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

Your Source for Pest Management and Pesticide News

August 2001/Volume 24, No. 8



NEWS YOU CAN USE

FEDERAL NEWS

President Bush endorsed the idea of creating a permanent position in the Cabinet for a secretary of environmental protection

CANCELLED

On June 27, 2001, EPA proposed to cancel or modify registrations for 94 products containing the pesticide chlorpyrifos
The EPA proposes to revoke tolerances for vinclozolin (Ronilan) on strawberry, stone fruits, cucumber, and bell pepper
Monsanto hopes to introduce corn that has been genetically engineered to control corn rootworm

IPM NOTEBOOK

Although IPM is the buzzword for pest control in the United States, the word has not spread to the war on drugs
The House of Representatives has begun to discuss a school IPM amendment passed by the Senate

FOOD QUALITY PROTECTION ACT - REREGISTRATION

This list identifies pesticides that are likely to face reregistration activity in fiscal year 2002

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

According to Fox News, the Audubon Society is twisting the truth in a campaign against lawn care pesticides
Mexican fishermen are reportedly using pesticides illegally to ensure the catch
Changes in cotton production correlate with increased bird populations
Additional labeling will be required to warn consumers of potential health effects from wood treated with chromated copper arsenicals

BIOTECHNOLOGY

The EPA has released a revised assessment of the risks and benefits of genetically modified crops that contain Bacillus thuringiensis genes
Even if you strongly oppose genetically engineered foods, you may be unable to avoid them
The United States Agency for International Development announced a new program
Genetically engineered meat may also be on the way
Finally, I even heard that a company is seeking a patent for a genetically engineered cat

News You Can Use

More than 3,300 images of more than 800 forest insects, diseases, plants, wildlife, and management practices are available at http://www.forestryimages.org/. Multiple levels of jpeg format images are downloadable and may be copied and used for any non-profit, educational purpose with appropriate credit and copyright notice. Although most images are North American in nature, the system also contains images of organisms that are "Non-U.S. Natives," or are considered to be "U.S. Invasive." The database is fully searchable. (G. Keith Douce, David J. Moorhead and Charles T. Bargeron, UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences & Warnell School of Forest Resources)

Federal News

President Bush on Wednesday endorsed the idea of creating a permanent position in the Cabinet for a secretary of environmental protection. An introduced bill would rename the EPA the Department of Environmental Protection and elevate the administrator to a cabinet level post.

Congressional lawmakers have tried for more than a dozen years to have the EPA put into the Cabinet. The measure typically has failed because of the attachment of controversial provisions and pet projects. In 1994, for example, the House voted not to consider the bill unless members could put provisions on it that would limit the agency's authority.

The new designation would not change EPA's responsibility, but it would put the Agency on equal footing with other cabinet members. In Washington, political clout makes a tremendous difference. In the current situation for example, Cabinet members can often stifle EPA activities simply by refusing to cooperate. As an Agency rather than a Department, EPA frequently lacks the authority or influence to make Departments cooperate. Bush's father, former President Bush, supported the idea of an Environmental Department in 1990 when he said changing the EPA to an Environment Department with Cabinet status would "help influence the world's environmental policies." The United States is one of the few developed nations that does not designate their environmental agency as a minister or cabinet position.

Look on the web for more information about HR 2438 (http://thomas.loc.gov). (AP, 7-12-01) (Thanks to Greg Storey)

Cancelled

On June 27, 2001, EPA proposed to cancel or modify registrations for 94 products containing the pesticide chlorpyrifos. These revisions follow the June 2000 agreement between EPA and the registrants. (I am still upset that users had very little participation in the agreement.) The agreement calls for a complete phase-out of:

The EPA proposes to revoke tolerances for vinclozolin (Ronilan) on strawberry, stone fruits, cucumber, and bell pepper. All food uses of vinclozolin will be eliminated, except canola. This revocation is the final regulatory part to this story. It has been illegal to use vinclozolin on strawberry and stone fruits since January 2000. Vinclozolin was never registered in the United States for use on cucumber and bell pepper.

When the tolerance for a pesticide is cancelled, that pesticide cannot be used on a food sold in the United States even if the residue is undetectable.

Foods legally treated with vinclozolin may continue to be marketed under the provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). The channels of trade provision of FFDCA allow for the presence of pesticide residue on commodities that were treated before the tolerance revocation becomes effective. This guidance will assist firms in understanding the types of information on treatment of affected commodities that FDA may find satisfactory in accordance with its planned enforcement approach. EPA and FDA are cooperating on this effort. You can get more information at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/a010710c.html (EPA Pesticide Program Update, 7-13-01)

Monsanto hopes to introduce corn that has been genetically engineered to control corn rootworm. Rootworm control currently entails application of soil insecticides to millions of corn acres. The company is currently testing the product under an EPA Experimental Use Permit. Full registration could be granted by the 2002 growing season.

