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EPA Approves Emergency Exemption for Surface Coating that Continuously Kills COVID-19

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

 

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved emergency exemption requests from Georgia, Utah, and Minnesota, allowing BIAXAM, a supplemental residual surface coating. EPA is issuing an emergency exemption for BIAXAM to be used in Delta Air Lines planes and facilities in those three states.

BIAXAM is an adhesive film that can be applied by trained applicators to a range of hard, non-porous surfaces like gate counters, seat backs, overhead storage, and touch screens. Laboratory testing data submitted by the applicant indicates that BIAXAM kills 99.999% of SARS-CoV-2 particles that land on the film within two hours. Based on differences in cleaning and disinfection frequency and protocols used in airport terminals vs. airplanes, it remains effective for up to 100 days on airport surfaces and up to 200 days on airplane surfaces.

Recent information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that the risk of being infected with COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces is considered low. This product serves as an additional tool in limited use situations to aid in the fight against the virus and does not replace routine cleaning and disinfection. Always follow CDC, state, and local public health guidelines.

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

 Learn more about the risk of surface transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

EPA Releases Analysis of Groundwater Model for Public Comment

This original announcement was published by the EPA on April 16, 2021. Click here for more information.

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing its Analysis of Subsurface Metabolism in Groundwater Modeling for public comment. This report evaluates assumptions used in Pesticide in Water Calculator groundwater modeling, which EPA developed to estimate pesticide concentrations in vulnerable groundwater sources and is used in human dietary risk assessments.

EPA will take comments on the Analysis for 45 days, starting on April 15, 2021. You can submit comments online in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2021-0241 at www.regulations.gov. EPA will carefully consider public input when evaluating whether changes in the methodology for estimating pesticides concentrations in groundwater are necessary.

To learn more about the Pesticide in Water Calculator, visit our website at https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-science-and-assessing-pesticide-risks/about-water-exposure-models-used-pesticide#przmgw.

EPA Releases Final Biological Evaluations of Carbaryl and Methomyl’s Impacts on Endangered Species

This original announcement was published by the EPA on March 31, 2021. Click here for more.

 

EPA is taking the next step in its regulatory review of carbaryl and methomyltwo insecticides used on a variety of food and feed crops. Carbaryl is also registered for residential uses, in areas like home gardens and lawns.

After carefully considering public comments on the draft biological evaluations (BEs) for carbaryl and methomyl, today, EPA is releasing its final BEs, which find that these insecticides are “likely to adversely affect” a number of threatened and endangered species and their designated critical habitats.

Since the findings of the BEs include potential adverse effects on listed species, EPA will need to engage in formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services) to further study these potential impacts and possibly propose mitigation measures for vulnerable species. EPA’s final BEs are being submitted to the Services to begin this process. EPA is also considering additional mitigation measures, including prioritizing mitigation measures for certain vulnerable species while in consultation with the Services.

Biological evaluations are the beginning of EPA’s Endangered Species Act consultation review process for pesticides. EPA followed its March 2020 Revised Method for National Level Listed Species Biological Evaluations of Conventional Pesticides to conduct this biological evaluation. In order to make its “likely to adversely affect” determination, EPA evaluated whether an individual of a listed species is “reasonably expected” to be exposed to the pesticide at a sufficient level that it will have an effect, and whether that effect will be adverse.

The Services will use this information to develop their biological opinions to determine if the pesticides jeopardize the continued existence of any of the listed species and whether there is adverse modification to their critical habitats. If jeopardy or adverse modification is determined, the Services, with input from EPA and the registrants, will propose protection measures as appropriate. Protection measures would be designed to reduce potential harm to listed species or their critical habitat.

To read the biological evaluations, please visit our webpage.

EPA Celebrates National Farmworker Awareness Week

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

 

From March 25 to March 31, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) celebrates National Farmworker Awareness Week to recognize the more than two million agricultural workers that help feed our families.

The health and safety of America’s farmworker communities is a priority for EPA. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring agricultural workers and pesticide handlers are provided with access to information and health protections similar to those already afforded to workers in other industries.

