EPA Proposes New Safety Measures for Chlorpyrifos

This original announcement was published by the EPA on December 4, 2020. Click here for more information.


EPA is taking the next step in its regulatory review of chlorpyrifos, an insecticide used for a large variety of agricultural uses and non-agricultural uses. Today, EPA is proposing measures to reduce the risks identified in the agency’s September 2020 draft risk assessments to better protect human health and the environment. As outlined in the proposed interim decision (PID), EPA is proposing:

  • Label amendments limiting application to address potential drinking water risks of concern.
  • Additional personal protection equipment and application restrictions to address potential occupational handler risks of concern.
  • Spray drift mitigation, in combination with the use limitations and application restrictions identified to address drinking water and occupational risks, to reduce exposure to non-target organisms.

The PID presents proposed mitigation with the 10-fold (10X) Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) Safety Factor, reflecting the uncertainties around doses that may cause pre- and post-natal neurodevelopmental effects. Under FQPA, EPA evaluates new and existing pesticides to ensure they can be used with a reasonable certainty of no harm to infants, children, and adults. EPA is required to consider the special susceptibility of children to pesticides by using an additional 10X safety factor unless adequate data are available to support a different factor. EPA additionally included a FQPA factor of 1X to reflect the range of potential risk estimates of chlorpyrifos, as illustrated in the September 2020 draft risk assessments.

Upon publication of the PID in the Federal Register, public comments will be accepted for 60 days on both the September 2020 draft risk assessments as well as the PID. By holding the comment period for both of the actions at the same time, the public has access to more information and can provide more informed, robust comments.

EPA will also consider the input and recommendations from the September 2020 FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) meeting once it releases its report in December 2020. Depending on the SAP’s conclusions, EPA may further revise the human health risk assessment. After a thorough review of the best available science and carefully considering scientific peer review and public comments, EPA will then determine next steps in the registration review process for chlorpyrifos.

Read the PID here. Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, public comments will be accepted for 60 days in the chlorpyrifos registration review docket # EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0850 at

Chlorpyrifos registrations to be canceled by California EPA

The original article was published by Vegetable Growers News on May 9, 2019 and can be found here

The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) said May 8 its Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) would ban the use of the pesticide and toxic air contaminant chlorpyrifos in California by canceling the pesticide’s registration.

“California’s action to cancel the registration of chlorpyrifos is needed to prevent the significant harm this pesticide causes children, farm workers and vulnerable communities,” CalEPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld said in a news release. He added that with the cancelation comes the opportunity to develop alternative pest management practices.

The pesticide is an active ingredient in “dozens” of agricultural products used on a number of crops, according to CalEPA. Use of the pesticide in the state dropped more than 50 percent from two million pounds in 2005 to just over 900,000 pounds in 2016. It was banned from residential use in 2001.

Chlorpyrifos has been used as a pesticide since 1965 in both agricultural and non-agricultural areas:

  • The largest agricultural market for chlorpyrifos in terms of total pounds of active ingredient is corn.
  • It is also used on soybeans, grapes, fruit and nut trees, Brussels sprouts, cranberries, broccoli and cauliflower, as well as other row crops.
  • Non-agricultural uses include golf courses, turf, green houses, and on non-structural wood treatments such as utility poles and fence posts. It is also registered for use as a mosquito adulticide, and for use in roach and ant bait stations in child resistant packaging.

Products are sold as liquids, granules, water dispersible granules, wettable powders, and water soluble packets, and may be applied by either ground or aerial equipment.

CalEPA and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) also announced that the Governor will propose $5.7 million in new funding in the May revision budget proposal to support the transition to safer, more sustainable alternatives, and plans to convene a working group to identify, evaluate and recommend alternative pest management solutions.

The decision to ban chlorpyrifos follows recent findings by the state’s independent Scientific Review Panel on Toxic Air Contaminants, that the pesticide causes serious health effects in children and other sensitive populations at lower levels of exposure than previously understood. The effects include impaired brain and neurological development.

In April, chlorpyrifos was formally listed as a “toxic air contaminant.” The listing requires DPR to develop control measures to protect the health of farmworkers and others living and working near where the pesticide is used. DPR determined that sufficient additional control measures are not feasible.

DPR said it would begin the process of canceling the registrations for products containing chlorpyrifos, and at the same time would convene a cross-sector working group to identify safer alternatives to avoid replacing chlorpyrifos with an equally harmful pesticide.

DPR will consult with county agricultural commissioners and local air pollution control districts before filing for cancellation. The cancellation process could take up to two years.

During the cancellation process, DPR’s recommendations to county agricultural commissioners for tighter permit restrictions on the use of chlorpyrifos will remain in place. These include a ban on aerial spraying, quarter-mile buffer zones and limiting use to crop-pest combinations that lack alternatives. DPR will support aggressive enforcement of these restrictions.

DPR and CDFA will convene a cross-sector working group to identify and develop safer and more practical and sustainable alternatives to chlorpyrifos, including the use of biological controls and other integrated pest management practices. They will also partner with growers as they transition from using chlorpyrifos to implement safer alternatives.

In addition, the Governor’s May Revision budget proposal includes millions of dollars for research and technical assistance to support the transition. In combination, the working group and funding for alternatives will produce short-term solutions and prioritize the development of long-term solutions to support healthy communities and a thriving agricultural sector.

“We look forward to working with the Legislature through the budget process on the Governor’s proposal to support growers in the transition to alternative pest management,” CDFA Secretary Karen Ross said in a news release.

Lorsban should be available for 2019 use, MSU finds

The original article comes from Vegetable Growers News. The original link can be found here

Chlorpyrifos – sold under the trade name Lorsban – should be legal to use in fruits and vegetables for 2019. This insecticide is the main or only option for controlling key pests in crops including apples, asparagus, cabbage, cherries, transplanted onions, peaches, radishes, rutabagas, and turnips. Growers have expressed concern given a recent ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that, if it stands, will require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin a Federal Insecticide Fungicide Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) process to revoke all label uses of this product.

In our recent communications with colleagues at the United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), we learned that chlorpyrifos will remain available to use until legal proceedings are finished. This is expected to take time, especially since the EPA has asked for a rehearing of the case before all judges of the 9th Circuit Court.

Dave Epstein of USDA noted, “The 9th Circuit Court has not yet responded, and has given no indication when it will. I see no scenario where Lorsban will not be available for use in 2019, as any cancellation would have to undergo a FIFRA review, and that takes time.”

A contact at MDARD also noted that “even if the 9th Circuit decides not to rehear the case, it’s anticipated that the (Trump) administration will file an appeal with the Supreme Court. I don’t anticipate that this issue will be settled for some time and even if it is, I believe there will be a phase-out process rather than an [immediate] ban.”

It is, of course, impossible to predict exactly what will happen, but the best indications are that chlorpyrifos purchased this winter and spring will be available to use for 2019. We encourage you to keep updated at EPA’s chlorpyrifos website.

– Benjamin WerlingDavid Jones and Zsofia Szendrei, Michigan State University Extension