Vegetated filter strips to end as a restriction of use for plant protection products in Sweden

The Swedish Chemicals Agency excludes surface runoff as a route of exposure in aquatic risk assessments of plant protection products intended for use in Sweden. As a consequence, the requirement of a 10 meter permanent vegetative filter strip as a measure to reduce surface runoff will no longer be applied in authorisations of plant protection products granted by the Swedish Chemicals Agency.

In December 2010, the Swedish Chemicals Agency introduced the option to take into consideration risk mitigation measures aiming to reduce risks identified due to exposure of surface water to plant protection products via surface runoff. Currently, 22 products are authorised with a restriction allowing the use on fields only where a 10 meter wide permanent vegetative filter strip is established at the edge of field.

The Swedish Chemicals Agency has now decided that surface runoff will not be part of the risk assessments within the authorisation process of plant protection products in Sweden. Therefore a 10 meter permanent vegetated filter strip as a restriction of use will no longer be included in the authorisations. Furthermore, the holder of an authorisation of a plant protection product with the restriction of use including a 10 meter permanent vegetated filter strip may submit an application to amend this condition of use.

One of the reasons for this decision is that the methodology used for estimating pesticide transport via surface runoff until now has been shown overly conservative and not representative for Swedish conditions. The Swedish Chemicals Agency acknowledge the fact that surface runoff may occur under certain circumstances during growing season, and then possibly being of significance for pesticide transport to surface water. However, the current knowledge about surface runoff in Sweden does not permit realistic calculations of predicted environmental concentrations of pesticides in surface water due to this specific route of exposure. Also, since the majority of arable soils in Sweden are tile drained, transport of pesticides via surface runoff may be regarded as a significant problem only in a minor part of arable land within the country.

The Swedish Chemicals Agency will work with the aim that the phenomenon of surface runoff in Sweden is addressed in a broader perspective at a local scale, involving other governmental authorities and other parties of interest.

MEMO: The Swedish Chemicals Agency excludes surface runoff from risk assessments of plant protections products (PDF 113 kB) , 112.7 kB.

For further information, please contact:

Mats Allmyr, Environmental risk assessments, + 46 8 519 41 180

The Swedish Chemicals Agency press service, + 46 8 519 41 200,

E-mail addresses to Chemicals Agency employees are written as follows: