Accelerating the transition towards sustainable pest control in agriculture - introducing the SPRINT project

  • 15 maart 2021

Pesticides: when the cure becomes the disease

Most farmers rely on plant protection products (PPPs) to maximise crop yields. However, some PPPs are potentially harmful to environmental, animal and human health. Recent research findings suggest an association of exposure with increased risk of health problems, including Parkinson’s disease, reproductive and developmental issues and cancer, whilst affecting the health of soil, water, and biodiversity.

At present, there is a need for more data on these adverse aspects of PPPs. The recently launched SPRINT project (Sustainable Plant Protection Transition: A Global Health Approach) will develop and test an integrated global health approach to assessing the risks and impacts of PPPs on environmental, crop, livestock and human health. The project will also accelerate the transition towards more sustainable PPP use.

Sustainable plant protection in the context of a global health approach

SPRINT wants to deliver a Global Health Risk Assessment Toolbox for the integrated assessment of the impacts of pesticides on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems as well as on plant, animal and human health. Three main attributes for health status will be examined: resilience, reproduction/productivity and manifestation of diseases.

In addition to this first objective, SPRINT also wants to harmonise data collection approaches across Europe and collect the critical data needed to inform integrated approaches to fully assess overall risks and impacts of pesticide formulations, residues and metabolites.

Further objectives include assessing the environmental and economic sustainability of alternative strategies to pesticide use and developping transition pathways towards more sustainable plant protection in a multi-actor approach.

To do this, SPRINT will engage with stakeholders to identify their knowledge needs and improve awareness of and trust in integrated risk assessments of pesticides. The distribution and the impacts of PPP on environmental, plant, animal and human health will be evaluated at 10 EU case study sites (CSS) and one CSS in Argentina to cover diverse farming systems from both conventional and organic farms.

Call for collaboration

SPRINT is currently working on stakeholder identification and engagement at regional, national and international level. If you or your organisation (policy maker, NGO, citizens organisation, environmental movement,...) would like to participate in the project, please do contact the SPRINT team.

More info on the project can be found on the SPRINT website.