Cooperative Extension Service
The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Your Source for Pest Management and Pesticide News

Volume 24, No. 4

FOOD QUALITY PROTECTION ACT
The comment period for atrazine closes April 16
Atrazine also awaits a review of potential, noncancer health effects

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Four companies are going to spend $30 million to mitigate the effects of 110 tons of DDT on the ocean floor near California
Nature magazine (3-22-01) includes some analysis of organic farming vs conventional agriculture
The EPA is asking for grant proposals under the Environmental Justice through Pollution Prevention program
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is also offering grant money
Lyme disease causes great anxiety during the warmer months of the year
The EPA is changing requirements for First Aid statements appearing on pesticide labels

NEW TOOLS
As the methyl bromide phase-out continues, scientists continue to identify potential alternatives
A nematode may be an effective biocontrol agent for mole crickets

FEDERAL NEWS
USDA inspectors have been checking the pesticide records of certified private pesticide applicators in Georgia
The EPA is strengthening labeling requirements for insect repellents

BIOTECHNOLOGY
Current EPA registrations for genetically engineered crops containing genes from Bacillus thuringiensis will expire in September 2001
According to the USDA Agricultural Research Service, insecticides were nearly undetectable in water run-off from Bt cotton fields
Greenpeace reports that StarLink corn has been detected in several Kellogg's Morningstar products
In the aftermath of the StarLink fiasco, EPA announced that they will no longer approve registration of Bt crops for animals and not humans

DON'T DO IT
In the summer of 1999, a young farm worker in Utah died on the way to an orchard where he worked

IPM NOTEBOOK
Get on the IPM in Schools bandwagon!
The School Environmental Protection Act was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives January 3

Food Quality Protection Act

The comment period for atrazine closes April 16. If atrazine is important to you, take the time to review the EPA report and comment. Many times, EPA is lacking data on how pesticides are used in the real world. Your input could be critical to the final decision. You can review the atrazine document and comment at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides

Atrazine also awaits a review of potential, noncancer health effects. The emphasis of this investigation will be endocrine effects. Animals use small amounts of chemical messengers (hormones) to cause or prevent certain changes in the body. For example, one of the endocrine messages changes a child into a woman or a man. Understandably, chemicals that could affect this delicate system are cause for concern. Very small amounts of some chemicals (including some pesticides) may affect the human endocrine system.

However, it may be impossible to identify all of the chemicals that could potentially disrupt the endocrine system. Humans are exposed to tens of thousands of synthetic and natural chemicals. Additionally, combinations of chemicals may have different effects. Finally, the effect may only be seen at a certain dose. Sometimes, a high or low dose has no effect, but the middle dose disrupts the hormonal system.

Scientists are working to develop a mechanism to screen the tremendous number of chemicals. Additionally, FQPA requires EPA to develop an endocrine screen for pesticides. Endocrine disruption is a major endpoint of concern for pesticide registrants as well. Pesticides identified as 'endocrine disruptors' are unlikely to receive or maintain EPA registration. (Chemical Pesticide Regulation Reporter 25:1 via Chemically Speaking, 1-01)

Health and the Environment

Four companies are going to spend $30 million to mitigate the effects of 110 tons of DDT on the ocean floor near California. This settlement is the largest ever paid for environmental pollution (other than oil). The companies either owned or operated an abandoned DDT plant in Torrance, California.

Government scientists report that the DDT travels up the food chain, beginning with algae and small fish. DDT has been identified in white croaker fish and is blamed for reproductive problems in birds. The companies will spend the money to restore wildlife habitat and to remove or cap the DDT on the ocean floor. (Chemical Reg. Reporter 25:1 via Chemically Speaking 1-01)

Nature magazine (3-22-01) includes some analysis of organic farming vs conventional agriculture; these quotes were of particular interest. "Developments in the past 25 years have shown how conventional agriculture can be much more sustainable and environmentally friendly than organic farming. A single treatment with innocuous herbicide, coupled with no-till conventional farming, avoids this damage [increased erosion] and retains organic material in the soil surface." (via Gregg Storey/AGKCM/AGCHEM/US/BAYER, 03/23/01)

The EPA is asking for grant proposals under the Environmental Justice through Pollution Prevention program. Over the past 5 years, EPA has provided financial assistance to help minority and/or low-income communities address their environmental concerns through funding provided under the Environmental Justice through Pollution Prevention (EJP2) grant program. EJP2 grants support a broad range of activities falling under the general heading of "pollution prevention," (P2) including projects aimed at reducing pollution at the source in minority and/or low-income communities. This year's solicitation for grant applications offers funding for projects in four categories: 1) helping small businesses prevent pollution in communities; 2) fostering partnerships between industrial facilities and communities; 3) demonstrating agricultural pollution prevention, including projects providing tools to farm workers on best management practices that attempt to reduce pesticide use and worker exposure; and 4) improving tribal environments. Organizations seeking funds from the EJP2 grant program can request up to $75,000 for projects. Total funding available for grants is $750,000. Applications are due by April 20, 2001. Further information including the Federal Register Notice announcing the FY 2001 grant program may be found at www.epa.gov/opptintr/ejp2

