Assessment of leaching to groundwater is an important aspect of pesticide risk assessment. The first leaching tier usually consists of simulations with leaching scenarios based on pesticide- soil properties derived from laboratory studies. Because the extractability of pesticide residues in such studies decreases with time, the harshness of the extraction method influences these pesticide-soil properties. This study investigates the effect of using a mild or harsh extraction method on simulated leaching to groundwater with consideration of substances with a range of half-lives and organic matter sorption coefficient values for selected leaching scenarios. The model for linking the concentrations of the mild and the harsh systems was based on laboratory studies with two pesticides and a Dutch sandy soil and was tested against Canadian field studies with atrazine (6-chloro-N2-ethyl-N4-isopropyl-1,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamine). The degradation rate and the aged-sorption parameters of each "mild" soil-substance system were derived from a hypothetical laboratory incubation study using prescribed parameter values for the corresponding "harsh" soil-substance system. Simulations were performed for three European leaching scenarios (United Kingdom, France, Portugal). For the best-guess parameter set, the leaching concentrations of the harsh system were approximately equal to those of the mild system at leaching concentrations greater than 1 μg L-1 and were at most approximately a factor of two higher than those of the mild systems at mild leaching concentrations between 0.01 and 0.1 μg L-1. However, an extreme parameter set led to harsh leaching concentrations that were at most approximately 10 times higher than the mild leaching concentrations at levels between 0.01 and 0.1 μg L-1.