EPA Seeking Public Comment on Petition Related to Seresto Pet Collars

This original announcement was published by the EPA on July 13, 2021. Click here for more information.

 

As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) work to address concerns raised about pet collars, the agency is asking for public comment on a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity requesting that the agency cancel the registration of insecticide product PNR1427, more commonly known by its brand name Seresto (EPA Registration No. 11556-155), and to suspend the registration pending cancellation. Seresto is a brand name for dog and cat collars designed to kill fleas, ticks, and lice and contains the active ingredients flumethrin and imidacloprid.

EPA understands and shares the public’s concerns about reported incidents with Seresto pet collars. The agency is working to gather information about these incidents and will use this information to determine whether these pet collars still meet the legally required safety standard for registration under FIFRA.

To that end, in April 2021, EPA wrote to Elanco and Bayer, the current and previous holders of the registration at issue, requesting additional information on incidents to better characterize the nature and scale of the incident reports. The information EPA requested was more extensive than standard reporting practices yield.

EPA has received the requested data and will use this information, along with any relevant information received during the public comment on this petition, to determine if any additional action is needed.

The agency encourages pet owners to discuss with their veterinarian when flea and tick control is needed for their pets and which type of control product they should use. Pet owners should read the entire label before using the recommended product and follow all directions carefully, as well as monitor the pet after treatment.

Consumers whose pet experiences adverse reactions from treatment with a flea and tick product should consult their veterinarian immediately. They should also contact the National Pesticide Information Center, an EPA information-sharing partner that has staff who are specially trained in responding to pesticide exposure incidents, including those involving pets.  For flea and tick collars specifically, pet owners should remove the collar immediately if the pet experiences any adverse reaction. In addition, consumers whose pets experienced an adverse reaction from pet collars or topical treatments should also report the incident on EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/pets.

The public comment period on the petition is now open for 60 days. The petition will soon be available in docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2021-0409 at www.regulations.gov. After carefully considering public input and the requests of the petition, EPA will respond to the petition.

More information on protecting pets from fleas and ticks can be found on EPA’s website.

EPA Takes Action in Response to Supply-Chain Disruptions for Inert Ingredients

This original announcement was published by the EPA on July 3, 2021. Click here for more information. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action to alleviate a supply-chain issue facing the pesticide industry. EPA is allowing registrants of non-antimicrobial pesticide products to substitute some combination of pre-approved alternate inert ingredients for inert ingredients derived from propylene oxide (PO) feedstocks that are in limited supply due to weather events that occurred in the U.S. Gulf Coast in February 2021. EPA is allowing these substitutions even in cases where propylene glycol is added to the formulation or is part of a brand-name mixture in which the full composition is known to the registrant.

The pre-approved alternates are glycerin (CAS Reg. No. 56-81-5), diethylene glycol (CAS Reg. No. 111-46-6), ethylene glycol (CAS Reg No. 107-21-1); and/or 1,3-propanediol (CAS Reg. No. 504-63-2).

This action, known as “Propylene Glycol Phase 2 – ‘Not In-Kind’ Substitution Mechanism,” relates only to non-antimicrobial pesticide products. The agency will handle “not-in-kind” substitutions for antimicrobial pesticide products on a case-by-case basis.

sis.In April 2021, EPA implemented “Propylene Glycol Phase 1 – ‘In-Kind’ Substitution Mechanism,” to allow certain in-kind substitutions to address propylene glycol supply-chain shortages.

These actions require registrants to self-certify that the substitute inert ingredients serve the same function in the product as propylene glycol and that the change will not impact either the validity of any product-specific data submitted in support of the registration or the product’s acute toxicity category or physical/chemical characteristics in a way that would require label modifications. Registrants must also certify that the substitution will not affect the product’s fitness for its intended purposes in terms of efficacy, phytotoxicity, or any other factor.

This action is time limited, extending to December 31, 2021. Any registrants who wish to make the substitution permanent will have to go through the standard amendment process outlined in PRN 98-10.

EPA Proposes Registration of the New Fungicide Ipflufenoquin

This original announcement was published by the EPA on June 25, 2021. Click here for more information. 