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is also offering grant money to improve the safety of homes, including the reduction of pesticide exposure. The purpose of the Healthy Homes Initiative is to develop, demonstrate, and promote cost effective, preventive measures to correct multiple safety and health hazards in the home environment which produce serious diseases and injuries in children. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is interested in reducing health threats to the maximum number of residents, including children, in a cost efficient manner. The deadline for submission is May 17, 2001. You can find the details at http://www.hud.gov/adm/grants/nofa/hhr.txt

Lyme disease causes great anxiety during the warmer months of the year, but the risk in Georgia is actually quite small. According to the Georgia Epidemiology Report (1-01), only zero cases were reported from October '99 - October '00.

These data do not mean you should forget about ticks; ticks also carry a number of other diseases that can be quite serious. Follow these guidelines to protect yourself from ticks (and pesticide).

  1. Stay on the path when possible. Ticks typically climb up on plants and wait for animals to brush against them.
  2. Wear light-colored, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Close the ends of your pant legs with tape, string, or a rubber band. Inspect your clothes periodically for ticks.
  3. Permethrin products are the best available tick repellents; DEET products also work well. Do not apply these products to the skin; permethrin is only labeled for application to clothing. Do not use permethrin or DEET on children under three years.
  4. Upon returning home or to camp, check yourself and your children carefully for ticks. Many diseases require the tick to be attached for six or more hours to transmit disease.
  5. If you find a tick, remove the tick carefully to avoid leaving the head attached. Grasp the tick's head with tweezers and pull gently.
  6. If you notice infection or a rash from a tick bite, consult a physician.

The EPA is changing requirements for First Aid statements appearing on pesticide labels. For all pesticides in Toxicity Category I (the most toxic), the first aid statements must appear on the front panel or refer to first aid statements on the back. For other toxicity categories, the first aid instructions may appear on other panels of the label.

Additionally, registrants are encouraged to replace the current phrase 'Statement of practical treatment' with 'First Aid.' Other changes include the use of current medical information, reference to poison control centers, instructions to contact lens wearers, and hotline telephone numbers. The presentation format of the information will also be changed to make first aid instructions clearer and easier to find.

For more information, contact Amy Breedlove at 703-306-9069 or breedlove.amy@epa.gov

New Tools

As the methyl bromide phase-out continues, scientists continue to identify potential alternatives. Methyl iodide and propargyl bromide are chemically similar to methyl bromide without the risks to stratospheric ozone. A combination of dichloropropene (Telone) and chloropicrin is being used with metam sodium (Vapam) to produce high, marketable yields of strawberry. Plantpro 45 and Fosthiazate are chemicals registered abroad that may be useful methyl bromide replacements in the United States.

Some 'natural' compounds are being touted as methyl bromide alternatives. BioFume is a compound produced from herbs; research at Auburn indicates that it may be an effective soil sterilant. DiTerra (a microbial product) is being marketed as a nematicide/fungicide. Benzaldehyde and glucosinolates are produced by the Brassica family (e.g., cabbage). They are reported to have activity against microorganisms. (Agricultural Research 1-01 and Farm Chemicals 12-00 via Chemically Speaking, 1-01)

A nematode may be an effective biocontrol agent for mole crickets. According to the University of Florida, the nematodes are 100 percent effective in the laboratory, and field tests have been promising. Mole crickets are very destructive pests in southern Georgia, Florida, and other areas with sandy soil. Researchers will still have to identify effective formulations and methods of delivery. In past examples, it has been challenging to match field results with laboratory/small plot trials. (Florida Agriculture, 60:1)

Federal News

USDA inspectors have been checking the pesticide records of certified private pesticide applicators in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Agriculture once conducted these inspections, but now USDA inspectors are visiting private applicators. The Georgia Department of Agriculture still does all other inspections.

The USDA inspectors are only examining pesticide application records for restricted-use pesticides. They will not inspect your operation for compliance with the Worker Protection Standard or other pesticide regulations.

Applicators must comply with the USDA inspection. The inspectors may ask for pesticide records from the last two years. No official forms are required, but the Cooperative Extension Service and Georgia Farm Bureau will provide record-keeping forms if you want them.

Your local extension office can provide information about what information you need to record. Or you can visit us on the web at http://www.ces.uga.edu/ Look under 'What's New' and then under 'Pesticide Applicator Training.'

USDA inspectors will not ticket applicators that are trying to keep records. If your records are not perfect, inspectors will help you revise your information. However, applicators that refuse to keep records or refuse to cooperate with inspectors may find themselves in trouble.

The EPA is strengthening labeling requirements for insect repellents. A number of insect repellents are marketed for children. The label may include a phrase like 'protection for kids' and may also feature pictures of toys or other items associated with children. Additionally, some products contain fragrances such as grape or watermelon.

The Agency is concerned that these labeling practices may cause the products to be used unsafely. Food-type fragrances may cause children to ingest the product. Consequently, the EPA is taking action to eliminate inappropriate phrases and graphics. New products must comply with the new regulations. Older products will be examined during reregistration.

