EPA Approves Label Amendments that Further Restrict the Use of Over-the-Top Dicamba in Minnesota and Iowa

This original announcement was published by the EPA on March 16, 2022. Click here for more information.

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved label amendments that further restrict the use of over-the-top dicamba in Minnesota and Iowa. The amendments, requested by pesticide registrants in consultation with those states, are intended to reduce risks from the use of over-the-top dicamba, an herbicide used to control certain types of broadleaf weeds.

The revised labeling prohibits over-the-top dicamba application:

  • On dicamba-tolerant crops after June 20 in Iowa;
  • On dicamba-tolerant crops south of Interstate 94 after June 12 in Minnesota (the cut-off date for land north of Interstate 94 remains June 30); and
  • When the air temperature is over 85 degrees at the time of application or if the forecasted high temperature of the nearest available location exceeds 85 degrees in Minnesota.

These restrictions are intended to reduce the likelihood of volatility and offsite movement of over-the-top dicamba by avoiding application on days with high temperatures. Among other requirements, the product registrants must add the amended labeling to their training and educational materials and disseminate this information to pesticide authorities and agricultural extension services to assist users in their local area. These label amendments demonstrate EPA’s ongoing commitment to help states address issues related to incidents in their jurisdictions. EPA’s highest priority is to protect human health and the environment, and all pesticide decisions must be consistent with this principle.

In December 2021, EPA released a summary of dicamba-related incident reports from the 2021 growing season obtained from pesticide registrants, States, the general public, and non-governmental organizations. Despite the control measures implemented in EPA’s October 2020 dicamba registration decision, incidents from the 2021 growing season show little change in number, severity, or geographic extent of dicamba-related incidents when compared to the reports the Agency received before the 2020 control measures were required. EPA received approximately 3,500 dicamba-related incident reports from the 2021 growing season, including approximately 711 incidents reported in Minnesota and 528 incidents reported in Iowa. Additionally, more than 280 incident reports came from counties where additional restrictions are required to protect endangered species when dicamba is applied to dicamba-tolerant soybean and cotton crops, including approximately 34 incident reports in Minnesota and 69 in Iowa.

Based on prior research and numerous stakeholder meetings, EPA has reason to believe the number of incidents reported significantly understates the actual number of incidents related to dicamba use. For example, in a 2020 memo, EPA estimated that one in 25 dicamba incidents was reported to EPA. No evidence available to EPA suggests that underreporting has changed.

Given the incident information obtained from the 2021 growing season, EPA is reviewing whether over-the-top dicamba can be used in a manner that does not pose unreasonable risks to non-target crops and other plants, or to listed species and their designated critical habitats. EPA is also evaluating all of its options for addressing future dicamba-related incidents.

As EPA considers the regulatory tools available to further address dicamba-related incidents, the Agency continues to work with states and registrants to assess and implement additional restrictions. If a state wishes to further restrict or narrow the over-the-top uses of dicamba, it may use FIFRA section 24(a) to do so, or like this action, it may work with registrants to submit a label amendment containing state-specific restrictions for EPA approval.

To view the label amendments, visit docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2020-0492 at www.regulations.gov.

Background on Dicamba

In 2017 and again in 2018, EPA amended the registrations of all over-the-top dicamba products following reports that growers had experienced crop damage and economic losses resulting from the off-site movement of dicamba. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated the 2018 registrations in June 2020 on the basis that “EPA substantially understated risks that it acknowledged and failed entirely to acknowledge other risks.” Days after the court’s decision, EPA issued cancellation orders for the affected products that addressed existing stocks. Additionally, the 2018 decision was the focus of an Inspector General report.

In October 2020, EPA issued new registrations for two dicamba products and extended the registration of an additional dicamba product. These registration decisions were made with some input of EPA’s career scientists and managers and were expected to address the risk concerns noted by the Ninth Circuit. All three registrations included new measures that the Agency expected would prevent off-target movement and damage to non-target crops and other plants.

EPA Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Further Extend Certification of Pesticide Applicators Rule Deadline

This original announcement was published by the EPA on February 7, 2022. Click here for more information.

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule seeking public comment on the need to extend the deadline up to but no longer than November 4, 2024 for states, territories, tribes and federal agencies with existing certification plans to comply with the updated federal standards under the 2017 Certification of Pesticide Applicators rule.

