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EPA Opens Comment Period on Pyridate Proposed Decision

This original announcement was published by the EPA on July 11, 2020. Click here for more!

 

EPA is taking comments on pyridate, a pesticide active ingredient that could help consumers with weed management and resistance.

EPA has opened a 30-day comment period on the Agency’s proposed decision to register one technical product and four end-use products for pyridate, an herbicide that controls various types of broadleaf weeds. Pyridate is proposed for use on weed control related to the growing of vegetables, including cabbage, chickpea (garbanzo bean), collards, field corn, mint and peanuts.

The proposed label for pyridate suggests it could be used on difficult-to-control and economically important weeds such as redroot pigweed and Palmer amaranth. Pyridate might also be important for over-the-top weed control in chickpeas and mint.

EPA has not identified any dietary, residential, aggregate or occupational risks of concern for human health. Based on the ecological assessment, the most notable finding involves larval bees. However, pyridate has a contact activity and is unlikely to move to pollen and nectar sources.  Additionally, none of the proposed crops involve sites where managed bees are used for pollination.

Pyridate was previously registered for use in the United States, but all registrations were cancelled in 2004 for administrative reasons. Tolerances for residues of pyridate were retained, and they will need no adjustments with this proposed registration.

The public comment period for this proposed decision will be open for 30 days, closing on August 10, 2020. Visit https://www.epa.gov/pesticides/open-comment-pesticide-actions-and-documents to read more and submit comments.

EPA takes action to help Americans disinfect indoor spaces efficiently and effectively

This original announcement was published by the EPA on July 7, 2020. Click here for more! 

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action to ensure that Americans are able to disinfect public spaces effectively and efficiently to control SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The newly released guidance outlines what information registrants need to submit in order to expedite the review of requests to add electrostatic sprayer application directions to disinfectant product labels for use against SARS-CoV-2.

“Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces continues to be an effective way to reduce the spread of the virus,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “With this guidance, EPA is ensuring offices, schools, and local governments have access to as many effective and approved surface disinfectant products as possible—including those designed to disinfect large indoor spaces.”

Electrostatic spraying has drawn increased interest through the public health emergency because of the need to disinfect large indoor spaces (e.g., schools, offices, businesses) or areas with many surfaces. Unlike conventional spraying methods, electrostatic sprayers apply a positive charge to liquid disinfectants as they pass through the nozzle. The positively charged disinfectant is attracted to negatively charged surfaces, which allows for efficient coating of hard nonporous surfaces.

EPA’s new guidance covers requests to add electrostatic spraying directions to both new and currently registered disinfectant products—including those on EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2—that require review under Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA). Today’s guidance builds on EPA’s previously announced expedited review of certain submissions for products intended for use against SARS-CoV-2.

When using these products, always follow the directions and safety information on the label. A disinfectant product’s safety and effectiveness may change based on how it is used. If a product’s label does not include disinfection directions for electrostatic spraying, EPA has not reviewed any data on whether the product is safe and effective when used by this method.

EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released updated guidance to help facility operators and families properly clean and disinfect spaces. The guidance provides step-by-step instructions for public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and homes. EPA has compiled a list of disinfectant products, including ready-to-use sprays, concentrates, and wipes, that can be used against COVID-19.

For information on EPA’s efforts to help address the novel coronavirus, visit: https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus.

EPA approves first surface disinfectant products tested on the SARS-CoV-2 virus

This original announcement was published by the EPA on July 7, 2020. Click here for more!

 

Throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has worked to provide the American public with information about how to safely and effectively kill the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, on surfaces. Last week, EPA approved two products, Lysol Disinfectant Spray (EPA Reg No. 777-99) and Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist (EPA Reg No. 777-127), based on laboratory testing that shows the products are effective against SARS-CoV-2.

“EPA is committed to identifying new tools and providing accurate and up-to-date information to help the American public protect themselves and their families from the novel coronavirus,”said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “EPA’s review of products tested against this virus marks an important milestone in President Trump’s all of government approach to fighting the spread of COVID-19.”

Before pesticide products can legally make claims that they can kill a particular pathogen such as SARS-CoV-2, the claim must be authorized by EPA based on a review of data. Because novel viruses are typically not immediately available for laboratory testing, EPA established guidance for Emerging Viral Pathogens.

In January 2020, the agency activated the guidance for the first time in response to the SARS-CoV-2 public health emergency. The guidance allows product manufacturers to provide EPA with data, even in advance of an outbreak, that shows their products are effective against harder-to-kill viruses than SARS-CoV-2. Through this guidance and the agency’s review of newly registered products, EPA’s list of products that meet the agency’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2 (known as List N) includes more than 420 products. In many cases, the agency was able to approve claims in as little as 14 days.

