Atmospheric fate of pesticides and their possible effects in ecosystems beyond the immediate surrounding of the application site are not actively considered in currently used regulatory, risk assessment schemes. Concern with respect to atmospheric transport and subsequent deposition of pesticides in non-target areas is however growing. In this article the results of discussions on the possibilities of implementing atmospheric fate in regulatory risk assessment are presented. It is concluded that implementing atmospheric fate in regulatory risk assessment schemes is possible and that, from a scientific point of view, these schemes should distinguish between pesticides on the basis of both their possibility/probability to reach non- target areas and on their toxicity. This implies that application of the precautionary principle or use of intrinsic pesticide properties alone is not considered justifiable. It is recommended that the risk assessment scheme should follow a tiered approach. The first tier should be entered only if the existing regulatory risk assessment procedure, including a local PEC:PNEC calculation, has been passed and involves a test for the pesticide's total atmospheric emission potential, i.e. its potential for becoming airborne during and after application. The second tier, which is only entered if the total emission potential is higher than a certain trigger value, should consist of a PEC:PNEC calculation for regional off-site areas (10-50 km) (tier 2A). If the pesticide's atmospheric transport potential is expected to exceed a certain value, the PEC:PNEC ratio should also be calculated for more remote areas (>1000 km) (tier 2B).