PDF-File

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Opinion

 (13 documents)
Date Title Größe
24.06.2014
BfR opinion No 042/2014
No evidence for autistic disorder as a result of pesticide exposure in the womb 25.9 KB
PDF-File
12.05.2014
BfR opinion No. 028/2014
BfR recommendations for the health assessment of chlorate residues in food 38.8 KB
PDF-File
06.03.2014
BfR opinion No. 011/2014
BfR opinion on "Major pesticides are more toxic to human cells than their de-clared active principles" by Robin Mesnage, Nicolas Defarge, Joël Spiroux de Vendômois and Gilles-Eric Séralini 47.6 KB
PDF-File
14.06.2013
BfR opinion No. 014/2013
Glyphosate in Urine - Concentrations are far below the range indicating a potential health hazard 73.1 KB
PDF-File
06.12.2012
BfR opinion No. 042/2012
Association between Parkinson’s disease and rotenone 49.9 KB
PDF-File
06.11.2012
Updated BfR opinion No. 039/2012
Active substances in pesticides: ADI values and guide values for drinking water 41.3 KB
PDF-File
01.10.2012
BfR Opinion Nr. 037/2012
Feeding study in rats with genetically modified NK603 maize and with a gly-phosate containing formulation (Roundup) published by Séralini et al. (2012) 64.7 KB
PDF-File
08.11.2011
BfR Opinion Nr. 050/2011
Measured residues of the pesticide Fenamiphos on cucumbers pose a health risk for children 27.7 KB
PDF-File
19.10.2011
Opinion No. 046/2011 of BfR
BfR develops a new dietary intake model for the German population aged 14 to 80 years in order to calculate the intake of pesticide residues in food 37.7 KB
PDF-File
07.07.2011
BfR Opinion Nr. 035/2011
New data on health aspects of Glyphosate? A current, preliminary assessment by BfR 51.0 KB
PDF-File
21.04.2011
BfR Opinion Nr. 013/2011
Residues of formetanate in cucumbers do not constitute a health risk 30.5 KB
PDF-File
30.06.2010
BfR Opinion Nr. 008/2011
Assessment of potential health risks of pesticide residues on cut flowers 27.7 KB
PDF-File
27.06.2006
BfR Expert Opinion No. 033/2006
Pesticide exposure and Parkinson's disease: BfR sees association but no causal relationship 186.3 KB
PDF-File

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Communication

 (16 documents)
Date Title Größe
10.11.2016
Updated BfR Communication No. 033/2016
BfR Data Collection on Processing Factors 46.4 KB
PDF-File
30.09.2016
BfR Communication No. 031/2016
More transparency on glyphosate: BfR supports the release by EFSA of raw scientific data 32.8 KB
PDF-File
17.06.2016
BfR Communication No. 015/2016
BfR welcomes the scientific criteria of the European Commission for identifying endocrine disruptors 50.0 KB
PDF-File
19.05.2016
BfR Communication No. 013/2016
Popular misconceptions, opinions and questions in connection with the BfR risk assessment of glyphosate 86.6 KB
PDF-File
12.04.2016
BfR Communication No. 007/2016
Endocrine disruptors: scientific discussion on the basic principles for the assessment of substances that influence the hormonal system 40.2 KB
PDF-File
25.02.2016
BfR Communication No. 005/2016
Provisional assessment of glyphosate contents in beer 23.1 KB
PDF-File
12.11.2015
BfR Communication No. 042/2015
Glyphosate: EFSA and Experts from EU Member States Confirm Scientific Assessment of German Authorities 28.6 KB
PDF-File
08.09.2015
BfR Communication No. 028/2015
BfR review of the IARC monograph of glyphosate brought into the European assessment process 34.1 KB
PDF-File
30.07.2015
BfR Communication No. 024/2015
BfR reviews monograph of the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) on glyphosate - divergence procedure within the WHO still in progress 37.5 KB
PDF-File
26.06.2015
BfR Communication No. 019/2015
Evaluation of glyphosate contents in breast milk and urine 39.7 KB
PDF-File
08.06.2015
BfR Communication No. 016/2015
Does glyphosate cause cancer? - Expert group to address diverging assessments within the WHO 32.9 KB
PDF-File
02.04.2015
BfR Communication No. 008/2015
BfR-contribution to the EU-approval process of glyphosate is finalised 38.5 KB
PDF-File
23.03.2015
BfR Communication No. 007/2015
Does glyphosate cause cancer? 38.8 KB
PDF-File
14.01.2015
BfR communication No. 002/2015
EU active ingredient test for glyphosate: current situation and outlook 61.5 KB
PDF-File
21.10.2014
BfR communication No 037/2014
Omics methods in regulatory toxicology: Experts discussed possibility of application 96.5 KB
PDF-File
24.07.2014
BfR communication No 027/2014
Experts discuss how to further standardise the assessment for safe use of plant protection products 40.3 KB
PDF-File

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Conference report

 (1 document)
Date Title Größe
18.06.2014
Conference report
European Conference on Safe Use of Plant Protection Products 88.2 KB
PDF-File

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Background Information

 (3 documents)
Date Title Größe
16.05.2016
BfR Background Information No. 012/2016
WHO/FAO committee (JMPR) re-assesses glyphosate and confirms the BfR and EFSA conclusion that a carcinogenic risk is not to be expected 52.7 KB
PDF-File
21.04.2016
BfR Background Information No. 010/2016
Epidemiological studies on glyphosate: No new findings for the European risk assessment 43.2 KB
PDF-File
22.09.2015
BfR Background Information No. 033/2015
The BfR has made a comprehensive check of the epidemiological studies on glyphosate 29.9 KB
PDF-File