This week, EPA updated the entries for two products on List N to show they have now been tested directly against SARS-CoV-2. These are the first List N products for which the agency has reviewed laboratory testing data and approved label claims against SARS-CoV-2. EPA expects to approve such claims for additional List N products in the coming weeks.

All products on EPA’s List N meet the agency’s criteria for effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2. When using an EPA-registered disinfectant, follow the label directions for safe, effective use. Make sure to follow the contact time, which is the amount of time the surface should be visibly wet. Read the agency’s infographic on how to use these products.

Additional information on EPA’s coronavirus efforts: https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus

EPA Proposes Registration of Nootkatone, A New Active Ingredient in Insect Control

This original announcement was published by the EPA on July 1, 2020. Click here for more! 

EPA is seeking public comment on the proposed registration of a new active ingredient called nootkatone, which was discovered and developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and can be used as an insect repellent. The agency’s proposal adds a new active ingredient that can be used to protect people from biting insects and ticks.

Nootkatone is a naturally occurring substance found in minute quantities in Alaskan yellow cedar trees and grapefruit skin. It is responsible for the characteristic smell and taste of grapefruit and is widely used in the fragrance industry to make perfumes and colognes. Nootkatone is considered a biopesticide, or a pesticide derived from nature.

EPA currently has no applications to register consumer products containing nootkatone. Companies interested in developing insect repellents or insecticides with it as the active ingredient will be required to submit a registration package to EPA for review. Based on registration timeframes under the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act, new products using nootkatone could be available as early as 2022.

To read more about the proposed registration of nootkatone, see docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2018-0122 in www.regulations.gov. The public comment period will be open for 15 days, closing on July 14, 2020.

EPA to Improve the Endangered Species Act Consultation Process for Pesticides

This original announcement was published by the EPA on June 27, 2020. Click here for more!

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in collaboration with federal partners, met a congressional commitment by submitting its second report to Congress highlighting the progress achieved to date with creating a more efficient and effective review process regarding pesticide impacts under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Highlights of the report include:

  • How a new method announced in March 2020 for conducting biological evaluations under the ESA will assure that pesticide registration review actions under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) do not jeopardize endangered species. The updated method ensures that—when available—the agency will use high-quality historical data that reflects where and how certain pesticides are used;
  • How incorporating recent revisions to regulations associated with the ESA consultation process helps with efficiency across agencies; and,
  • What the agencies are doing to improve communications and outreach, and how they are actively soliciting stakeholder feedback and engagement during the consultation process.

The ESA is a proven and critical tool for ensuring the recovery and protection of the nation’s most vulnerable species and habitats. However, for decades EPA’s approach for assessing pesticides risks to endangered species resulted in costly, time-consuming litigation and delays in pesticide registration decision-making.

As directed by Congress through the 2018 Farm Bill, EPA, the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality established an interagency working group (IWG) in 2018 tasked with providing recommendations and implementing a strategy to improve the Endangered Species Act of 1973 consultation process for pesticides.

The first report from the IWG was submitted to Congress on December 2019 and identified several proposals to improve the ESA consultation process for pesticide registration and registration review, plans for implementation of those proposals, and areas of consensus and continuing topics of debate.

EPA Releases Guidance on Pesticide Safety Training Requirements During COVID-19

This original announcement was published by the EPA on June 19, 2020. Click here for more.

We made a correction to a link in this email.

Agricultural workers and pesticide handlers directly support the nation’s agricultural production and food supply and EPA is committed to ensuring they are protected from workplace hazards.

EPA has released guidance regarding the annual pesticide safety training requirements outlined in the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) that offers flexibility during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The Agency is aware that COVID-19 may make it difficult for agricultural employers and handler employers to provide WPS pesticide safety training or hire agricultural workers and pesticide handlers who have been trained in the last 12 months, as required by the WPS.

In response, the guidance aims to inform agricultural employers and handler employers of flexibilities available under the WPS to allow continued protection for employees and agricultural production:

  • EPA encourages in-person training if workplace protections to maintain a healthy work environment are able to be implemented. For example, an employer may be able to provide pesticide safety training outside, in smaller than usual groups with well-spaced participants.
  • Alternatively, WPS training can be presented remotely, provided all WPS training requirements are met.
  • The employer is ultimately responsible for ensuring the training meets all requirements outlined in the WPS. For example, the training must still be presented in a manner the trainees can understand, in an environment reasonably free from distractions, and cover the full training content using EPA-approved training materials.
  • Once the training ends, the employer must document successful completion under a qualified trainer.

