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EPA Approves Emergency Exemption for Antiviral Air Treatment

This original announcement was published by the EPA on January 16, 2020. Click here for more information.

 

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced approval of an emergency exemption request for use of Grignard Pure, as an additional tool in limited use situations to aid in the fight against COVID-19.

EPA is issuing an emergency exemption for Grignard Pure to be used in certain indoor spaces where social distancing can be challenging. Use of this product does not eliminate the need for critical precautions like mask wearing, social distancing, and ventilation. Always follow CDC, state and local public health guidelines.

This exemption has been granted to Georgia and Tennessee state governments. After carefully reviewing safety and efficacy data, EPA has determined the product will provide another tool to assist States with approved emergency exemptions during the current public health emergency. EPA’s approval will allow the product to be applied in Georgia and Tennessee in certain indoor spaces where adherence to current public health guidelines is impractical or difficult to maintain. Areas of particular concern include breakrooms, locker rooms, bathrooms, lobbies, elevators, eating areas, and food preparation areas within health care facilities, intrastate transportation, food processing facilities, and indoor spaces within buildings—including government facilities—where people are conducting activity deemed essential by the state.

“Today, we are approving the first-ever airborne antiviral product that will help fight the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “There is no higher priority for EPA than protecting the health and safety of Americans and I want to thank those—both within EPA and those outside—who have worked to achieve this important milestone.”

“We are deeply grateful to the diligent teams at EPA who were tireless in evaluating and validating the health, safety and efficacy of Grignard Pure as the first-of-its-kind antimicrobial air treatment,” said Etienne Grignard, co-founder and CEO, Grignard Pure. “Grignard Pure is a passion and a mission for us. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been singularly focused on making Grignard Pure a critical component in achieving the shared commitment we all have—helping people feel safer, getting industries and our economy back to full operation, and using science, technology and engineering to find solutions that move us past the ravages of COVID-19.”

EPA is approving these emergency exemption requests from Georgia and Tennessee under Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

Application levels are monitored through visual assessment, or sensors which automatically regulate the amount of product suspended in the air. Additionally, the EPA-approved label requires that signs be posted at every entrance to the spaces notifying the public that the space has been treated.

Triethylene glycol (TEG) is the active ingredient in Grignard Pure. TEG is commonly used in fog machines for concerts and theatre productions. EPA reviewed all available data on this product’s effectiveness and safety and concluded that it is capable of killing 98 percent of airborne SARS-CoV-2. TEG may be an irritant for sensitive populations.

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

EPA Takes Action to Investigate PFAS Contamination

This original announcement was published by the EPA on January 15, 2020. Click here for more information.

 

As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) extensive efforts to address PFAS, today the agency is making new information available about EPA testing that shows PFAS contamination from fluorinated containers.

Through a coordinated effort with both the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a pesticide manufacturer, the agency has determined that fluorinated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) containers that are used to store and transport a mosquito control pesticide product contain PFAS compounds that are leaching into the pesticide product.

While the agency is early in its investigation and assessment of potential impacts on health or the environment, the affected pesticide manufacturer has voluntarily stopped shipment of any products in fluorinated HPDE containers and is conducting its own testing to confirm EPA results and product stability in un-fluorinated containers. In addition, EPA has issued a request for information under the Toxics Substance Control Act (TSCA) to the company that fluorinates the containers used by certain pesticide manufacturers. The TSCA subpoena requests information about the fluorination process used to treat the containers.

As EPA evaluates this issue, the agency asks that pesticide and other companies using fluorinated containers, and entities that provide container fluorination services, engage in good product stewardship and examine their distribution chains to identify potential sources of contamination. EPA will also continue to work closely with the entities involved and their supply and distribution chains, mosquito control districts, the pesticide and packaging industry, federal partners, states, and tribes that may be affected to provide information and guidance on next steps. EPA understands the need to provide guidance to states, tribes, and other users as they prepare to purchase mosquito control products for 2021 and will provide more information as it continues its investigation.

