Pesticide Risk Assessment

In the European Union, no plant protection products can be used unless it has first been scientifically established that:

  1. they have no harmful effects on consumers, farmers and local residents and passers-by;
  2. they do not cause unacceptable effects on the environment;
  3. they are sufficiently effective against pests.

The evaluation, marketing and use of pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides etc.) in plant protection in the EU Community is regulated by Regulation (CE) 1107/2009. The first step of the evaluation process involves a Rapporteur Member State (RMS), which prepares preliminary conclusions on the substance. Then a scientific risk assessment, involving the European Food Safety Authority and Member States is carried out, followed by risk management steps carried out by the Commission with the assistance of the Member States. If the evaluation shows that the substance has no harmful effect on human or animal health and that it has no unacceptable influence on the environment, the substance can be approved. An EU list of approved active substances is established, and Member States may authorize only those plant protection products containing the active substances included in this list.

In this framework ICPS provides scientific support to the Ministry of Health in preparing the draft assessment reports on active substance to be discussed at European level, while Italy is designated as RMS. ICPS is further involved in the processing of applications for setting or changing Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs).

Moreover, ICPS experts participate to the scientific discussions held at EFSA premises. ICPS also drafts registration reports on plant protection products to be put on the National or South European market.



Regulation (EC) no. 1907/2006, or the REACH Regulation (from Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation of CHemicals) was adopted by European Union (EU) with two main aims: to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks associated to chemicals, by also improving knowledge and information about them; and to enhance the competitiveness of the European chemical industry.

An integral part of REACH system concerns an important and effective tool for the provision of information on substances and mixtures: Safety Data Sheet (SDS). The original requirements of REACH for SDSs have been further improved by Regulation (EU) no. 453/2010 with new elements of the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

Another important legislation on chemicals in EU is represented by Regulation (EC) no. 1272/2008, or CLP (from Classification, Labelling and Packaging). The Classification reported on the pesticide product labels together with the hazard statements and precautionary statements, communicates to workers and consumers the potential hazards of substances and mixtures introduced on the market.

ICPS supports and revises Public Entities, Companies and operators in the health sector.



Research at ICPS is regularly carried out in collaboration with a network of Universities and Research Centres. An enduring and profitable relationship has been established with several institutions operating in the same geographical area (University of Milan, University of Milano-Bicocca, Mario Negri Institute), while specific projects are developed with Centres based in other European countries (e.g. ANSES, Wageningen University, RIVM, …). For some of these projects ICPS has acted as coordinator and leading institute.

Applied research carried out at ICPS is particularly focused on addressing scientific challenges posed by Italian and European authorities concerning public health, regulation of plant protection products, and chemicals in general.



Since 1996, ICPS has conducted data collection, management and analysis activities in the context of pesticide products. The gathered information, after being controlled and quality checked, are organized in relational databases, mostly free and open to public consultation.

The expertise gained by the ICPS staff has allowed to compete and win National and European project calls on the data collection topic.

In partnership with DG Health, ICPS developed two online databases of Regional and National relevance:

FITOWEB290 and PESTIDOC and other different IT tools.


Support activities

ICPS provides its technical and scientific support and counselling to several public and private actors, involved in chemical risk assessment and health risk prevention (Prevention Technicians, Physicians working for Departments of Health Risk Prevention).

ICPS also provides its scientific and technical support for the resolution of critical issues, raising during the evaluations of substances and chemical processes, in compliance with requirements of recent rules and European regulations on chemicals and, in particular, on plant protection products.