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking comments on its proposal to register the new active ingredient ipflufenoquin.

Ipflufenoquin may serve as a beneficial tool in managing several plant diseases, some of which are resistant to other fungicides. Proposed labeling is for scab and powdery mildew on pome fruits, and brown rot blossom blight, shot hole, anthracnose, scab, and Alternaria leaf spot on almond.

EPA’s evaluation included a robust scientific assessment, which was used to conclude that there are no risks of concern for humans. The ecological risk assessment showed there were no risks of concern for any tested non-target, non-listed (i.e., not an endangered or threatened species) organism, including birds, honeybees, and terrestrial plants.

EPA is committed to making progress on protecting endangered species, including conducting analyses and putting mitigations in place earlier in the registration process. For ipflufenoquin, EPA evaluated potential effects to federally endangered or threatened species (“listed species”) and their designated critical habitats.

EPA has determined that iplufenoquin will have no effect on listed species except for listed terrestrial plants and those species that have an obligate relationship (i.e., needed for survival) with a terrestrial plant species. EPA has not yet made a final effects determination for listed terrestrial plants and those listed species that have an obligate relationship and is gathering additional information in order to make this decision.

EPA will accept public comments on this proposal via docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2020-0225 at www.regulations.gov for 15 days.

Preventing the spread of airborne disease: Training videos for greenhouse and garden center workers

This original announcement was published by Michigan State University on June 16, 2021. Click here for more information.

 

The floriculture team at Michigan State University Extension, in cooperation with the National Pesticide Safety Education Center (NPSEC), has developed employee training videos for the prevention of airborne disease transmission at greenhouses and garden centers. These videos, funded by the Western Michigan Greenhouse Association (WMGA), can help green industry employers fulfill the need for COVID-19 training requirements as required by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) and keep their workforce prepared in the event of a future widespread airborne disease outbreak.

Video link: Preventing the Spread of Airborne Diseases at Garden Centers
Video link: Preventing the Spread of Airborne Diseases at Greenhouse Production Facilities

Growers can expect these videos to:

Why is this important?

Many will recall the effort put into preparedness for pandemic influenza in the early 2000s. In agriculture, most of this effort was directed toward preventing the spread of influenza in poultry flocks (H5N1, H7N9, H9N2) and swine herds (H1N1, H1N2, H3N2) and addressing mass mortality in the event of an outbreak. As such, there was little to no guidance developed for preventing zoonoses or widespread disease outbreaks among workers. This preparatory shortfall, in combination with the novel nature of the coronavirus, resulted in a situation in which few tools were available to guide the industry on how to implement appropriate preventative measures while maintaining business operations. In short, the industry was largely unprepared to prevent or mitigate the spread COVID-19 within its workforce.

The high-profile failures to contain infectious diseases at agricultural operations exposed a huge weakness and highlights the necessity for our industry to:

  • Be prepared: Have an established plan and be ready to implement should there be a threat of widespread public disease outbreaks.
  • Demonstrate to regulators and public decision-makers that the green industry is fully capable of maintaining business operations while preventing/minimizing the spread of an infectious disease among their workers.

Although presented in the context of the Michigan green industry, these videos were specifically designed for use in greenhouses and garden centers across the United States. The subject matter is general enough to be used for the prevention of a wide range of airborne diseases, ensuring the videos will remain relevant worker training tools for years to come.

Topics covered by the videos:

  • How airborne diseases spread, risks for workplace expose, and how workers can protect themselves (CDC, MIOSHA).
  • Proper handwashing practices and use of hand sanitizer stations (CDC, MIOSHA).
  • Farm-specific social distancing practices (CDC, MIOSHA).
  • Cough and sneeze etiquette (CDC).
  • Other routine infection control precautions: social distancing measures and putting on/taking off masks and gloves (CDC, MIOSHA).
  • Steps to take if workers get sick (CDC, MIOSHA).
  • Employer policies regarding COVID-19 (CDC, MIOSHA).
  • How to report unsafe working conditions (MIOSHA).
  • Working with retail customers who do not follow safety protocols (garden center video only).

Closed captioning is available for both training videos. Spanish versions will be available at a later date. Additional resources for greenhouse and garden center operators can be found at the MSU Extension Floriculture COVID-19 Resource page. Operationally specific questions, clarification inquiries, and requests for assistance with pandemic preparedness plan development can be directed to:

Melissa Millerick-May – MSU Extension Health & Safety Resource
Phone: 517-432-0707
Email: milleric@msu.edu

Jeremy Jubenville – MSU Extension Floriculture and Greenhouse Crop Production
Phone: 269-492-2813
Email: jubenvi3@msu.edu

EPA Accepting Nominations to the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee

This original announcement was published by the EPA on June 23, 2021. Click here for more information.

 

EPA is accepting nominations to serve on the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee (PPDC). The PPDC is a representative federal advisory committee that provides advice and recommendations to EPA on issues associated with pesticide regulatory development and reform initiatives, evolving public policy, program implementation, and science related to evaluating and reducing risks from pesticide use.

To maintain the broad representation outlined in the PPDC charter, EPA is seeking highly qualified candidates with diverse backgrounds and identities representing any of the following groups:

  • Federal, state, local and tribal governments,
  • Pesticide industry and trade associations,
  • Pesticide applicators,
  • Grower and commodity groups,
  • Environmental and public interest groups,
  • Farmworker organizations,
  • Public health organizations,
  • Animal welfare groups, and
  • Academia.

Nominations can be submitted by email with the subject line “PPDC Membership” to jewell.shannon@epa.gov.

Nominations must be sent no later than July 23, 2021.

For additional information, including nomination requirements, please see the June 23, 2021 Federal Register Notice. 

Learn more about the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee.

North Carolina Agromedicine Institute recognized with national designation

This original announcement was published by East Carolina University on June 17, 2021. Click here for more information.

 

The North Carolina Agromedicine Institute has been nationally recognized for an exemplary project by the Engagement Scholarship Consortium.

An inter-institutional partnership among East Carolina UniversityNorth Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and North Carolina State University, the institute collaborates with organizations throughout the state to address the health and safety challenges facing North Carolina farmers, foresters, fishermen, and their families and communities.

The institute’s efforts to provide health care and safety training were recognized at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ Commission on Economic and Community Engagement summer meeting on June 14. The designation has been granted annually to select projects since 2011 by the ESC for outstanding accomplishments in their communities.

Previous recipients of the honor include Purdue University, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Louisville, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, among others.

“To recognize the work of the institute is to acknowledge the importance of health and safety for the people in our state and beyond who work diligently day in and day out to produce food and fiber for the rest of us,” said ECU’s Robin Tutor Marcom, director of the North Carolina Agromedicine Institute. “We are honored to serve them and to be able to tell their story.”

 

Click here to continue reading.

 

 

EPA Administrator Regan Signs Proclamation to Mark National Pollinator Week

This original announcement was published by the EPA on June 21, 2021. Click here for more information. 

The agency continues to advance its work to protect pollinators

Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan issued a proclamation in support of National Pollinator Week. This week EPA recognizes the importance of pollinators to America’s food systems and ecosystems and raise awareness about how to promote pollinator health where you live.

“Pollinators are essential for sustaining healthy communities and play a vital role in providing the nation with fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, and more,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Today, I am proud to affirm this agency’s commitment to protecting the more than 200,000 known species of pollinators.”

As part of the agency’s ongoing work to protect pollinators, EPA is reinvigorating its commitment to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Pollinator Partnership. The MOU outlines each party’s role in protecting pollinators such as birds, bats, bees and other insects – all of which are vital to pollinating crops and other plants and supporting a healthy ecosystem. EPA and Pollinator Partnership work together to mitigate the impacts of pesticides to pollinators by promoting safe use of pesticides and best management practices.

EPA is also working to minimize pesticide risks to pollinators by taking steps to improve protections for listed species and their critical habitats under the Endangered Species Act. EPA is undertaking multiple efforts, including identifying mitigations for broad groups of pesticides for certain vulnerable listed species. This is expected to benefit listed pollinator species and plants that rely on pollinators.