EPA will update the following webpage with information as it becomes available: https://www.epa.gov/pesticides/pfas-packaging

Background

Since first becoming aware of the PFAS contamination issue in early September 2020 through citizen science testing of a pesticide product for mosquito control, EPA has been working to investigate the source of the contamination. Throughout October and November 2020, EPA has worked diligently in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to request samples of the pesticide product and analyze the identified product at different steps of production and manufacturing to determine whether PFAS are present, including issuing an information request to the pesticide registrant on October 5, 2020 seeking information on the affected pesticide’s production, sales, and distribution.

In late December 2020, EPA studied the fluorinated HDPE containers used to store and transport the product and determined the containers are a possible source of PFAS contamination. EPA has been in close contact with Massachusetts, the pesticide registrant and the fluorinated HDPE container treatment company to discuss the issue, as well as to obtain the materials needed to test for PFAS in the product and the fluorinated HDPE containers.

Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), EPA is charged with approving active and inert ingredients in the registered pesticide products sold in the United States. EPA has confirmed that PFAS is not a known ingredient or additive in the company’s affected product and is collaboratively working with the registrant as EPA laboratories test samples of the product at different steps of production and manufacturing, in addition to the agency’s study of the containers themselves.

In Mississippi, Administrator Wheeler Announces Multi-Million-Dollar Initiative Dedicated to Sustainable Pest Control in Agriculture

This original announcement was published by the EPA on January 11, 2021. Click here for more information. 

 

Today, at an event with the Mississippi Farm Bureau, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced a $2 million dollar initiative that encourages smart, sensible, and sustainable pest control in agriculture. Administrator Wheeler was also joined by U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality Director Chris Wells, Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Andy Gipson, Mississippi State Senator Charles Younger, Mississippi Farm Bureau President Mike McCormick, EPA Regional Administrator Mary Walker, and EPA Chief of Staff Mandy Gunasekara for the announcement. The initiative, which is an extension of EPA’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP), expects to award grantees up to $200,000 to implement sustainable pest management practices that align with the agency’s goal of providing a healthier environment for all Americans.

“With the extension of this multi-million-dollar initiative, the Trump Administration is providing growers with the additional resources they need to cut down on the environmental risks of both pests and pesticides,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Together, EPA and the agricultural community are building on our already strong foundation of sustainable pest management practices.”

This fiscal year, EPA expects to award approximately $2 million total for agricultural projects that explore innovative practices, technologies, education, and non-regulatory solutions that promote the adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies. Traditional pest control involves the routine application of pesticides. IPM, in contrast, combines biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health and environmental risks.

EPA expects to issue a Request for Applications in January 2021 and applicants will have 45 days to submit their applications. Funding will be available to:

  • States or state agencies, territories, city or township governments, and federally recognized tribes.
  • Public and private universities and colleges.
  • Other public or private nonprofit institutions and 501(c)(3) organizations (PESP membership is not an eligibility requirement to receive funding).

“We are pleased to be a part of this important announcement today with EPA. We look forward to working with EPA to further this important program here in Mississippi,” said Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation President Mike McCormick.

EPA’s PESP is guided by the principle that partnership programs complement the standards and decisions established by regulatory and registration actions. This partnership program has previously invested nearly $4 million annually to support more than 100 successful grants, awards, and collaborative efforts. These efforts have promoted IPM in agriculture, schools, integrated vegetation management on utility rights-of-ways, and shared information on tick management strategies and EPA region-specific projects on sustainable pest management practices.

Today, EPA partners with over 400 organizations through PESP and welcomes more organizations to share the commitment to environmental stewardship where we live, work, play, and farm.

For more information about PESP, visit: www.epa.gov/pesp

For more information about PESP grants, visit: https://www.epa.gov/pesp/pesticide-environmental-stewardship-program-grants

To learn more about IPM, visit: www.epa.gov/ipm.

Background:

EPA’s PESP traces its roots to the 1993 Pesticide Use/Risk Reduction Initiative, a joint effort of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and EPA to reduce the use of pesticides that pose unreasonable risks to humans and the environment. Over the past 27 years, the program has promoted IPM and provided information exchange from growers to EPA to inform certain pesticide regulatory decisions. While PESP grant funding ceased in 2010, the program has continued to carry on this important work in other ways. With today’s announcement, the agency is undertaking new efforts to provide grants focused on agriculture-centered IPM.

EPA Proposes to Codify Certain Pesticide Product Performance Requirements

This original announcement was published by the EPA on January 8, 2021. Click here for more information.

