The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) conducts human health risk assessments to evaluate the risk to human health associated with pesticide use. If specific pesticide uses of concern are identified, DPR adopts mitigation measures that reduce the risk of pesticide exposure and thereby the risk of adverse human health effects.
Risk assessment plays a critical role in DPR's evaluation of the potential human health hazards associated with pesticide use. More about risk assessment. DPR assesses potential dietary (food and drinking water), workplace, residential, and ambient air exposures, and considers both the exposure pathway (the course a pesticide takes from its source to the person) as well as the exposure route (how the pesticide enters the body). This evaluation is described in a document called an Exposure Assessment Document (EAD).
DPR's human health risk assessments include hazard identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment, and risk characterization. These components of risk assessment are then incorporated into a risk characterization document (RCD). Hazard identification determines if there are toxic effects caused by a pesticide. The dose-response assessment identifies the amount of pesticide at which these effects occur. The exposure assessment determines the amount of pesticide that people are exposed to during a specific period (short-, intermediate-, and long-term) and in what situations (work, home, and outdoor environments). The exposure assessment also identifies who is most vulnerable, such as farmworkers, children, and women of childbearing age. Risk characterization determines the exposure levels at which harmful effects will not be caused. Draft EADs and RCDs undergo external peer review by scientists at the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA).
DPR also evaluates certain pesticides under California's Toxic Air Contaminant Act. Toxic Air Contaminants (TACs) are air pollutants that may cause or contribute to increases in serious illness or death, or may pose a present or potential hazard to human health. According to state law, all draft RCDs for potential TACs must be evaluated by a Scientific Review Panel. More information about DPR's TAC program can be found at the Toxic Air Contaminant Program web page.
In 2013, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reviewed the department's risk assessment process and prepared a report that recommended improvements to the process. Based on the NAS recommendations, DPR developed a new process for developing risk assessments and mitigation measures.
DPR strives to protect human health and make the best use of resources by prioritizing risk assessments to address the greatest potential risks. DPR sets priorities for risk assessments through a single process, regardless of the impetus. Learn more about how DPR prioritizes pesticides for evaluation and risk assessment.
Mitigation of human health risks involves protecting workers and the public by reducing or eliminating exposures and hazards associated with pesticide use. More about risk mitigation. DPR develops mitigation (exposure reduction) measures when health risk assessments suggest overexposures may occur when a pesticide is used as labeled. In 2001, DPR started issuing a document called a Risk Management Directive (RMD) to summarize the exposure scenarios of concern identified in the risk assessment and provide recommendations about how DPR can address these concerns. If the concerns can be mitigated, DPR develops mitigation measures that reduce the risk of pesticide exposure identified in the risk assessment process. DPR may also develop mitigation measures as a result of the reevaluation process, or if permit conditions are needed to address concerns associated with a pesticide that is designated as a California restricted material. If the risks cannot be adequately mitigated, DPR has the authority to cancel, suspend, or refuse to register a pesticide.
If you would like to receive information and updates on proposed and final mitigation efforts as well as other activities related to control measures, subscribe to the following mailing list: Human Health Mitigation.
Status of Risk Assessments and Mitigation Activities By Active Ingredient
The following active ingredients have completed the risk assessment and mitigation process or have risk assessments and mitigation measures under consideration or development.
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