EPA provides resources and conducts initiatives to protect the well-being of farmworkers and their communities, including:

  • Worker protection: EPA implements programs and regulations that are critical to the protection of farmworkers. EPA’s Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) aims to prevent and reduce pesticide poisonings and injuries among agricultural workers and pesticide handlers. Less pesticide exposure means a healthier workforce and fewer lost wages, medical bills, and absences from work.
  • Information accessibility: EPA’s WPS also requires that pesticide safety information be approachable and displayed for workers during their working hours. To increase accessibility, EPA developed new pesticide safety posters in multiple languages. The new WPS posters are available on  EPA’s Worker Protection Standards Materials webpage.
  • Risk management: EPA scientists thoroughly review pesticide data to determine possible risk to human health and the environment, ensuring that if risks of concern to workers are identified, risk management measures are put in place.
  • Safety training: EPA awards grants to fund projects to educate pesticide applicators, handlers and farmworkers on working safely with, and around, pesticides. Most recently, EPA awarded a five-year cooperative agreement in the amount of $2,500,000 to the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP) to support the National Farmworker Training Program. Through its previous 2015-2020 cooperative agreement with EPA, AFOP trained 184,000 farmworkers on pesticide safety.
  • Community and rural outreach: The agency’s cooperative agreements help increase the reach and scope of pesticide safety educational programs and ensure tailored outreach to farmworkers and their families in rural agricultural areas. This summer, EPA plans to award an estimated $1.2 million annually through a five-year cooperative agreement to fund outreach projects that support and promote safe pesticide use including community-based projects that focus on reaching farmworkers, agricultural pesticide handlers, their families and communities.

To learn more about EPA’s efforts to protect farmworkers, pesticide handlers and their families, visit EPA’s Occupational Pesticide Safety and Health homepage.

EPA Addresses Ecological Risks Posed by Four Pyridines and Pyrimidines Herbicides

This original announcement was published by the EPA on March 18, 2021. Click here for more information.

 

Today, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing a proposed interim decision for picloram and interim decisions for clopyralid, dithiopyr and triclopyr to address ecological risks.

The interim decision (ID) for dithiopyr finalizes enforceable mitigation measures to address spray drift risks of concern. The IDs for clopyralid and triclopyr finalize enforceable mitigation measures to address potential residues in compost in addition to spray drift. The compost mitigation measures for clopyralid and triclopyr include label language focusing on:

  • Reducing compost contamination by prohibiting off-site composting of treated plant matter and manure from grazing animals until residues have adequately declined (both clopyralid and triclopyr);
  • Requiring pasture and turf applicators to notify the property owners/operators of the compost prohibition, and for the applicator to keep a record of this notification for two year (clopyralid only);
  • Requiring registrants to participate in a stewardship program and provide educational outreach for those affected by herbicide residues in compost (clopyralid only); and,
  • Removal of residential use on turf language from all labels (clopyralid only).

In addition to the IDs, EPA is also releasing the proposed interim decision (PID) for picloram for public comment. The PID for picloram proposes mitigation similar to the mitigation measures in the clopyralid ID.

Interim registration review decisions impose risk mitigation measures necessary to protect the environment pending additional assessments including an endangered species assessment.

The pyridines and pyrimidines are a class of herbicides used to control broadleaf weeds, woody brush and aquatic plants in both agricultural and non-agricultural settings that vary among the herbicides. Agricultural use sites include grains, fruits, vegetables and other crops. Non-agricultural use sites include turf, industrial areas, roadsides and other non-agricultural sites.

Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, the IDs will be available in docket numbers EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0167 (clopyralid), EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0750 (dithiopyr) and EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0576 (triclopyr) and the PID will be available for a 60-day public comment period in docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0740 (picloram) at www.regulations.gov.

After reviewing and considering the public comments received on the proposed interim decision for picloram, EPA will proceed with the registration review process and issue the picloram ID.

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) requires EPA to periodically review pesticides to ensure that risk assessments reflect the best available science. The proposed interim decision and interim decisions are part of a multi-step process to identify risks as well as actions that can mitigate risks.

Additional information on the pyridine and pyrimidine herbicides proposed and interim decisions can be found on EPA’s website.

EPA Takes Action to Protect Public Health by Proposing Cancellation of Pentachlorophenol

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

 

In support of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to making evidence-based decisions to protect human health, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking an important step by proposing the cancellation of the registration of pentachlorophenol. Pentachlorophenol is a heavy-duty wood preservative used primarily on utility poles.

After completing a risk assessment, EPA determined that pentachlorophenol poses significant human health risks to workers. To address this issue, EPA is proposing to cancel all uses of pentachlorophenol through the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) registration review process. The agency will accept public comments on this proposed interim decision (PID) for 60 days in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0653 at regulations.gov.

EPA’s proposed action would align the United States with the United Nation’s Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, which has banned the use of pentachlorophenol. EPA has worked with industry stakeholders to identify a number of viable, safer alternatives such as copper naphthenate and DCOIT, along with well-established wood preservatives such as chromated arsenicals and creosote.

This proposed interim decision (PID) is the next step in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) registration review process that EPA conducts at least every 15 years. After considering any comments concerning the PID, EPA will issue an interim decision, which would finalize the cancelation of pentachlorophenol.

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.