Sustainable plant protection transition: A global health approach (SPRINT)

Most farmers rely on plant protection products (PPPs) to maximise crop yields. However, some PPPs are potentially harmful to environmental, animal and human health. Data on the risks and impacts associated with PPPs’ are, at present, fragmented and incomplete. There is, therefore, a need to deliver an integrated approach to fill this data gap. To address this, the WUR Soil Science cluster group, Soil Physics and Land management, conceived and is coordinator of the SPRINT project which will develop and test an integrated global health approach to assessing the risks and impacts of PPPs on environmental, crop, livestock and human health. SPRINT entails a transdisciplinary consortium, including medical and (eco)toxicological research partners, and close involvement of all relevant stakeholders to collaborate in establishing the global one health approach and effectively (co-)developing transition pathways away from reliance on PPP use, and improve farmer and citizen awareness. The project consists of 25 partner organizations in Europe and Argentina with a total project budget of 15 million €.

Research objectives

Main objectives of the SPRINT project are to

i) engage with stakeholders to identify their knowledge needs and improve awareness of and trust in integrated risk assessments of pesticides,

ii) assess PPP component mixtures & distribution in the environment (soil, water, air), crops, livestock and humans and the related health state of organisms & humans in different farming systems,

iii) estimate direct & indirect PPP residue exposure levels for selected organisms, crops, livestock and humans in the case studies,

iv) develop laboratory tests for measuring the effects of PPP mixtures on environmental, crop, livestock and human health,

v) develop a Global Health Risk Assessment Toolbox for risk and impact assessment of PPP residue mixtures on the environment, crops, livestock and human health, linking exposure to PPP residue mixtures to health impacts,

vi) assess integrated risks, costs and benefits of PPP use in different farming systems at micro and macroeconomic level, including internal and external costs of PPP use, and

vii) propose transition pathways towards more sustainable plant protection, provide policy recommendations and develop a research agenda on sustainable plant protection.

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Cover picture credit:File:Pesticides application 01.jpg - Wikimedia Commons