The 2017 Certification of Pesticide Applicators final rule set stronger standards for people who apply restricted use pesticides (RUPs) and required that states, territories, tribes and federal agencies with existing certification plans submit proposed modifications by March 4, 2020, to comply with the updated federal standards. In December 2021, EPA issued an interim final rule extending the existing plans’ expiration deadline from March 4, 2022, to November 4, 2022, due to the impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the complexity of plans, and the need for careful review of program-specific issues and questions.

EPA is requesting comments on the potential need to further extend the expiration date of existing certification plans which would allow for certifying authorities that need more time to respond to EPA comments and prepare approvable certification plans. Also, EPA will have more time to work with the certifying authorities to assure that their proposed certification plan modifications meet current federal standards without interruption to Federal, State, territory, and tribal certification programs or to those who are certified to use RUPs under those programs.

EPA has reviewed all proposed plan modifications and is making progress on sending agency comments to certifying authorities (states, territories, tribes and other federal agencies). To date, EPA has completed 55 final reviews of the 68 plans submitted by certifying authorities.

Comments submitted on the interim final rule and on this proposed rule will be used to inform a further extension. The comment period for the proposed rule is open for 30 days in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2021-0831 at www.regulations.gov.

EPA Requires Cancellation of Pentachlorophenol to Protect Human Health

This original announcement was published by the EPA on February 4, 2022. Click here for more information.

 

Today, EPA issued a final registration review decision requiring the cancellation of pentachlorophenol, a wood preservative used primarily on utility poles. During the registration review process, EPA found that given the emergence of viable alternatives, the risks pentachlorophenol poses to workers’ health outweigh the benefits of its use.

Following EPA’s March 2021 proposal to cancel pentachlorophenol, for which the Agency held a 60-day comment period, this final decision concludes EPA’s registration review of pentachlorophenol and initiates the process of risk mitigation which in this case consists of cancellation. After two years, pentachlorophenol will no longer be manufactured, sold, or distributed in the United States.

EPA’s action aligns the United States with the United Nations’ Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants Annex A listing of pentachlorophenol, which generally requires Parties to the Convention to eliminate its production, use, import, and export. Alternatives to pentachlorophenol include copper naphthenate and DCOIT, along with well-established wood preservatives such as chromated arsenicals and creosote.

The complete phase-out of pentachlorophenol will be conducted over five years and is intended to ensure stability within the utility pole industry by giving wood treaters time to switch to alternative wood preservatives. For the next two years, registrants may continue to produce, sell, and distribute wood preservatives containing pentachlorophenol while wood treatment facilities transition to alternatives. After February 2024, wood treatment facilities will be allowed to use their existing stocks of pentachlorophenol to produce treated wood for an additional three years.

Registrants are required to submit voluntary cancellation requests to the Agency within 60 days of the publication of the final registration review decision. The Agency will then begin the cancellation process by publishing a notice of receipt of these requests in the Federal Register and opening a 30-day public comment period.

To read EPA’s final decision, see docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0653 at regulations.gov.

EPA Expands Pesticide Outreach and Education to Better Meet the Needs of Pesticide Applicators, including Farmworkers, and Consumers

This original announcement was published by the EPA on February 1, 2022. Click here for more information.

 

Kicks off Fifth Annual National Pesticide Safety Education Month with new Spanish-language Pesticide Safety Videos for Farmworkers

In 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 our homes. Throughout the year, EPA provides resources and takes action to protect the well-being of all those who may come in contact with pesticides, from consumers who use disinfectants in their homes to pesticide handlers and farmworkers who work with and around pesticides in the fields.

“EPA is pleased to participate in National Pesticide Safety Education Month because providing tailored resources for farmworkers and other pesticide applicators is critical for ensuring that pesticides are responsibly used,” said Ya-Wei (Jake) Li, EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Deputy Assistant Administrator for Pesticide Programs. “Additionally, EPA continues to provide education and outreach on pesticide safety, particularly on disinfectants, to help consumers choose the right product for their needs and use that product safely.”

EPA’s Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) aims to prevent and reduce pesticide poisonings and injuries among agricultural workers and pesticide handlers, an effort propelled by making pesticide safety information accessible in several languages. Through a producer and syndicator of Spanish-language educational content, EPA developed public service announcements to help farmworkers reduce take-home pesticide exposure. EPA now offers a Spanish-language video (available in two lengths) that is based on learning from focus groups comprised of migrant and seasonal farm workers. The videos emphasize the importance of handwashing when working in agricultural areas where pesticides may be used. The videos have already been viewed more than 89,000 times and have reached over 82,000 users on social media. Watch the videos: El Factor Invisible and El Factor Invisible – Extended Version.

