EPA Opens Comment Period for Draft Biological Opinions on Four Pesticides

This original announcement was published by the EPA on February 19, 2021. Click here for more information.

 

EPA and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) are seeking comment on two NMFS draft biological opinions on four pesticides. Metolachlorbromoxynil and prometryn are herbicides used to control grasses and broadleaf weeds, and 1,3-D is a pesticide used in pre-plant fumigation.

The draft biological opinions evaluate the impact of these pesticides on 26 federally listed endangered and threatened species of Pacific salmon and steelhead in Washington, Oregon, and California. The draft biological opinions find that registered uses of these pesticides do not jeopardize the listed salmon and steelhead populations or their critical habitats.

In addition to the “no jeopardy” findings, the draft biological opinions also describe reasonable and prudent measures (RPMs) to protect the listed species of salmon and steelhead and their critical habitats.

EPA and NMFS encourage public input on the RPMs. In particular, the agencies are seeking input from stakeholders on:

  1. Additional risk reduction options, if any, to include in the RPMs.
  2. Efficacy data to support additional risk reduction options; in the case of 1,3-D, data to support increased soil injection depth and tarping as a means of reducing pesticide loading into aquatic habitats.
  3. Existing stewardship programs to reduce pesticide loading within the range of listed salmonids (i.e., family of coldwater fish that includes salmon and trout) that NMFS should consider for qualification of risk reduction credit in the RPMs.

After the public comment period closes, EPA will provide the collected comments to NMFS for its consideration in developing the final biological opinions.

In publishing these draft biological opinions and accepting public comments, EPA is following the enhanced stakeholder practices for Endangered Species Act consultations finalized in March 2013.

The public comment period will be open for 60 days. The draft biological opinions are included in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2021-0150 at www.regulations.gov.

EPA Registers Copper Surfaces for Residual Use Against Coronavirus

This original announcement was published by the EPA on February 10, 2021. Click here for more information.

 

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing that certain copper alloys provide long-term effectiveness against viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. As a result of EPA’s approval, products containing these copper alloys can now be sold and distributed with claims that they kill certain viruses that come into contact with them. This is the first product with residual claims against viruses to be registered for use nationwide. Testing to demonstrate this effectiveness was conducted on harder-to-kill viruses.

“Providing Americans with new tools and information to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 is one of EPA’s top priorities,” said Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff. “Today’s action marks another step forward in EPA’s efforts to listen to the science and provide effective tools to help protect human health.”

In today’s action, EPA is granting an amended registration to the Copper Development Association for an emerging viral pathogen claim to be added to the label of Antimicrobial Copper Alloys- Group 1 (EPA Reg. No. 82012-1), which is made of at least 95.6 percent copper. Amended registrations allow previously registered products to make label changes (e.g., changes to product claims, precautions and/or use directions) and/or formulation changes. In this case, the amended registration is adding virus claims to the product registration.

New efficacy testing supported by the Copper Development Association and conducted according to EPA’s protocols demonstrated certain high-percentage copper alloy products can continuously kill viruses that come into contact with them. Based on testing against harder-to-kill viruses, EPA expects these products to eliminate 99.9 percent of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, within two hours.

Antimicrobial copper alloys can be manufactured into a wide range of surfaces, including doorknobs and handrails. These high-percentage copper alloy products will be added to the List N Appendix, the Agency’s list of residual antiviral products that can be used to supplement routine cleaning and disinfection to combat SARS-CoV-2. To find products for routine cleaning and disinfection, see EPA’s List N.

The use of antimicrobial copper alloy products supplements but does not replace standard infection control practices. Individuals should continue to follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC), state, and local public health guidelines, including critical precautions like mask wearing, social distancing, and ventilation. According to the CDC, COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person to person.

For more information on how copper alloy products can be used against viruses, see EPA’s website or the product’s label in the Pesticide Product and Label System.

EPA Celebrates National Pesticide Safety Education Month

This original announcement was published by the EPA on February 4, 2021. Click here for more information.

During the month of February, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) celebrates National Pesticide Safety Education Month to raise awareness for pesticide safety education and share best practices for using pesticides safely in and around your home.

Reading the label every time you use a pesticide is key to ensuring you are using the pesticide correctly and keeping yourself and your family safe. EPA assesses the risks and benefits of all pesticides sold and distributed in the United States and requires instructions on each pesticide label for how to use the pesticide safely.

Here are more tips to follow for all pesticides:

  • Store pesticides in their original containers with proper labels.
  • Store pesticides out of the reach of children and pets, preferably locked up.
  • Use the amount specified on the label. Using more will not be more effective and may harm you, your loved ones and the environment.
  • Wash hands with soap and water after using a pesticide.
  • Wash clothes that have been in contact with pesticides immediately and separately from other items.
  • Don’t let children and pets enter sprayed areas while they are still wet.
  • Keep pesticides away from food and dishes.

Did you know disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) are pesticides regulated by EPA? As consumers, it’s easy to forget that common household products like antimicrobials, weed killers and insect repellents are pesticides and should be used with proper precautions.

EPA supports projects like the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) to educate pesticide applicators, handlers and farmworkers on working safely with, and around, pesticides. NPIC has been a useful resource to consumers especially during the COVID-19 public health emergency in developing bilingual disinfectant safety materials and providing guidance to the public on how to use EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus.

National Pesticide Safety Education Month also recognizes the efforts of land-grant Pesticide Safety Education Programs (PSEPs) as they teach pesticide safety across the country to reach workers and special communities. Through a cooperative agreement with the eXtension Foundation, EPA supports the work of PSEPs to provide workshops and educational tools to approximately 869,000 certified pesticide applicators in a variety of languages and help them meet certification requirements. An additional 2 million people are reached through pesticide safety education programs, including pesticide educators, farm workers and inner-city and rural communities.

Learn more today about pesticide safety by visiting https://www.epa.gov/pesticides.

EPA Holds Virtual Training for Pesticide Applicators in Indian Country

This original announcement was published by the EPA on February 4, 2021. Click here for more information.

 

EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs will host a two-day virtual training on Feb. 10-11, 2021, to certify participants as private applicators of restricted-use pesticides (RUPs) in Indian country under the EPA Plan for the Federal Certification of Applicators of Restricted Use Pesticides within Indian Country (EPA Plan).

RUPs require special care to avoid harming human health and the environment. In accordance with the requirements in 40 CFR § 171, RUPs can only be sold to or used by pesticide applicators who are specially certified, or to persons under the direct supervision of a certified applicator. RUPs can only be used in areas where EPA has explicitly approved or implemented an applicator certification plan for that state, tribe or federal agency.

Any person who uses RUPs in an area of Indian country under the EPA Plan needs a federal certification from EPA. Additionally, some tribes may choose to further restrict or prohibit the use of RUPs in their areas through the implementation of tribal codes, laws, regulations or other applicable requirements. The EPA Plan does not supersede such tribal requirements. Applicators of RUPs in Indian country should take steps to determine if there are additional tribal requirements they must follow.

Applicators interested in attending the two-day, 12-hour course should express interest by providing a full name to EPAcertplan@epa.gov by Feb. 8, 2021. Another training is scheduled for May 12-13, 2021.