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EPA to Hold Public Meeting on Revisions to Draft Framework on Endangered Species Act Process for Pesticides

This announcement was released by the EPA on May 5, 2019 and can be found here

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking comment on draft revisions to the framework used to evaluate the impacts pesticides have on endangered species under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. The draft revisions would ensure this process is efficient, protective, transparent, and based on the best available science.

“EPA’s draft framework allows the agency to consider real-world data that will better reflect where pesticides are actually used, and which species could be affected and those that are not likely to be affected,” said EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. “Making these revisions to the framework will follow through on EPA’s commitments under the 2018 Farm Bill and will help EPA target environmental protections where they are needed, and ensure that pesticides can continue to be used safely without impacting endangered species.”

The June 10 public meeting will be part of the federal government’s coordinated effort to improve the Endangered Species Act (ESA) process that is used when pesticides are federally registered. New provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill call for the establishment of an interagency working group to provide recommendations and implement a strategy to improve the pesticide registration process. Input from the public meeting and the public comment period on the draft revised method will be used by the working group to make these improvements.

As part of the EPA’s efforts to engage with stakeholders on this important issue, the agency will host a public meeting on June 10, 2019, at its Potomac Yard South Building in Arlington, Virginia. The public meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to Noon EDT in the lobby-level conference center.

Those wishing to attend either in person or via teleconference/webinar must register by Thursday, May 30, 2019.  To register:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/us-epa-public-meeting-on-revised-method-for-esa-pesticide-assessments-registration-61651229487

Upon publication in the Federal Register, the EPA will accept public comments for 45 days in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2019-0185 on the draft revised method on www.regulations.gov. The draft revised method and a summary of the major draft changes will be found in the docket.

The draft revised method can also be found here: https://www.epa.gov/endangered-species/draft-revised-method-national-level-endangered-species-risk-assessment-process.

Under the ESA, federal agencies are required to determine whether their actions may affect endangered and threatened species and their designated critical habitat. More information:  https://www.epa.gov/endangered-species

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.

EPA Takes Next Step in Review Process for Herbicide Glyphosate, Reaffirms No Risk to Public Health

This announcement was originally published by the EPA on April 30, 2019. You can access more information here

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking an important step in the agency’s review of glyphosate. As part of this action, EPA continues to find that there are no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label and that glyphosate is not a carcinogen. The agency’s scientific findings on human health risk are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by many other countries and other federal agencies. While the agency did not identify public health risks in the 2017 human health risk assessment, the 2017 ecological assessment did identify ecological risks. To address these risks, EPA is proposing management measures to help farmers target pesticide sprays on the intended pest, protect pollinators, and reduce the problem of weeds becoming resistant to glyphosate.

“EPA has found no risks to public health from the current registered uses of glyphosate,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Today’s proposed action includes new management measures that will help farmers use glyphosate in the most effective and efficient way possible, including pollinator protections. We look forward to input from farmers and other stakeholders to ensure that the draft management measures are workable, realistic, and effective.”

“If we are going to feed 10 billion people by 2050, we are going to need all the tools at our disposal, which includes the use the glyphosate,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “USDA applauds EPA’s proposed registration decision as it is science-based and consistent with the findings of other regulatory authorities that glyphosate does not pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.”

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in U.S. agriculture and has been studied for decades.  Glyphosate is used on more than 100 food crops, including glyphosate-resistant corn, soybean, cotton, canola and sugar beet. Non-agricultural uses include residential areas, aquatic areas, forests, rights of way, ornamentals and turf.

Once the Federal Register notice publishes, the public will be able to submit comments on EPA’s proposed decision at www.regulations.gov in docket # EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0361. Public comments will be due 60 days after the date of publication in Federal Register. EPA’s responses to the comments received on the draft ecological and human health risk assessments and the benefits assessment will be in the docket.

Find more information about glyphosate, including today’s proposed interim decision and supporting documents.

See the glyphosate draft risk assessments and supporting documents.

Pollinator Protection: Residual Time to 25% Bee Mortality Data Released

The original article was published by the Environmental Protection Agency March 21, 2019 and can be found here.

RT25 Data: What They are and Where They Come From

The residual time to 25% mortality (referred to as the RT25) values provided in the table below were compiled from registrant-submitted data submitted in order to fulfill the data requirement for Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Toxicity of Residues on Foliage study (OCSPP Guideline 850.3030). This study may be conditionally required if the honey bee acute contact (or oral) median lethal dose (LD50) value (obtained from a honey bee acute toxicity test such as OCSPP Guideline 850.3020) is less than 11 µg/bee1.

The honey bee toxicity of residues on foliage study is a laboratory test designed to determine the length of time over which field weathered foliar residues remain toxic to honey bees, or other species of terrestrial insects. The test substance (e.g., a representative end-use product) is applied to crop foliage, the foliage is harvested at predetermined post-application intervals (i.e., aged residues), and test adult bees are confined on foliage with aged residues for 24 hours. Three treatment intervals (different durations of time that residues are aged between application and harvest) are typically used (e.g., 3, 8 and 24 hours post-application). At a minimum, the test substance should be evaluated at the maximum application rate specified on the product label. If mortality of bees exposed to the foliage harvested 24 hours after the application is greater than 25%, bees should continue to be exposed to aged residues on foliage samples collected every 24 hours (i.e., 48, 72, 96, 120 hours, etc. after the application) until mortality is 25% or less.

About the RT25 Data Table

The table below represents all available RT25 values from studies submitted to the Agency which have undergone quality assurance reviews to ensure that the data are scientifically sound. Depending on the chemical tested, either the technical grade active ingredient or a specific formulation was tested using either the honey bee, alfalfa leaf cutting bee, or alkali bee; the table lists the test material and species tested. The table also denotes the plant species on which residues were aged.

RT25 values are a function of a number of factors including application rate, physical-chemical properties, dissipation, crop, and pesticide formulation. Thus, there is considerable variability in RT25 values within a single formulation, between formulations, between crops, and across application rates.  The values included in the table are chemical and formulation specific. EPA plans to update this table as a more robust data set becomes available.

View full article and data table here.