EPA is also proud to support numerous successful efforts and programs that help the public every day, including:

  • Responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency – EPA continues to provide helpful consumer tips and outreach on the best cleaning and disinfectant practices. These efforts included an informative video on how to use EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus to find approved products for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The Agency has successfully reviewed and approved more than 500 surface disinfectant products to ensure American businesses, families, schools, and other organizations have as many tools as possible to disinfect surfaces during the pandemic.
  • Increasing access to pesticide safety information – EPA supports programs like the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC), which provides objective, science-based information about pesticides and pesticide-related topics to enable people to make informed decisions. NPIC addresses current and emerging pesticide-related issues through their pesticides hotline with pesticide specialists answering calls from the public in over 240 languages. The site, which provides free federal, state, and local resources, receives around 8 million views per year.
  • Creating culturally relevant resources – EPA uses focus group research to produce a variety of creative, multicultural, language outreach materials. These include radio spots, newsletter ads, posters and more that raise awareness of worker protection under the WPS. The radio spots have reached farmworkers and their families in more than 75 geographical markets across the U.S., reaching an audience of approximately 25 million people. These radio messages included information on how farmworkers and pesticide handlers can reduce occupational exposure to pesticides, what to do if exposed, and how to mitigate illness and injury.
  • Supporting Pesticide Safety Education Programs (PSEPs) – PSEPs teach pesticide safety across the country to workers and target communities. EPA supports PSEPs to provide workshops and educational tools to approximately 825,000 certified pesticide applicators in a variety of languages and help them meet certification requirements. PSEPs reach an additional 2 million people, including pesticide educators, farmworkers, and inner-city and rural communities. Find a program near you.
  • Furthering pesticide-related outreach – EPA funds several projects that advance pesticide safety education. Most recently, EPA awarded a five-year cooperative agreement to the University of California-Davis, in partnership with Oregon State University, for the second phase of the Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (PERC). PERC coordinates development of pesticide-related educational resources that meet national needs. Many new resources were launched through this cooperative agreement including multilingual manuals, pamphlets, webpages, videos and guides for different targeted audiences on how to work with or around pesticides safely. More than 47,000 materials have been distributed.

The Agency also expects to release another grant opportunity later this month to increase the reach and scope of pesticide safety educational programs. Learn more today about pesticide safety by visiting https://www.epa.gov/pesticides.

EPA Releases New Calculator and Updated Data for Occupational Pesticide Seed Treatment Exposure

This original message was published by the EPA on January 19, 2022. Click here for more information.

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a new calculator and updated worker exposure data used to assess occupational safety for new seed treatment pesticides, new seed treatment uses of registered pesticides, and existing seed treatment pesticides currently undergoing review.

The new calculator provides an estimate of exposure and risk based on seed treatment exposure scenarios, exposure routes, and applicable personal protective equipment (PPE). It uses the most recent and robust exposure data available to EPA. Users of the calculator can observe how different inputs can affect occupational seed treatment exposures and risks by entering different seed treatment application rates and by reviewing the outputs at differing levels of PPE.

The updated worker exposure data released today include new exposure estimates based on studies from the Agricultural Handler Exposure Task Force (AHETF) that monitored dermal and inhalation exposure for workers in commercial seed treatment facilities, for workers conducting on-farm seed treatment, and for workers loading and planting treated seed. The updated exposure values are the result of a multi-year effort on the part of the AHETF and EPA to review available seed treatment data to ensure the final dataset represents modern seed treatment processes and equipment and allows for more robust data analysis.

By using more recent and robust exposure data, the public and stakeholders will have more confidence and certainty in occupational pesticide seed treatment risks assessments. Additionally, the standardized data provides the agency with more efficiency in completing risk assessments and ensure transparency to the public and affected stakeholders.

EPA’s updated worker exposure data and calculator will help state and local governments, pesticide manufacturers, academics, and others evaluate the potential for health effects to a person who might be exposed to pesticides as part of their work.

Separately, the agency is currently developing a response to a petition submitted by the Center for Food Safety regarding treated seed. This update to the occupational pesticide seed treatment exposure data and calculator does not affect the ongoing review or response to the petition.

Learn more about the calculator and how EPA assesses pesticide risks on our website.

EPA Releases New Calculator and Updated Data for Occupational Pesticide Seed Treatment Exposure

This original announcement was published by the EPA on January 19, 2022. Click here for more information. 

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a new calculator and updated worker exposure data used to assess occupational safety for new seed treatment pesticides, new seed treatment uses of registered pesticides, and existing seed treatment pesticides currently undergoing review.

