Newsletter October 2021

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Humankind: A Hopeful History

During my holiday I read Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman. The book really appealed to me. It is based primarily on the good aspects in people and in everyday life. Bregman provides a striking analysis of mechanisms and assumptions in historical thought – humans are essentially bad – which the media tend to reinforce with their emphasis on negative news. At the Ctgb we also have to deal with this characteristic of the media regularly.

Our world view is distorted by the news selection of the media, Bregman writes. “We are living in the wealthiest, safest and healthiest time ever. Why don't we understand this? The answer is simple: because almost all the news is about negative exceptions. Attacks, violence, disasters: the more exceptional an event, the more newsworthy it becomes.” And he illustrates this with examples such as research into plane crashes, which showed that between 1991 and 2015, the number of accidents steadily decreased, while the media attention for them increased. As a result, people are becoming increasingly afraid to board safer aircraft. Moreover, extreme aspects of the news are emphasised even more in this digital age. The people behind Facebook, Twitter and Google are aware of what you click on and offer you more of it to keep you engaged. As a result, everyday things that are going well are not reported.

I see a parallel here with our sphere of activity. As part of their risk assessment of active substances and products, EU Member States are now working closely together in compliance with strict regulations and scientifically established safety standards. High-risk substances have been phased out and are no longer used. Nevertheless, more and more discussions are dominated by people citing dubious ‘scientific facts’ to their heart's content. Moreover, the media no longer present both sides, are biased in their selection of scientific news and publish unfounded assumptions and suspicions as facts. It is also in this context that I feel drawn to Bregman's call to pay more attention to the positive aspects in everyday life: so much is going well and so much has already improved in Europe. And we keep improving. Indeed, this is ingrained in European regulations, assessment systems and processes. We remain critical and vigilant, we are open to scientific assessment and we continue to improve. That is simply part of our ‘everyday’ work.

Ingrid Becks

Secretary/Director of the Ctgb

Image: ©Ctgb

Instructions on using the Wageningen drift calculator

Due to the implementation of the WUR Drift Calculator (WDC), a set of schematic instructions has been published, and the DRT work instructions and Evaluation Manual have been updated. New drift values for the DRT classes in minimum cultivation-free zones for the various crops have been added to Chapter 6 ‘Aquatic behaviour’ and Chapter 7 ‘Terrestrial non-target arthropods and non-target plants (national elements)’. The WDC can also be used for further refinements (e.g. additional cultivation-free zones). In addition, the Evaluation Manual has been clarified for the following aspects:

  • the initial situation of crops for which the drift deposition values for large fruit are used in the assessment, but which do not fall under the preconditions for large fruit in the Environmental Management Activities Decree. These are woody small fruit, hops, nuts and other types of fruit;
  • crop groups and sub-groups on the DTG list that are not covered by the conditions from the Environmental Management Activities Decree, 3.5 agricultural activities.

The WDC – and the amended Evaluation Manual and DRT work instructions – will come into effect for new applications and dossiers submitted from 1 January 2022 but may also be used for pending applications. For more information, see the schematic instructions and the news of 19 July 2021.

Updated Pesticide Atlas with measurement data from 2020

Based on measurement data from the water authorities, the Pesticide Atlas shows which active substances and metabolites of plant protection products and biocides occur in Dutch surface water. The Atlas provides information about exceedances of standards, long-term trends in concentrations and the connection with land use. The updated Atlas with the measurement data for 2020 was published on 1 October. In the risk assessment, the Ctgb includes the most recent measurement data from surface water to determine whether the authorisation standard has been exceeded. From 1 January 1 2022, applicants must use the measurement data from the updated version for their dossiers.

Pesticide atlas updated with monitoring data of 2020

What about authorisation numbers for simplified authorisations?

The rapporteur Member State (RMS) allocates the authorisation number. If the Netherlands is the RMS for an application for a simplified authorisation under the Biocidal Products Regulation, then an EU authorisation number will be issued (and not a specific NL authorisation number as with national authorisations).

If the Netherlands is the concerned Member State (CMS), then it will adopt the authorisation number issued by the RMS, which is usually an EU authorisation number.

If products are already on the market with a NL authorisation number, this cannot simply be converted to an EU authorisation number. The current labels are provided with the NL authorisation number and cannot be directly converted to an EU authorisation number. Due to possible derogation periods, this must always be done in consultation with the authorisation holder.

Revised templates for applications under the BPR

During the past year, several templates for applications under the BPR have been revised and published by ECHA. These templates should be used for the following new applications:

  • PAR templates (assessment reports for single products and biocidal product families), with effect from 4 December 2021.
  • CAR template CAR template (Competent Authority Report, Assessment Report for Active Substances), with effect from 21 June 2021.
  • CLH template (Proposal for harmonised classification and labelling of active substances), with effect from 21 June 2021.
  • Biocide product family overview Excel sheet, with effect from 11 April 2021, see application page.

Standard SPC sentences, a compilation of frequently used sentences in the free text sections of the SPC (Summary of Product Characteristics) and their translation into all EU languages.