Navigation Links
Agencies should use common approach to evaluate risks pesticides pose to endangered species

WASHINGTON -- When determining the potential effects pesticides could pose to endangered or threatened species, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) should use a common scientific approach, says a new report from the National Research Council. Specifically, the agencies should use a risk assessment approach that addresses problem formulation, exposure analysis, effects analysis, and risk characterization.

Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, before a pesticide can be sold, distributed, or used in the United States, EPA must ensure that it does not cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment, which includes species that are listed as endangered or threatened and their habitats. Moreover, the U.S. Endangered Species Act requires federal agencies, including EPA, to consult with FWS and NMFS when a federal action "may affect" a listed species or its habitat. If EPA determines that a pesticide is "not likely to adversely affect" a listed species -- and FWS or NMFS agrees -- no further consultation is required. However, if EPA determines that a pesticide is "likely to adversely affect" a listed species, a formal consultation with FWS or NMFS is required, and FWS or NMFS determines whether a proposed action is likely to jeopardize the listed species and issues a biological opinion.

Over the last decade, questions have been raised regarding the best approaches or methods for determining the risks pesticides pose to listed species and their habitats. EPA, FWS, and NMFS have developed their own approaches because their legal mandates, responsibilities, institutional cultures, and expertise differ. Although the agencies have tried to resolve their differences in assessment approaches, they have been unsuccessful at reaching a consensus. As a result, the National Research Council was asked to examine the scientific and technical issues related to determining risks posed by pesticides to listed species.

The committee that wrote the report said that a common approach among the agencies is needed. The risk assessment paradigm that traces its origins to the Research Council reports Risk Assessment in the Federal Government: Managing the Process and more recently to Science and Decisions: Advancing Risk Assessment has become scientifically credible, transparent, and consistent; is reliably anticipated by all parties involved in decisions regarding pesticide use; and clearly articulates where scientific judgment is required and the bounds within which such judgments can be made. Such a process is used broadly for human-health and ecological risk assessments throughout the federal government.

If FWS and NMFS could build on EPA's analysis of whether a pesticide is likely to adversely affect a listed species rather than conduct a completely new analysis, the assessment would likely be more effective and scientifically credible, the committee determined. Furthermore, agreement among the agencies has been impeded by a lack of communication and coordination throughout the process. Therefore, the committee emphasized the need for coordination, which it views as necessary to ensure a complete and representative assessment of risk and that each agency's technical needs are met.

The committee examined several components of the risk assessment process where better coordination and agreement would facilitate an integrated approach to examining risks to listed species and their habitats. These included evaluating methods for identifying the best scientific data available, assessing approaches for developing modeling assumptions, identifying geospatial information that might be used in the risk assessment, reviewing approaches for characterizing effects, analyzing the scientific information available for estimating effects of mixtures and inert ingredients, and examining the use of uncertainty factors to account for gaps in data.


Contact: Jennifer Walsh
National Academy of Sciences

Related biology news :

1. NRC authors brief federal agencies on the state of polar regions
2. Synthetic Biology Scorecard finds federal agencies responding to bioethics report
3. Joint air toxics research project among tribes, agencies recognized for partnership
4. Should we play hide-and-go-seek with our childrens vegetables?
5. Reproductive health providers should discuss environmental exposure risks with patients
6. President, CEO Leppävuori, VTT: Finland should create a national bioeconomy strategy
7. Countries should implement inclusive wealth accounting
8. Happy Fathers Day! Another reason why dads and hopeful dads should quit smoking now
9. Should high-dose interleukin-2 continue to be the treatment of choice for metastatic melanoma?
10. Environmental groups should pool efforts to reach the public
11. Prenatal whole genome sequencing: Just because we can, should we?
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26, 2015 Research and Markets ( ... Fingerprint Sensors - Technology and Patent Infringement Risk Analysis" ... --> --> Fingerprint sensors using capacitive ... The fingerprint sensor vendor Idex forecasts an increase of ... mobile devices and of the fingerprint sensor market between ...
(Date:11/19/2015)... VIEW, Calif. , Nov. 19, 2015  Based ... market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes BIO-key with the 2015 ... Leadership. Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award ... product line catering to the needs of the market ... the product line meets and expands on customer base ...
(Date:11/18/2015)... new scientific discoveries deepen our understanding of how cancer ... challenges in better using that knowledge to guide treatment ... children continue to survive pediatric cancer, that counseling may ... John M. Maris, M.D ., a pediatric oncologist ... --> John M. Maris, M.D ., ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... Matthew “Tex” VerMilyea, PhD, ... VerMilyea will oversee all IVF lab procedures as well as continue his ... , “We traveled 7,305 miles to Auckland, New Zealand to bring home a High ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... ... announced the opening of a new core patient care hub with the opening of ... are part of GSCG’s expansion efforts in Latin America. , Both the Arica and ... from around the world. , The clinics will be headed by Victor Perez, M.D. and ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015 Harvard Apparatus ... a biotechnology company developing bioengineered organ implants for ... notification from The NASDAQ Stock Market that it ... requirements. The letter noted that as a result ... stock having exceeded $1.00 per share for more ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Human Longevity, Inc. (HLI), the genomics-based, technology-driven ... Genomics, Inc., a leading genome informatics company offering highly ... The San Diego -based company has ... and Co-founder, Ashley Van Zeeland , Ph.D., who is ... of the deal were not disclosed. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: