Pesticide risk assessment: from Danish law to saving bees
What do Danish law makers, British beekeepers and international environmental campaigners have in common? They have all benefited from the Pesticide Properties Database (PPDB), one of the most comprehensive pesticide resources in the world, developed at the University of Hertfordshire. First launched in 2007, the database was developed by the Agriculture and Environment Research Unit led by Prof Kathleen Lewis. Two decades of continuous research have created a comprehensive, independently verified database for pesticide risk assessments, which has now been viewed over 7.5 million times.
The database has enabled several governments to introduce policy changes reducing the use of harmful pesticides in agriculture and helped to protect water quality. It has also provided evidence to underpin United Nations treaties that ban the sale of damaging pesticides, and supported developing countries to better evaluate risk. Retail brands and advocacy groups such as Waitrose and Greenpeace have benefitted, reducing the negative impact of pesticides through changes to supply chains and increased awareness. As a result, the overall safety of pesticides has significantly improved, with those most harmful to humans no longer available, and better regulation introduced to protect public health.