EPA Approves Emergency Exemption for Antiviral Air Treatment

This original announcement was published by the EPA on January 16, 2020. Click here for more information.

 

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced approval of an emergency exemption request for use of Grignard Pure, as an additional tool in limited use situations to aid in the fight against COVID-19.

EPA is issuing an emergency exemption for Grignard Pure to be used in certain indoor spaces where social distancing can be challenging. Use of this product does not eliminate the need for critical precautions like mask wearing, social distancing, and ventilation. Always follow CDC, state and local public health guidelines.

This exemption has been granted to Georgia and Tennessee state governments. After carefully reviewing safety and efficacy data, EPA has determined the product will provide another tool to assist States with approved emergency exemptions during the current public health emergency. EPA’s approval will allow the product to be applied in Georgia and Tennessee in certain indoor spaces where adherence to current public health guidelines is impractical or difficult to maintain. Areas of particular concern include breakrooms, locker rooms, bathrooms, lobbies, elevators, eating areas, and food preparation areas within health care facilities, intrastate transportation, food processing facilities, and indoor spaces within buildings—including government facilities—where people are conducting activity deemed essential by the state.

“Today, we are approving the first-ever airborne antiviral product that will help fight the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “There is no higher priority for EPA than protecting the health and safety of Americans and I want to thank those—both within EPA and those outside—who have worked to achieve this important milestone.”

“We are deeply grateful to the diligent teams at EPA who were tireless in evaluating and validating the health, safety and efficacy of Grignard Pure as the first-of-its-kind antimicrobial air treatment,” said Etienne Grignard, co-founder and CEO, Grignard Pure. “Grignard Pure is a passion and a mission for us. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been singularly focused on making Grignard Pure a critical component in achieving the shared commitment we all have—helping people feel safer, getting industries and our economy back to full operation, and using science, technology and engineering to find solutions that move us past the ravages of COVID-19.”

EPA is approving these emergency exemption requests from Georgia and Tennessee under Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

Application levels are monitored through visual assessment, or sensors which automatically regulate the amount of product suspended in the air. Additionally, the EPA-approved label requires that signs be posted at every entrance to the spaces notifying the public that the space has been treated.

Triethylene glycol (TEG) is the active ingredient in Grignard Pure. TEG is commonly used in fog machines for concerts and theatre productions. EPA reviewed all available data on this product’s effectiveness and safety and concluded that it is capable of killing 98 percent of airborne SARS-CoV-2. TEG may be an irritant for sensitive populations.

For more information, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/section-18-emergency-exemption-requests-and-coronavirus-covid-19.

EPA Takes Action to Investigate PFAS Contamination

This original announcement was published by the EPA on January 15, 2020. Click here for more information.

 

As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) extensive efforts to address PFAS, today the agency is making new information available about EPA testing that shows PFAS contamination from fluorinated containers.

Through a coordinated effort with both the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a pesticide manufacturer, the agency has determined that fluorinated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) containers that are used to store and transport a mosquito control pesticide product contain PFAS compounds that are leaching into the pesticide product.

While the agency is early in its investigation and assessment of potential impacts on health or the environment, the affected pesticide manufacturer has voluntarily stopped shipment of any products in fluorinated HPDE containers and is conducting its own testing to confirm EPA results and product stability in un-fluorinated containers. In addition, EPA has issued a request for information under the Toxics Substance Control Act (TSCA) to the company that fluorinates the containers used by certain pesticide manufacturers. The TSCA subpoena requests information about the fluorination process used to treat the containers.

As EPA evaluates this issue, the agency asks that pesticide and other companies using fluorinated containers, and entities that provide container fluorination services, engage in good product stewardship and examine their distribution chains to identify potential sources of contamination. EPA will also continue to work closely with the entities involved and their supply and distribution chains, mosquito control districts, the pesticide and packaging industry, federal partners, states, and tribes that may be affected to provide information and guidance on next steps. EPA understands the need to provide guidance to states, tribes, and other users as they prepare to purchase mosquito control products for 2021 and will provide more information as it continues its investigation.

EPA will update the following webpage with information as it becomes available: https://www.epa.gov/pesticides/pfas-packaging

Background

Since first becoming aware of the PFAS contamination issue in early September 2020 through citizen science testing of a pesticide product for mosquito control, EPA has been working to investigate the source of the contamination. Throughout October and November 2020, EPA has worked diligently in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to request samples of the pesticide product and analyze the identified product at different steps of production and manufacturing to determine whether PFAS are present, including issuing an information request to the pesticide registrant on October 5, 2020 seeking information on the affected pesticide’s production, sales, and distribution.

In late December 2020, EPA studied the fluorinated HDPE containers used to store and transport the product and determined the containers are a possible source of PFAS contamination. EPA has been in close contact with Massachusetts, the pesticide registrant and the fluorinated HDPE container treatment company to discuss the issue, as well as to obtain the materials needed to test for PFAS in the product and the fluorinated HDPE containers.

Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), EPA is charged with approving active and inert ingredients in the registered pesticide products sold in the United States. EPA has confirmed that PFAS is not a known ingredient or additive in the company’s affected product and is collaboratively working with the registrant as EPA laboratories test samples of the product at different steps of production and manufacturing, in addition to the agency’s study of the containers themselves.

In Mississippi, Administrator Wheeler Announces Multi-Million-Dollar Initiative Dedicated to Sustainable Pest Control in Agriculture

This original announcement was published by the EPA on January 11, 2021. Click here for more information. 

 

Today, at an event with the Mississippi Farm Bureau, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced a $2 million dollar initiative that encourages smart, sensible, and sustainable pest control in agriculture. Administrator Wheeler was also joined by U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality Director Chris Wells, Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Andy Gipson, Mississippi State Senator Charles Younger, Mississippi Farm Bureau President Mike McCormick, EPA Regional Administrator Mary Walker, and EPA Chief of Staff Mandy Gunasekara for the announcement. The initiative, which is an extension of EPA’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP), expects to award grantees up to $200,000 to implement sustainable pest management practices that align with the agency’s goal of providing a healthier environment for all Americans.

“With the extension of this multi-million-dollar initiative, the Trump Administration is providing growers with the additional resources they need to cut down on the environmental risks of both pests and pesticides,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Together, EPA and the agricultural community are building on our already strong foundation of sustainable pest management practices.”

This fiscal year, EPA expects to award approximately $2 million total for agricultural projects that explore innovative practices, technologies, education, and non-regulatory solutions that promote the adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies. Traditional pest control involves the routine application of pesticides. IPM, in contrast, combines biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health and environmental risks.

EPA expects to issue a Request for Applications in January 2021 and applicants will have 45 days to submit their applications. Funding will be available to:

  • States or state agencies, territories, city or township governments, and federally recognized tribes.
  • Public and private universities and colleges.
  • Other public or private nonprofit institutions and 501(c)(3) organizations (PESP membership is not an eligibility requirement to receive funding).

“We are pleased to be a part of this important announcement today with EPA. We look forward to working with EPA to further this important program here in Mississippi,” said Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation President Mike McCormick.

EPA’s PESP is guided by the principle that partnership programs complement the standards and decisions established by regulatory and registration actions. This partnership program has previously invested nearly $4 million annually to support more than 100 successful grants, awards, and collaborative efforts. These efforts have promoted IPM in agriculture, schools, integrated vegetation management on utility rights-of-ways, and shared information on tick management strategies and EPA region-specific projects on sustainable pest management practices.

Today, EPA partners with over 400 organizations through PESP and welcomes more organizations to share the commitment to environmental stewardship where we live, work, play, and farm.

For more information about PESP, visit: www.epa.gov/pesp

For more information about PESP grants, visit: https://www.epa.gov/pesp/pesticide-environmental-stewardship-program-grants

To learn more about IPM, visit: www.epa.gov/ipm.

Background:

EPA’s PESP traces its roots to the 1993 Pesticide Use/Risk Reduction Initiative, a joint effort of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and EPA to reduce the use of pesticides that pose unreasonable risks to humans and the environment. Over the past 27 years, the program has promoted IPM and provided information exchange from growers to EPA to inform certain pesticide regulatory decisions. While PESP grant funding ceased in 2010, the program has continued to carry on this important work in other ways. With today’s announcement, the agency is undertaking new efforts to provide grants focused on agriculture-centered IPM.

EPA Proposes to Codify Certain Pesticide Product Performance Requirements

This original announcement was published by the EPA on January 8, 2021. Click here for more information.

 

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to codify product performance data requirements for products claiming efficacy against certain pests to increase the efficiency of the agency’s approval process and save registrants time and money.

Product performance standards make it easier for pesticide registrants to know the efficacy data that must be submitted to the Agency to prove their pesticide product works as claimed. Through the agency’s proposed rule, EPA satisfies a requirement of the 2018 Pesticide Registration Improvement Extension Act (PRIA 4). This action also officially incorporates the agency’s product performance standards requirements for certain invertebrate pests into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

By adding these requirements into the CFR, EPA will help ensure submitted data meets the agency’s needs and scientific standards. If finalized, the proposed rule could save registrants approximately $17,000 per data package submitted to the Agency by reducing waste and unnecessary testing

Today’s proposal applies to three categories of invertebrate pests:

  • Those identified to be of significant public health importance (e.g., ticks, mosquitoes, cockroaches, etc.)
  • Wood-destroying insects (e.g., termites)
  • Certain invasive invertebrate species (e.g., Asian long-horned beetle)

Comments on the proposed rule are accepted in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2020-0124 at www.regulations.gov for 60 days.