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Infographic

 (2 documents)
Date Title Größe
21.09.2016
Infographic
Zonal authorisation procedure for plant protection products in the EU 183.4 KB
PDF-File
14.06.2016
Infographic
EU Approval Process of Active Substances in Plant Protection Products 244.2 KB
PDF-File

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Miscellaneous

 (19 documents)
Date Title Größe
10.11.2016
BfR compilation
BfR compilation on processing factors 1.0 MB
10.11.2016
Flow Charts
BfR compilation on processing factors 7.1 MB
PDF-File
02.02.2012
BfR model
BfR model for pesticide residue intake calculations (NVS II-Model incl. VELS-Model) 683.1 KB
-File
16.05.2011
Joint DE - UK Position Paper
Regulatory Definition of an Endocrine Disrupter in Relation to Potential Threat to Human Health - Proposal applicable in the regulatory context of Plant Protection Products, Biocidal Products, and Chemicals targeted within REACH 175.0 KB
PDF-File
05.03.2010
BfR Information No 014/2010
Variability factors for the acute dietary risk assessment of pesticides 131.8 KB
PDF-File
21.01.2010
Report of a Workshop hosted at the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in Berlin, Germany, from Nov. 11th till Nov. 13th 2009, Published
Establishment of assessment and decision criteria in human health risk assessment for substances with endocrine disrupting properties under the EU plant protection product regulation 751.1 KB
PDF-File
24.11.2009
BfR Information No. 052/2009
BfR workshop on assessment criteria for endocrine disrupting plant protection products 26.9 KB
PDF-File
10.07.2009
BfR Information No. 029/2009
Tools for consumer risk assessment in the field of pesticides 33.0 KB
PDF-File
01.07.2009
BfR model
BfR model for pesticide residue intake calculations 220.0 KB
-File
01.07.2009
BfR compilation
BfR compilation of residue definitions for pesticides 1.0 MB
-File
01.08.2008
BfR Information No. 037/2008
BfR recommends maintaining exposure-based risk assessment for pesticide approval 28.2 KB
PDF-File
12.06.2008
BfR Information No. 031/2008
Uniform European concept for the health assessment of multiple residues in pesticides 30.9 KB
PDF-File
02.05.2005
Information No. 016/2005 of BfR
BfR develops new dietary intake model for children 109.7 KB
PDF-File

Schutz von Nebenstehenden und Anwohnern (Safeguarding the Health of Bystanders and Residents) 170.5 KB

Safeguarding the Health of Operators - German Model Introduction 24.0 KB
PDF-File

Anwendersicherheit - Deutsches Modell (Safeguarding the Health of Operators - German Model) 77.0 KB

Safeguarding the Health of Workers - Re-Entry Exposure Introduction 15.0 KB
PDF-File

Schutz von Personen bei Nachfolgearbeiten (Safeguarding the Health of Workers - Re-Entry Exposure) 36.0 KB

Safeguarding the Health of Bystanders and Residents - Exposure Introduction 21.6 KB
PDF-File

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Press information

 (17 documents)
Date Title Keywords
04.03.2016
11/2016
Glyphosate in the urine: even for children, the detected values are within the expected range, without any adverse health effects glyphosate, pesticides
01.03.2016
10/2016
Divergence between media reporting and scientific assessment leads to scepticism among consumers glyphosate, pesticides, risk communication
11.02.2016
08/2016
BfR study confirms: no glyphosate detectable in breast milk breast milk , glyphosate, pesticides
28.09.2015
25/2015
More objectivity called for in the discussion surrounding active ingredient testing for glyphosate within the EU glyphosate, pesticides
03.07.2015
17/2015
BfR proposes further EU criteria to identify endocrine disruptors endocrine disruptors , pesticides
30.06.2015
16/2015
The National Breastfeeding Committee and the BfR recommend that mothers continue to breastfeed breast milk , glyphosate, pesticides
20.01.2014
03/2014
Glyphosate: no more poisonous than previously assumed, although a critical view should be taken of certain co-formulants glyphosate, pesticides
22.04.2013
11/2013
Cumulative residues of pesticides in food should be assessed on the basis of clear and simple criteria multiple residues , pesticides
21.03.2013
08/2013
Appeal for harmonized scientific criteria for identification and assessment of endocrine disruptors endocrine disruptors , pesticides
22.02.2013
04/2013
Effective control of oak processionary moths for the protection of humans is possible. biocides, oak processionary, pesticides, strategy
01.10.2012
29/2012
A study of the University of Caen neither constitutes a reason for a re-evaluation of genetically modified NK603 maize nor does it affect the renewal of the glyphosate approval genetically modified foods , glyphosate, pesticides
28.07.2010
10/2010
Information on the risks and benefits of pesticides does not reach consumers
13.03.2009
03/2009
Health risks from fumigated ship containers
05.11.2008
20/2008
How dangerous are gases from ship containers for consumers?
11.06.2008
B/2008
Analysis and assessment of pesticide residues
15.11.2005
36/2005
Pesticides in foods: Risk assessment of multiple residues is to be optimised
26.07.2005
25/2005
Pesticides in currants and gooseberries

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