To read the guidance in full and to learn more about EPA’s Worker Protection Standard, visit our webpage.

EPA Providing Excess PPE for Fighting COVID

This original announcement was published by the EPA on June 13, 2020. Click here for more

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to transfer an additional 22,000 pieces of excess personal protective equipment (PPE) to emergency and health professionals on the COVID-19 frontlines. The Agency maintains a supply of PPE for mission-critical work such as the laboratory work conducted at EPA’s Environmental Science Center at Fort Meade, Md., as well as responding to emergencies, including chemical, oil, radiological and biological incidents.

“Having sufficient personal protective equipment is crucial for the emergency services personnel and health professionals on the frontlines of combatting COVID-19,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “EPA is making excess PPE available to these responders, and we also stand ready to perform missions we may be called upon to fulfill in this ongoing fight.”

“EPA is committed to ensuring any excess equipment we have on hand be made available to first responders combatting the coronavirus.” said EPA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “We are actively working with FEMA officials to provide what limited quantities of equipment we have to those who need it most.”

“EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention is proud to donate 8,800 pieces of PPE to help protect those who are tirelessly working on the front lines to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. “Whether it is donating PPE, practicing social distancing, or using an EPA-approved disinfectant that is effective against the novel coronavirus, we all have a part to play in this public health emergency.”

EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Office partnered with EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention’s Microbiology and Analytical Chemistry Laboratories to identify excess personal protective equipment after assessing how much equipment would be needed to support EPA’s essential functions. Among the items are protective disposable gloves, eye protection, lab coats and full-body protective coverall suits. EPA will donate excess equipment while still maintaining its emergency response readiness.

About EPA’s Microbiology Laboratory:

The Microbiology Laboratory, located at Fort Meade, Md., is an integral part of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. The laboratory is responsible for the standardization of existing test methods and the development and validation of methods for new uses and emerging pathogens for antimicrobial products with public health claims—products used to kill or suppress the growth of pathogenic microorganisms on inanimate objects and surfaces.

About EPA’s Analytical Chemistry Laboratory:

The Analytical Chemistry Laboratory, located at Fort Meade, Md., also provides EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention with scientific, laboratory, and technical support through chemical analyses of imported products and other materials for pesticides and related chemicals.

To view EPA’s list of disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, visit https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2 .

For information about EPA’s involvement with the COVID-19 response, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Vacates Dicamba Registrations

This original article was published on June 4, 2020 by AgriPulse. You can access the original article here. 

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated the registrations of three dicamba herbicides — Bayer’s Xtendimax, BASF’s Engenia and Corteva’s FeXapan — after finding that EPA substantially understated or failed to consider the social and economic costs.

When it granted conditional registrations in October 2018, “EPA underestimated by as much as 25 percent the amount of DT [dicamba-tolerant] soybeans planted and, commensurately, the amount of dicamba herbicides applied in 2018,” which caused more than 1 million acres of damage in 18 states, the court said in its 56-page decision.

Loss of the herbicides in the middle of growing season will likely find growers scrambling to find alternatives. The court’s decision does not address Tavium, Syngenta’s dicamba herbicide.

We acknowledge the difficulties these growers may have in finding effective and legal herbicides to protect their DT crops if we grant vacatur,” the court said. “They have been placed in this situation through no fault of their own. However, the absence of substantial evidence to support the EPA’s decision compels us to vacate the registrations.”

An EPA spokesperson said it is “currently reviewing the court decision and will move promptly to address the court’s order.”

“EPA recognized that there had been an enormous increase in dicamba complaints in 2017 and 2018, but it purported to be agnostic as to whether those complaints under-reported or over-reported the amount of dicamba damage,” the court said. “In fact, record evidence shows that the complaints substantially under-reported the actual amount of damage.”

“EPA also entirely failed to acknowledge a social cost that had already been experienced and was likely to increase,” the court said. “The record contains extensive evidence that [over-the-top] application of dicamba herbicides has torn apart the social fabric of many farming communities.”

The decision was praised by the environmental groups that brought the case — the National Family Farm Coalition, Center for Food Safety, Center for Biological Diversity, and Pesticide Action Network North America.

“The court found that EPA ‘refused to estimate the amount of dicamba damage’ by characterizing it as ‘potential’ and ‘alleged,’ when in fact the record showed that ‘dicamba had caused substantial and undisputed damage,'” the groups said in a news release. “Similarly, EPA ignored the consensus views of scientists, farmers, and even EPA officials that formal complaints of dicamba damage understated actual damage, solely because Monsanto had claimed the contrary.”

