Nano-formulations are already used extensively in pharmaceutical and personal care products, applications within the agrochemical sector are only just emerging. Nano-sensors allowing the development of precision farming devices or genetically modified crops using nano-particles, nano-fibres, or nano-capsules as vectors for DNA are still in the early stages of development, but will revolutionize agricultural practices and food production.
When defining nano-pesticides as any formulation that intentionally includes elements in the nm size range and/or claims novel properties associated with the small size, some nano-pesticides have already been on the market for several years.
Mélanie Kah and colleagues, University of Vienna, Austria, and colleagues from the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA), UK, provide a comprehensive overview of the actual state of knowledge, environmental fate, and exposure modeling of nano-pesticides. At the moment it is still too early to clearly judge if the anticipated new or enhanced activity of nano-pesticides will in the end result in more risks or benefits to human and environmental health. A better understanding of the whereabouts and the effects after their application is necessary.
The relevance of current regulatory framework was analyzed with a particular focus on key issues regarding analytical and modeling procedures. The current regulatory framework needs to be more flexible to make fast adjustments possible.
The analysis also provides a useful framework to identify priorities for future research in order to achieve more robust risk assessments of nano-pesticides.
- Nano-pesticides: state of knowledge, environmental fate and exposure modeling,
Mélanie Kah, Sabine Beulke, Karen Tiede, Thilo Hofmann,
Crit. Rev. Environm. Technol. 2012.