 

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to codify product performance data requirements for products claiming efficacy against certain pests to increase the efficiency of the agency’s approval process and save registrants time and money.

Product performance standards make it easier for pesticide registrants to know the efficacy data that must be submitted to the Agency to prove their pesticide product works as claimed. Through the agency’s proposed rule, EPA satisfies a requirement of the 2018 Pesticide Registration Improvement Extension Act (PRIA 4). This action also officially incorporates the agency’s product performance standards requirements for certain invertebrate pests into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

By adding these requirements into the CFR, EPA will help ensure submitted data meets the agency’s needs and scientific standards. If finalized, the proposed rule could save registrants approximately $17,000 per data package submitted to the Agency by reducing waste and unnecessary testing

Today’s proposal applies to three categories of invertebrate pests:

  • Those identified to be of significant public health importance (e.g., ticks, mosquitoes, cockroaches, etc.)
  • Wood-destroying insects (e.g., termites)
  • Certain invasive invertebrate species (e.g., Asian long-horned beetle)

Comments on the proposed rule are accepted in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2020-0124 at www.regulations.gov for 60 days.

EPA Proposes Registration of Picarbutrazox, a New Fungicide Active

This announcement was published by the EPA on December 28, 2020. Click here for more information.

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to register the new active ingredient picarbutrazox, which represents a new tool for managing resistant fungi.

Uses of picarbutrazox include seed treatment of corn and soybean to control Pythium and Phytophthora and turf treatment to control Pythium diseases. These fungi can cause foliar blight, damping-off, and root dysfunction, which in turn can cause significant yield losses. Picarbutrazox provides yield benefits comparable to registered alternatives.

EPA reviewed picarbutrazox and determined there are no human health risk concerns. To prevent misuse, the label recommends that professional applicators make residential turf applications.

The proposed product label contains language to address potential ecological risks, including advisory language to prevent off-site movement to non-target areas due to runoff, and resistance management strategies to reduce the potential for fungicide resistance.

EPA is accepting public comments on this proposal via docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0653 at www.regulations.gov for 15 days.

EPA Proposes Registration of Trifludimoxazin, a New Herbicide Active Ingredient

This original announcement was published by the EPA on December 12, 2020. Click here for more information.

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to register pesticide products containing the new active ingredient trifludimoxazin, a vital additional tool in managing resistant weeds.

Trifludimoxazin is an herbicide intended for pre- and/or post-emergent control of broadleaf and grass weeds. It can be applied by aircraft on citrus fruits, pome fruits, cereal grain (except rice), tree nuts, peanuts, and foliage of legume vegetables. Non-agricultural use sites include tree plantations, industrial landscaping, native grass openings, and conifer and hardwood plantations.

EPA reviewed trifludimoxazin and determined there are no human health risk concerns.

EPA is proposing specific mitigations to address potential ecological risks, including label instructions to reduce spray drift by using a medium to ultra-coarse spray nozzle, and resistance management strategies to reduce the potential for herbicide resistance. The label also includes advisory language to prevent off-site movement to non-target areas due to runoff, along with application restrictions and recommendations on what types of soils and substrates to avoid.

EPA is accepting public comments on this proposal via docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2018-0762 at www.regulations.gov for 30 days.

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 www.regulations.gov.

EPA Releases Draft Biological Evaluation for Glyphosate

This original announcement was published by the EPA on November 26, 2020. Click here for more information.

 

EPA is taking the next step in its regulatory review of glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the United States, which is used to control a variety of grasses and broadleaf weeds. Glyphosate is used on about 298 million acres of agricultural crop land every year and is effective and affordable.

Building on EPA’s January 2020 action finalizing new mitigation measures for glyphosate, today, EPA is releasing its draft biological evaluation (BE) for glyphosate for public review and comment. Biological evaluations are the beginning of EPA’s Endangered Species Act consultation review process for pesticides where the agency determines whether the pesticide “may affect” one or more individuals of a listed species and their designated critical habitats.

EPA followed its March 2020 Revised Method for National Level Listed Species Biological Evaluations of Conventional Pesticides to conduct this biological evaluation. As such, EPA used the best-available science, including advanced exposure modeling techniques to estimate exposures to plants in various environments, such as wetlands.