The new calculator provides an estimate of exposure and risk based on seed treatment exposure scenarios, exposure routes, and applicable personal protective equipment (PPE). It uses the most recent and robust exposure data available to EPA. Users of the calculator can observe how different inputs can affect occupational seed treatment exposures and risks by entering different seed treatment application rates and by reviewing the outputs at differing levels of PPE.

The updated worker exposure data released today include new exposure estimates based on studies from the Agricultural Handler Exposure Task Force (AHETF) that monitored dermal and inhalation exposure for workers in commercial seed treatment facilities, for workers conducting on-farm seed treatment, and for workers loading and planting treated seed. The updated exposure values are the result of a multi-year effort on the part of the AHETF and EPA to review available seed treatment data to ensure the final dataset represents modern seed treatment processes and equipment and allows for more robust data analysis.

By using more recent and robust exposure data, the public and stakeholders will have more confidence and certainty in occupational pesticide seed treatment risks assessments. Additionally, the standardized data provides the agency with more efficiency in completing risk assessments and ensure transparency to the public and affected stakeholders.

EPA’s updated worker exposure data and calculator will help state and local governments, pesticide manufacturers, academics, and others evaluate the potential for health effects to a person who might be exposed to pesticides as part of their work.

Separately, the agency is currently developing a response to a petition submitted by the Center for Food Safety regarding treated seed. This update to the occupational pesticide seed treatment exposure data and calculator does not affect the ongoing review or response to the petition.

Learn more about the calculator and how EPA assesses pesticide risks on our website.

EPA Renews Enlist Product Registrations with New Control Measures, Providing Growers with Certainty for the 2022 Growing Season

This original announcement was published by the EPA on January 11, 2022. Click here for more information. 

 

Today, EPA is issuing seven-year registrations for two herbicide products, Enlist Duo and Enlist One, to ensure growers have access to effective pesticide tools for the 2022 growing season. The new product labels, which incorporate robust control measures to protect non-target plants and animals, meet Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) standards and comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Enlist Duo and Enlist One are herbicides used to control weeds in conventional and genetically-modified corn, cotton, and soybean crops. Both products, registered in 2014 and 2017, respectively, were set to expire in January 2022 if the Agency did not renew their product registrations. Based on EPA’s thorough analysis of scientific data, evaluation of cost-benefit information, and discussions with industry stakeholders, the Agency has determined that Enlist products, with the new protective measures in place, should remain available to most American farmers.

To evaluate the proposed uses of the Enlist products, EPA evaluated the potential effects of these products on federally threatened or endangered (listed) species, and their designated critical habitats, and initiated ESA consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

EPA determined that the use of Enlist Duo and Enlist One are likely to adversely affect listed species but will not lead to jeopardy of listed species or to the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitats. EPA also anticipates that the new protective measures will reduce the potential for “take.”

In addition to EPA’s effects determination, EPA also completed a comprehensive ecological risk assessment that assessed the risks of 2,4-D choline salt (2,4-D), an active ingredient in both Enlist products, and glyphosate dimethylammonium salt (glyphosate), an active ingredient in Enlist Duo.

EPA’s ecological assessment found direct risks to non-listed and listed plants from pesticide runoff (i.e., pesticide carried off the application site following rainfall or irrigation) and risks to animals that rely on these affected plants for diet or habitat, including non-listed and listed animals and some designated critical habitats. EPA’s ecological assessment also found direct effects to bees and listed species that use corn, cotton, and soybean fields for diet and/or habitat.

Based on these findings, EPA is requiring the implementation of a variety of protective measures as a condition of the product registrations. Some of the protective measures EPA is taking include:

  • Prohibiting Enlist product application when rainfall is expected to occur within 48 hours and when soil can no longer absorb water;
  • Prohibiting irrigation that would result in runoff within 48 hours of application of the Enlist herbicide products;
  • Requiring users to select from a list of runoff reduction measures to reduce 2,4-D and glyphosate concentrations in runoff, while also providing users with flexibility;
  • Minimizing Enlist product application when soybean and cotton crops are in bloom to reduce risks to insect pollinators, such as honey bees; and
  • Requiring the registrant to develop and provide mandatory education and training materials that emphasize the importance of pollinators and pollinator habitat for species including, but not exclusive to, monarch butterflies.

