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Nanopesticides: Guiding principles for regulatory evaluation of environmental risks

Journal article
Authors Rai Kookana
Alistair Boxall
Phillip Reeves
Roman Ashauer
Sabine Beulke
Qasim Chaudry
Geert Cornelis
Teresa Fernandes
Jay Gan
Melanie Kah
Iseult Lynch
James Ranville
Chris Sinclair
David Spurgeon
Karin Tiede
Paul J. Van den Brink
Published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Volume 62
Issue 19
Pages 4227-4240
ISSN 0021-8561
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology
Pages 4227-4240
Language en
Keywords nanoparticles, pesticides, nanopesticides, risk
Subject categories Persistent organic compounds, Environmental toxicology, Geochemistry, Agronomy, Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use


Nanopesticides or nano plant protection products represent an emerging technological development that, in relation to pesticide use, could offer a range of benefits including increased efficacy, durability, and a reduction in the amounts of active ingredients that need to be used. A number of formulation types have been suggested including emulsions (e.g., nanoemulsions), nanocapsules (e.g., with polymers), and products containing pristine engineered nanoparticles, such as metals, metal oxides, and nanoclays. The increasing interest in the use of nanopesticides raises questions as to how to assess the environmental risk of these materials for regulatory purposes. Here, the current approaches for environmental risk assessment of pesticides are reviewed and the question of whether these approaches are fit for purpose for use on nanopesticides is addressed. Potential adaptations to existing environmental risk assessment tests and procedures for use with nanopesticides are discussed, addressing aspects such as analysis and characterization, environmental fate and exposure assessment, uptake by biota, ecotoxicity, and risk assessment of nanopesticides in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Throughout, the main focus is on assessing whether the presence of the nanoformulation introduces potential differences relative to the conventional active ingredients. The proposed changes in the test methodology, research priorities, and recommendations would facilitate the development of regulatory approaches and a regulatory framework for nanopesticides.

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