EPA’s draft biological evaluation for glyphosate includes an effects determination for listed species and designated critical habitats and finds that glyphosate is likely to adversely affect a significant percent of endangered species and critical habitats. In order to make its “likely to adversely affect” determination, EPA evaluates 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 agency will accept public comments on its draft evaluation for 60 days following its release and then will finalize the evaluation.

If EPA determines glyphosate may affect a listed species or its critical habitat, the agency will consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services) as appropriate. The Services use the information in EPA’s final biological evaluation to develop their biological opinion to determine if the pesticide jeopardizes the continued existence of the species and whether there is adverse modification to its critical habitat. If jeopardy or adverse modification is determined, the Services, with input from EPA, will propose protection measures. Protection measures could include seeking to change the terms of the pesticide registration to establish either generic or geographically specific pesticide use limitations if the agency determines that limitations are necessary to ensure that legal use of a pesticide will not harm listed species or their critical habitat.

To read the biological evaluation, please visit our webpage. EPA is accepting public comments upon publication via docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2020-0585 at www.regulations.gov.

 

 

EPA Seeking Comments on Updated Plant Biostimulants Guidance

This original announcement was published by the EPA on November 25, 2020. Click here for more. 

In recognition of the growing class of products generally known as plant biostimulants, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting comments on an updated Draft Guidance for Plant Regulators and Claims, Including Plant Biostimulants.

“Plant biostimulants are increasingly being used by farmers to increase agriculture productivity,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. “When finalized, our Plant Biostimulants Guidance will provide sought-after certainty and transparency for this growing area of the economy.”

Plant biostimulants are a relatively new but growing category of products containing naturally occurring substances and microbes. Their increasing popularity arises from their ability to enhance agricultural productivity through stimulation of natural plant processes using substances and microbes already present in the environment. Plant biostimulants can also reduce the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers, making it an attractive option for sustainable agriculture and integrated pest management programs. Benefits include:

  • Increased plant growth, vigor, yield and production.
  • Improved soil health.
  • Optimized nutrient use.
  • Increased water efficiency.

While many plant biostimulants are not regulated as pesticides, certain mixtures and plant regulators can be pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

Today’s released updated draft guidance incorporates diverse and helpful changes made in response to stakeholder feedback received during the draft guidance’s initial comment period in 2019. EPA now will seek input on those changes, including the wording of certain plant and non-plant regulator claim examples.

The public comment period will be open for 30 days in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2018-0258 at www.regulations.gov. After carefully considering the comments received, EPA anticipates finalizing this guidance in January 2021.

EPA Awards $2.5 Million to the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs for Farmworker Pesticide Training

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

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP) to receive up to $500,000 annually to conduct pesticide safety training across the country over the next five years. With EPA funding, AFOP will administer this grant to provide occupational health and safety trainings to migrant and seasonal farmworkers in more than 25 states through a network of over 200 trainers.

“EPA is pleased to continue working with the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs as we work toward our common goal of protecting our farmworkers and their families,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. “This exciting partnership complements our Agricultural Worker Protection Standard perfectly and will develop national pesticide safety training, education, and outreach for farmworkers and their families in rural agricultural areas.”

“AFOP is delighted to continue working with EPA to provide pesticide safety instruction to the nation’s farmworkers. Together with EPA, we touch real lives by empowering agricultural workers with the knowledge they need to better protect themselves, their homes, and their families from pesticide exposure,” said AFOP Executive Director Daniel Sheehan. “Agriculture is ranked consistently as one of, if not the, most dangerous of occupations. Through EPA’s support, AFOP is able to help make that job a whole lot safer.”

As the recipient of the cooperative agreement, AFOP will continue to enhance safe working conditions for agricultural workers at local, state and national levels, with targeted outreach to low-income, low-literacy, and non-English speaking farmworkers.

Through its previous 2015-2020 cooperative agreement with EPA, AFOP trained 184,000 farmworkers and 30,000 children on pesticide safety. This work was made possible through EPA’s National Farmworker Training grant program which focuses on training educators to teach agricultural workers and their families how to reduce the risks from pesticide exposure. For more information, visit EPA’s Pesticide Worker Safety Cooperative Agreements webpage.