EPA will also be prohibiting the use of Enlist Duo and Enlist One in counties where EPA identified risks to on-field listed species that use corn, cotton or soybean fields for diet and/or habitat. EPA does not expect this measure to disrupt the use of Enlist products for most American farmers—the counties where use will be prohibited by these new measures represents approximately three percent of corn acres, eight percent of cotton acres, and two percent of soybean acres nationally.

The “likely to adversely affect” (LAA) determination means that EPA reasonably expects that at least one individual animal or plant, among a variety of listed species, may be exposed to the pesticide at a sufficient level to have an effect, which will be adverse. The LAA threshold for a Biological Evaluation (BE) is very sensitive because the likely “take” of even one individual of a species, which includes unintentional harm or death, triggers an LAA determination. This is the case even if a species is almost recovered to a point where it no longer needs to be listed. As a result, there is a high number of “may affect” and LAA determinations in these BEs. An LAA determination, however, does not necessarily mean that a pesticide is putting a species in jeopardy. Jeopardy determinations will be made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service in the course of formal consultation that evaluates any effects of the pesticides on entire species.

To view the final registration for Enlist Duo and Enlist One, go to docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2021-0957.

To learn more about Enlist Duo and Enlist One, read EPA’s Q&A.

EPA Proposes Rule to Improve Several Pesticide Crop Groupings

This original announcement was published by the EPA on January 11, 2022. Click here for more information.

 

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is opening a 60-day comment period requesting public comments on the sixth proposed rule in an ongoing series of revisions to the pesticide crop grouping regulations.

Crop groups are established when residue data for certain representative crops are used to establish pesticide tolerances for a group of crops that are botanically or taxonomically related. EPA sets these tolerances, which are the maximum amount of a pesticide allowed to remain in or on a food, as part of the process of regulating pesticides that may leave residues in food.

Specifically, EPA is proposing to amend Crop Group 6: Legume Vegetables; Crop Group 7: Foliage of Legume Vegetables; Crop Group 15: Cereal Grains; and Crop Group 16: Forage, Fodder, and Straw of Cereal Grains. The proposed rule includes changes to the terminology in the names of Crop Groups 6, 7 and 16, and the addition of commodities and modifications that increase efficiencies in assessing the risks of pesticides used on crops grown in and outside of the United States. The crop groups will now include certain minor or specialty crops, many of which have become more popular since the crop groups were first established.

With these revisions, EPA seeks to:

  • Enhance the Agency’s ability to conduct food safety evaluations for tolerance-setting purposes;
  • Promote global harmonization of food safety standards;
  • Reduce regulatory burden; and
  • Ensure food safety for agricultural goods.

The comment period for the proposed rule will be open in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2006-0766 at www.regulations.gov.

Federal Interagency Working Group to Hold Public Meeting on Endangered Species Pesticide Issues

This original announcement was published on January 6, 2022. Click here for more information.

 

A federal interagency working group (IWG) is holding a public listening session on January 27, 2022, to hear stakeholder perspectives on improving the Endangered Species Act (ESA) section 7 consultation process for federal pesticide decisions. At the listening session, the IWG is seeking perspectives on three questions:

  • How could pesticide mitigation measures for ESA species be adopted and implemented in a timely and effective manner?
  • What are other priority actions the IWG should consider pursuing to improve the pesticide consultation process?
  • What future opportunities, if any, should the IWG consider for stakeholder engagement?

Members of the public may register to speak on any or all of the questions. The IWG will use the registration information to allocate the amount of time per speaker.

The IWG, created under the 2018 Farm Bill, consists of five federal agencies: The White House Council on Environmental Quality, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of the Interior, and Environmental Protection Agency. The IWG is charged with identifying and implementing improvements to the pesticide consultation process, including by engaging with stakeholders. The upcoming listening session is one way the IWG is fulfilling our duty to stakeholders.

Logistics

The January 27, 2022 meeting will be held via webinar from 1:00 – 3:00 PM (ET). A meeting link and agenda will be sent to everyone who registers for the event.

Register Now

Members of the public may register to speak at the meeting on any or all of the three questions by indicating which question(s) they want to speak on. Please register to speak by 5:00 PM (ET) January 20, 2022. Attendees who do not wish to speak at the meeting can select the “Attend and listen-only” option.

EPA Releases Summary of Dicamba-Related Incident Reports from the 2021 Growing Season

This original announcement was published by the EPA on December 22, 2021. Click here for more information.

Today, as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to transparency and scientific integrity, the Agency is providing a summary of dicamba-related incident reports from the 2021 growing season obtained from pesticide registrants, States, the general public, and non-governmental organizations.

