Environmental risk assessment

Environmental Risk Assessment

The Environmental Risk Assessment team is the centre of expertise for environmental risks in the Netherlands. The team is also one of the leading groups in the EU and the world.

The ERA team has extensive knowledge and experimental experience in predicting the behaviour of pesticides and contaminants in the environment, and the effects of pesticides and other contaminants on the ecosystem in temperate and (sub)tropical climate zones.

The team primarily focuses on the ecological effects and the behaviour of pesticides and other contaminants in the environment. Examples of toxic substances are pesticides, pharmaceuticals, PAHs and PCBs. With regard to the behaviour of toxic pesticides and other substances in the environment the team focuses on water, soil and air. Expertise in the area of ecological effects predominantly consists of freshwater ecosystems. Our expertise will be expanded to terrestrial/ soil ecosystems.

The ERA team collaborates with other institutes on a national and international level. In the area of risk assesment of pesticides and other contaminants, the team primarily focuses on the following activities:

  • Developing and applying models which predict the behaviour of pesticides in the environment, both on a field scale as well as a regional scale (examples are TOXSWA, PEARL, CASCADE, GEOPEARL).
  • Studying the fate and the effects of pesticides and other substances and combinations of stress factors on different experimental scales, ranging from individual organisms to ecosystems in laboratory and field experiments (such as micro- en mesocosms, expirimental ditches and field trials).
  • Developing and applying impact models (e.g. TK/TD models, population models such as MASTEP).
  • Making adequate connections between exposure and impact of assessments during appraisals of the environmental risks that pesticides and other contaminants may pose.
  • Policy advice in the area of risk assessment (national en international).
  • Development of methods to quantify risks of substances (tiered approach, decision trees and scenarios).
  • Monitoring and evaluation of substances in the environment.
  • Capacity building in developing countries (eg. PRRP).

Clients are the private sector, the public sector (e.g. EU, EFSA).