For more information, contact Robyn Rose with EPA (703-308-9581 or rose.robyn@epa.gov (PR Notice 2001-3)

Although it is not required, companies that market insect repellents should change their labels as quickly as possible. If misused, insect repellents can harm children. If a child is injured by a product with inappropriate phrasing or fragrances, a lawsuit may result.

Biotechnology

Current EPA registrations for genetically engineered crops containing genes from Bacillus thuringiensis will expire in September 2001. The Agency asked an independent scientific advisory panel (SAP) to review the Agency regulations and policies regarding crops that contain B. thuringiensis genes. The SAP has completed their review. The EPA will consider the SAP report, public comments, and any new information as the Agency reevaluates registration of these crops. You will find the SAP report at http://www.epa.gov/scipoly/sap/ (EPA Pesticide Program Update, 3-16-01)

Biotechnology in general, and the insertion of Bt genes in particular, is controversial. Look for a great deal of activity from groups that wish to restrict or ban genetic engineering as the EPA reconsiders registrations of Bt crops. You may also hear from groups who think that EPA has no business regulating plant materials.

According to the USDA Agricultural Research Service, insecticides were nearly undetectable in water run-off from Bt cotton fields. The four-year study was primarily testing for pyrethroids and organophosphates, two commonly used groups of cotton insecticides. Very low levels of both insecticide groups were found in water from Bt cotton fields. Non Bt cotton sites had greater levels of pyrethroids and organophosphates. For more information, contact Robert Cullum with ARS at 601-232-2976 or cullum@sedlab.olemiss.edu (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 3-12-01)

Greenpeace reports that StarLink corn has been detected in several Kellogg's Morningstar products, including meat-free corn dogs and veggie burgers. StarLink is a variety of corn that includes genes from Bacillus thuringiensis. The EPA approved the corn for animal consumption but not human consumption. Since then, the protein from StarLink corn has been discovered in a variety of human food products. It is not known if Kellogg's will recall the contaminated products.

Throughout all of the incidents, EPA and most other food scientists have contended that the risks from the StarLink corn are very low. The level of contamination is small because the corn is mixed with large amounts of conventional corn, and the Bt gene (and the resulting protein) are believed to pose little or no risk to humans.

In the aftermath of the StarLink fiasco, EPA announced that they will no longer approve registration of Bt crops for animals and not humans. If the product cannot be proven to be safe for human consumption, no registration will be granted. In hindsight, the split approval of StarLink was a big mistake. There was no way to ensure that 'animal-only' corn could be kept out of the 'human-corn' storage and delivery system.

Don't Do It

In the summer of 1999, a young farm worker in Utah died on the way to an orchard where he worked. Investigators discovered that the farm did not conduct training required under the Worker Protection Standard (WPS), and workers were sent into areas where the pesticide re-entry interval had not expired without proper protective clothing.

Pesticides were not proven to cause the man's death, but the farm operation was shut down. The owner was required to pay a $10,000 civil penalty and serve a five-year probationary period. I would not be surprised to hear that the man's family was also suing the farm.

You should take all pesticide regulations seriously. Row crops, greenhouses, nurseries, and forestry operations are subject to WPS if they employ one or more non-family members. Consult your local extension office for details of WPS or visit the web http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/safety

IPM Notebook

Get on the IPM in Schools bandwagon! The Cooperative Extension Service and the Georgia Pest Control Association want to introduce IPM into every school in Georgia. We are recruiting county extension agents, schools, and pest control companies. IPM is the best way to minimize pesticide risks and control pest populations. The IPM in Schools program is not difficult; we provide free support and information; it protects children; and it makes everyone look good. Get in touch with us today to be included, 703-542-9031.

The School Environmental Protection Act was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives January 3. Under this bill, public schools would have to use pest management practices that do not rely on 'toxic pesticides'. This bill is being pushed by the National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides, an anti-pesticide group. If we do not implement IPM in Schools, it will be forced upon us through regulation. Unfortunately, federal regulation may make the situation much more difficult. We encourage you to be proactive and join the IPM in Schools program.

The appearance of any trade name in this newsletter is not intended to endorse that product nor convey negative implications of unmentioned products.

Dear Readers:

The Georgia Pest Management Newsletter is a monthly journal for extension agents, extension specialists, and others interested in pest management news. It provides information on legislation, regulations, and other issues affecting pest management in Georgia.

Do not regard the information in this newsletter as pest management recommendations. Consult the Georgia Pest Control Handbook, other extension publications, or appropriate specialists for this information.

Your input in this newsletter is encouraged.

If you wish to be added to the mailing list, just call us at 706-542-1765

Or write us:

Department of Entomology
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602
E-mail: pguillebeau@bugs.ent.uga.edu

Or visit us on the Web. You will find all the back issues there and other useful information. http://www.ces.uga.edu/Agriculture/entomology/pestnewsletter/newsarchive.html

Sincerely:

Paul Guillebeau, Associate Professor & Extension Entomologist