Dicamba is an herbicide used to control certain types of broadleaf weeds. Some dicamba products can be sprayed over-the-top of genetically engineered soybeans and cotton after the crops have emerged from the ground. This use has been subject to considerable controversy, including the 2020 vacatur of the Agency’s 2018 dicamba registrations and the 2021 EPA Inspector General report on the 2018 dicamba decision, both of which noted the Agency’s failure to fully disclose and address risks of which it was aware.

Despite the control measures implemented in EPA’s October 2020 dicamba registration decision, the 2021 incident reports show little change in number, severity, or geographic extent of dicamba-related incidents when compared to the reports the Agency received before the 2020 control measures were required. EPA received approximately 3,500 dicamba-related incident reports from the 2021 growing season indicating that:

  • More than one million acres of non-dicamba-tolerant soybean crops were allegedly damaged by off-target movement of dicamba;
  • A range of non-target agricultural crops were allegedly affected by dicamba, such as sugarbeets, rice, sweet potatoes, peanuts, and grapes;
  • Dicamba allegedly damaged non-agricultural plants and trees, such as those that grow near homes and in wild areas, including a 160,000-acre wildlife refuge; and
  • More than 280 incident reports came from counties where additional restrictions are required to protect endangered species when dicamba is applied to dicamba-tolerant soybean and cotton crops.

Based on prior research and numerous stakeholder meetings, EPA has reason to believe the number of incidents reported significantly understates the actual number of incidents related to dicamba use. For example, in a 2020 memo, EPA estimated that one in 25 dicamba incidents was reported to EPA. No evidence available to EPA suggests that underreporting has changed.

Given the new information from the 2021 growing season, EPA is reviewing whether over-the-top dicamba can be used in a manner that does not pose unreasonable risks to non-target crops and other plants, or to listed species and their designated critical habitats. EPA is also evaluating all of its options for addressing future dicamba-related incidents. The regulatory tools that the Agency could use to address the extent and severity of the alleged dicamba-related incidents are unlikely to be fully implemented by the 2022 growing season due to the statutory processes the Agency is required to follow.

However, EPA is committed to helping states address issues related to incidents in their jurisdictions. If a state wishes to further restrict or narrow the over-the-top uses of dicamba, the Agency will work with them to support their goals. Additionally, due to the extent and severity of reported incidents from the 2021 growing season, EPA is unlikely to approve section 24(c) requests under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to register additional uses of federally registered over-the-top dicamba products to meet special local needs.

EPA’s decisions will continue to be informed by information submitted by, as well as discussions with, scientists, academics, state agriculture extension agents, pesticide registrants, growers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials, and the State FIFRA Research and Evaluation Group. The Agency is committed to acting in a transparent manner, following well established regulatory processes, while upholding its mission of protecting human health and the environment.

To view the report and supporting documents, visit docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2020-0492 at www.regulations.gov.

Background on Dicamba

In 2017 and again in 2018, EPA amended the registrations of all over-the-top dicamba products following reports that growers had experienced crop damage and economic losses resulting from the off-site movement of dicamba. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated the 2018 registrations in June 2020 on the basis that “EPA substantially understated risks that it acknowledged and failed entirely to acknowledge other risks.” Days after the court’s decision, EPA issued cancellation orders for the affected products that addressed existing stocks. An investigation by EPA’s Office of the Inspector General later found that EPA’s 2018 decision was influenced by political considerations and that senior management had changed career scientists’ analyses and conclusions without documented reasons, resulting in risks not being fully addressed.

In October 2020, EPA issued new registrations for two dicamba products and extended the registration of an additional dicamba product. These registration decisions were made with some input of EPA’s career scientists and managers, and were expected to address the risk concerns noted by the Ninth Circuit.  All three registrations included new measures that the Agency expected would prevent off-target movement and damage to non-target crops and other plants.

Regulatory Process

Registrants can propose voluntary measures to amend their labels or cancel specific products or uses.

If EPA determines, following consideration of such a proposal, that such measures would address unreasonable adverse effects associated with the product or use, the Agency commits to conducting a public comment period prior to the adoption of any proposed decision designed to address the extent and severity of these incidents. In the absence of a voluntary request to cancel the product(s), it is unlikely that this process could occur and be fully implemented before the 2022 growing season. For more information see: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/voluntary-cancellation-pesticide-product-or-use.

If EPA determines that it is necessary to initiate cancellation of a registration for a pesticide, the following process is used: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-tolerances/pesticide-cancellation-under-epas-own-initiative.