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A groundbreaking study from the SPRINT project, funded by the European Union's Horizon program, has unveiled a concerning reality: pesticide residues are pervasive in both agricultural environments and residential settings, raising concerns for environmental and human health. These findings, which have significant implications for European Union decision-makers, emphasise the urgent need for comprehensive regulatory measures to address potentially far-reaching impacts of the co-occurrence of pesticides.

For decades, pesticides have been employed globally to bolster agricultural productivity, yet the cumulative effects of their residues have been largely overlooked. The scientific community are increasingly unveiling an alarming trend: pesticide residues, often assessed for risk on a substance-by-substance basis, are in fact extensively mingling in ecosystems. This issue is not confined to agricultural fields and waterbodies but also in the very homes of farmworkers and of their neighbours.

The SPRINT project undertook a field sampling campaign in 10 European countries that identified pesticide residues at all study sites. The first peer-reviewed paper presenting the sampling results has recently been published. This unique dataset has raised concerns about the consequences of such a wide distribution of pesticide residues.

Opening slide

The video recording of the SPRINT presentations at the UN General Assembly Science Summit in New York on 27th September 2023 is now available to view on our YouTube channel here. The ten presentations in this session provide an overview of the preliminary results from the pesticide residue monitoring campaign. The individual presentations are listed below and accessible by clicking on the timestamps:

00:34 Violette Geissen - Pesticide residues with hazard classifications onminpresent in European environment and farmer residences

17:09 Abdallah Alloui - How is exposure to pesticides affecting plant, animal and human health? An assessment in Europe and Argentina

31:04 Daniel Figueiredo - Linking pesticide residues in indoor dust to human exposure of residents living close to conventional and organic farming

43:32 Hans Mol - Pesticides in human urine and feces: human biomonitoring to assess internal exposure to pesticides

59:25 Maaike Gerritse - Pesticides and gut health: influence on gut microbiome composition and negative impact on cells lining the gut

01:25:24 Freya Debler - Pesticide exposure by air at two agricultural sites in europe

01:35:28 Dirk Goossens - Pesticide transport by wind in sediment originating from agricultural fields

01:55:36 Peter Fantke - Human and ecological impacts of pesticides over their life cycle

02:11:53 Kayode Jegede - Risk of pesticide mixtures in the terrestrial ecosystem: effects on earthworms, springtails and bees

02:26:58 Nelson Abrantes - Impacts of realistic pesticide mixtures on freshwater ecosystems

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SPRINT partners at the department of agroecology, Aarhus University, Denmark, are advertising for a tenure track assistant professor, or associate professor in environmental soil physics. Special emphasis will be on soil functions, soil ecosystem services, soil health with focus on how to improve the soil quality, and further transport and fate of pesticides and other environmental contaminants in soil.

The deadline for applications is Nov 21st. For more information, see the advert here

71 factsheet

 SPRINT has just published a report and factsheet, which explore the lock-ins and barriers surrounding a transition away from reliance on synthetic pesticides. 

This research highlights that progress towards reduced reliance and dependence on synthetic pesticides is hindered by an ongoing pesticide lock-in situation. There are many interrelated processes and direct barriers that mutually reinforce each other to limit or substantially slow down a wider transition away from a reliance on chemical pesticides. We have identified the key lock-in mechanisms and barriers across different dimensions including: agronomy and research, economics, knowledge, policy, regulation and cognition. While specific barriers may vary, many apply across different farming systems. The interaction of these mechanisms and barriers creates a complex situation. For example, the absence or high cost of biocontrol limits openness to non-chemical alternatives, while farmers have already invested substantial resources in mechanised pesticide applications. Furthermore, authorities rely on emergency authorisations, rather than considering alternatives like growing other crops or the redesign of farming systems due to the cost and effort involved.

Read the full report here: tinyurl.com/58bcm2n4

Read the concise factsheet here: https://t.co/vQLkzx5rkT



Do you live in or near Nijmegen, Netherlands? Radboud University, a partner in the SPRINT project, is looking for volunteers for a study on pesticides in blood, urine and feces following exposure to pesticides at an officially approved acceptable daily intake. For more information or to find out how to participate, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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