Accelerating the transition towards sustainable pest control in agriculture

The TecnATox research group (URV-IISPV) is a member of the SPRINT consortium of the European Horizon 2020 Program. The project will develop a global risk assessment toolbox to assess the impact of pesticides on human health and adverse effects on plants, animals and ecosystems

The use of pesticides represents a risk to human and environmental health, with recent research findings suggesting 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.

The URV-IISPV research group TecnATox lead by Prof. Josep Lluís Domingo is a member of the winning consortium SPRINT (Sustainable Plant Protection Transition: A Global Health Approach). The newly launched SPRINT project consists of a consortium of research institutes from 11 European countries alongside colleagues in Argentina and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). SPRINT will develop a Global Health Risk Assessment Toolbox to evaluate the impact of pesticides on human health and the adverse effects on plants, animals and ecosystems.

SPRINT will pool the knowledge and data from across Europe to find ways to improve the sustainable use of pesticides. Working with farmers and policymakers, researchers will find ways to support a transition to more sustainable plant protection.

Dr. Montserrat Marquès, the URV-IISPV lead investigator in this project was excited as it will create a comprehensive toolbox that for the first time it will take into account the impact in soil and water biodiversity, gut microbiota, and plant protection products (PPP)-associated diseases such as Parkinson’s. Researchers are looking forward to making “a meaningful contribution to the EU’s Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies”.

Professor Violette Geissen of Wageningen University, who leads the SPRINT consortium said: I am excited to be starting this project, which will answer many questions of vital importance to European citizens. We have brought together scientists who have long-standing expertise to share on this topic. I am confident that we can support regulators and policymakers to make well-informed decisions to introduce more sustainable solutions to agricultural practices.

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