“This is a massive victory that will protect people and wildlife from uses of a highly toxic pesticide that never should’ve been approved by the EPA,” said Lori Ann Burd, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s environmental health program.

Bayer said, “We strongly disagree with the ruling and are assessing our options,” according to a company statement. “If the ruling stands, we will work quickly to minimize any impact on our customers this season. Our top priority is making sure our customers have the support they need to have a successful season.”

The company also said EPA had “conducted an extensive review and considered all relevant science prior to issuing the current registration for XtendiMax” and said it “stands fully behind our XtendiMax product.”

The court also found problems with the label used for the 2019 and 2020 growing seasons. “Extensive evidence in the record indicates that there is a risk of substantial non-compliance with the EPA-mandated label,” the court said.

“Even before the additional restrictions were added to the 2018 label, many industry professionals had been dismayed by the difficulty in complying with the complex and onerous label requirements,” the court said. “By October 2018, there was substantial evidence that even conscientious applicators had not been able consistently to adhere to the label requirements.”

In its Oct. 31, 2018, decision approving over-the-top use of dicamba on dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton, “EPA nowhere acknowledged the evidence in the record showing there had been substantial difficulty in complying with the mitigation requirements of earlier labels,” the court said. “Nor did it acknowledge the likelihood that the additional mitigation requirements imposed by the 2018 label would increase the degree of non-compliance.”

The court also said EPA had “entirely failed to acknowledge the substantial risk that the registrations would have anticompetitive economic effects in the soybean and cotton industries.”

EPA Releases Temporary Guidance on Respiratory Protection During COVID-19

This original announcement was published by the EPA on June 1, 2020. Click here for more

There is no higher priority for EPA than protecting the health and safety of Americans, especially during the COVID-19 public health emergency. EPA has heard from states and stakeholders about Personal Protective Equipment shortages in the agricultural sector. To respond to these reports and to help ensure the health and safety of America’s farmers, EPA is providing temporary guidance regarding respiratory protection requirements for agricultural pesticide handlers. Our guidance aligns with recent OSHA memos on respirators while addressing EPA’s responsibilities under FIFRA and the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS).

Additional Information

The temporary guidance outlines approaches to address the unavailability of required respiratory protection and respiratory fit testing that should first be exhausted before considering any alternative options. Options include:

  • Use alternative NIOSH-approved respirators offering equivalent or greater respiratory protection than those required on the pesticide label;
  • Hire commercial applicator services with enough respirators and respiratory protection capabilities;
  • Opt to use agricultural pesticide products that do not require respirators; or
  • Delay pesticide applications until another compliant option is available.

If the above options are exhausted, EPA’s guidance provides additional options with strict terms, conditions, and exhaustion requirements to minimize potential incremental risks to workers:

  • Reuse and extended use of disposable N95 filter facepiece respirator;
  • Use of “expired” respirators;
  • Use of respirators certified in certain other countries or jurisdictions meeting protective conditions outlined; or
  • Delay the annual respirator “fit test.”

This is a temporary policy. EPA will assess the continued need for and scope of this temporary guidance on a regular basis. To read the guidance in full and to learn more about EPA’s Worker Protection Standard, visit this webpage.

EPA Proposes Registration of New Biopesticide and Product

This original announcement was published by the EPA on May 23, 2020. Click here for more.

EPA is opening the 15-day comment period on a proposal to register the new active ingredient Ea peptide 91398 and the biopesticide product PHC-91398, which would contain this new active ingredient.

Ea peptide 91398 was derived from a naturally occurring bacterium and induces natural plant defenses. This response activates a hypersensitive response in treated plants, which enables resistance to bacterial and fungal infection, as well as suppression of nematode egg production. Nematodes are pests that can attack root systems, causing crop losses.

The product PHC-91398 is intended for use on a wide range of agricultural crops and residential “home and garden” uses. Product applications include: 1) pre-plant foliar or root dip; 2) foliar application for both greenhouse and field applications using conventional spray, drip or aerial equipment; and 3) seed treatment.

Based on data submitted in support of Ea peptide 91398, EPA does not expect toxicity or allergenicity to humans, nor does the Agency expect adverse effects to non-target organisms.

EPA encourages input on the proposed decision from all parties, including pesticide users; registrants; public interest organizations; and state, tribal and local governments. EPA routinely receives registration applications, such as this, and evaluates them to determine any risks to human health and the environment.

The proposed decision is included in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2018-0687 at www.regulations.gov. Comments are due on June 5, 2020.