Pollinator protection is a collaborative effort that requires action from federal and state agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and individuals. Here are a few steps you can take to protect pollinators in your community:

  • If you use pesticides, always follow label instructions closely. This will help minimize potential harm to pollinators.
  • Practice integrated pest management strategies to limit use of pesticides.
  • Plant native flowers in home, school, or community gardens to support a diversity of pollinator species.
  • Choose plants that allow for continuous bloom to provide pollinators consistent access to food sources.
  • It is possible to create a pollinator habitat almost anywhere, including window boxes, community parks, farms, and roadside corridors.

Learn more today about EPA’s pollinator protection efforts and how you can help pollinators by visiting our website.

EPA Hosts Webinar on Electronic Gold Seal Letter Process for Exporting Pesticides

This original announcement was published by the EPA on June 5, 2021. Click here for more information.

EPA is hosting a webinar geared towards pesticide registrants on June 14, 2021, at 1:00 PM EST, to provide a walkthrough of the Pesticide Submission Portal, the digital platform for requesting Certificates of Registration, commonly known as gold seal letters. These letters serve as proof for pesticide exporters that the product is registered with EPA and meets all necessary registration requirements. Stakeholders interested in attending the presentation can click here to join the online meeting (registration is not required).

Since launching the digital platform in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the electronic process has resulted in quicker processing of the letters and more thorough and complete internal tracking. Due to continuing safety precautions within the agency, EPA is still unable to produce traditional, paper-based gold seal letters. Accordingly, registrants must continue to submit requests through the Pesticide Submission Portal.

For information on how to request a gold seal certificate letter, including information on how registrants should present the letters to the U.S. Department of State when authentication is needed for business purposes, please visit https://www.epa.gov/pria-fees/m006-pria-fee-category.

EPA Proposes Registration of Products Containing Purpureocillium lilacinum strain PL11, a New Microbial Active Ingredient

This original announcement was published by the EPA on June 3, 2021. Click here for more information.

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to register several biopesticide products containing Purpureocillium lilacinum strain PL11, a new microbial active ingredient that controls plant-parasitic nematodes.

These biopesticide products will be used on food crops (i.e., fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices) and non-food crops (i.e., cotton, tobacco and turf) in agricultural and commercial settings. Since some of these products are proposed for use on food crops, a tolerance exemption for pesticide residues will also be established.

EPA’s evaluation included a robust scientific assessment, which was used to conclude that these products, when used according to the label instructions, do not present any risks of concern to human health.

The proposed product labels contain language to address potential adverse effects to nontarget insects and nontarget aquatic invertebrates, including limiting application while bees and other insects are actively visiting the treatment area and instructing applicators to minimize spray drift to reduce exposure to these nontarget organisms.

EPA is accepting public comments on this proposal via docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2016-0079 at www.regulations.gov for 15 days.

EPA Releases Updated Occupational Pesticide Handler and Post-application Exposure Calculators

This original announcement was published by the EPA on May 26, 2021. Click here for more information.

 

EPA has updated the Occupational Pesticide Handler Exposure Calculator and Occupational Pesticide Post-application Exposure Calculator with the latest available data and sources to provide the agency with more efficiency in completing risk assessments and ensuring transparency to the public and affected stakeholders.

EPA uses these tools to carry out risk assessments to make informed decisions when approving new pesticides, new uses of registered pesticides, and during regular reviews of existing pesticides. The updated exposure values are more reflective of actual exposures to occupational pesticide handlers and post-application scenarios, which reduces uncertainty in decisions and serves as the basis for labeling decisions.

The calculators also 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. They provide exposure information for risk assessments based on exposure scenarios, exposure routes, and applicable personal protective equipment.

Updates to the occupational handler calculator include adding new handler exposure estimates from the Agricultural Handler Exposure Task Force (AHETF) that monitored dermal and inhalation exposure for workers using closed systems to load liquid and solid pesticides. The updated exposure values are based on a well-designed recruitment, monitoring, and data analysis efforts and will more accurately represent exposures to occupational pesticide handlers.

The occupational post-application calculator is updated to reflect contemporary agricultural practices and clarify crop-specific activities.

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