Monsanto has indicated that this type of product has the potential to displace traditionally more risky pesticide products used to control corn rootworm, such as terbufos, tefluthrin, and chlorpyrifos. Monsanto proposed that an Interim Insect Resistance Management Plan might be reasonable given the estimated level of market penetration they expect in the first two to three years following commercial launch of their product. If this is true, selection pressure for the development of corn rootworm resistance to Bt would be lower than if there was a full scale commercial launch over millions of corn acres. Monsanto is conducting or funding research regarding a number of areas that are critical to the development of a sustainable long-term insect resistance management strategy, e.g., dose, dispersal. However, this research will take at least two to four years to complete.
(OPMP Newest News, 7-12-01)

IPM Notebook

Although IPM is the buzzword for pest control in the United States, the word has not spread to the war on drugs. Last year, the United States Congress approved $1.3 billion to fund Plan Colombia, strategy to eliminate cocaine production in Colombia. Aerial spraying of glyphosate is a key element of the Plan. Many people are familiar with glyphosate as the active ingredient in the product RoundUp. As you know, glyphosate is a nonselective herbicide, which means it kills a wide variety of plants. I am no authority on the drug war, but aerial application of a nonselective herbicide to control a particular unwanted plant seems like a big mistake.

Not surprisingly, there are many reports of nontarget plants being killed, including food crops and native vegetation. Both the Columbian and U.S. governments claim that the aerial spraying caused no significant injury to the environment. I have no evidence to the contrary, but I find it difficult to believe that glyphosate could be applied by air without significant damage to the surrounding vegetation. (PANUPS, 7-11-01)

The House of Representatives has begun to discuss a school IPM amendment passed by the Senate. The chairman of a house panel expressed concern that the amendment (part of a larger education bill) would divert school resources from education into unnecessary record keeping and distribution of technical information to parents. Other panel members said the amendment might actually increase risks to children's health because of pest transmission of diseases.

Additionally, no funds are yet specified for implementation of the amendment; it could result in significant additional expenditures for schools that would undermine state enforcement of other federal pesticide requirements.

According to a pesticide activist group, the amendment will inform parents about pesticide use and risks posed by pesticides. It is also needed because of a 1999 General Accounting Office report showing 2,300 cases of pesticide-induced poisoning in schools, and inadequate data on school pesticide exposures.

Food Quality Protection Act - Reregistration

This list identifies pesticides that are likely to face reregistration activity in fiscal year 2002 (Oct. 1, 2001 - Sept. 30, 2002). These decisions may take the form of REDs, IREDs, or TREDs. Due to the dynamic nature of the review process, the Agency may identify needs for additional data, or new issues may surface, resulting in changed priorities during the year. Also, any uncompleted FY 2001 candidate pesticides will automatically become FY 2002. You can find a list of the 2001 RED/IRED/TRED candidates in previous editions of GPMN.

If you see a chemical listed that is important to your industry, get involved as soon as possible. Do not wait. Collect information about how the pesticide is used, including amounts, timing, key pests controlled, etc. Relay this information to EPA and to the pesticide registrant.

REDs (Reregistration Eligibility Decisions)

When EPA completes the review and risk management decision for a pesticide that is subject to reregistration (that is, one initially registered before November 1984), the Agency generally issues a Reregistration Eligibility Decision or RED document. The RED summarizes the risk assessment conclusions and outlines any risk reduction measures necessary for the pesticide to continue to be registered in the United States.

In addition to the RED candidates above, about 25 organophosphate pesticide Interim REDs may become final REDs in FY 2002, after the cumulative risks of the OPs have been considered.

IREDs (Interim Reregistration Eligibility Decisions)

EPA issues an IRED for a pesticide that is undergoing reregistration, requires a reregistration eligibility decision, and also must be included in a cumulative assessment under FQPA. The IRED, issued after completing the individual pesticide's risk assessment, may include taking risk reduction measures- for example, reducing risks to workers or eliminating uses that the registrant no longer wishes to maintain to gain the benefits of these changes before the final RED can be issued following the cumulative assessment.

Carbamates

Other pesticides

TREDs (Reports on FQPA Tolerance Reassessment Progress and Interim Risk Management Decisions)

EPA issues a TRED for a pesticide that requires tolerance reassessment decisions but does not require a reregistration eligibility decision at present because:

  1. the pesticide was initially registered after November 1, 1984, and by law is not included within the scope of the reregistration program;
  2. EPA completed a RED for the pesticide before FQPA was enacted on August 3, 1996;
  3. the pesticide is not registered for use in the United States, but tolerances are established that allow crops treated with the pesticide to be imported from other countries.

Like IREDs, some TREDs will not become final until EPA considers the cumulative risks of all the pesticides in the cumulative group.

Carbamates

Others Pesticides

You can find more information at www.epa.gov/pesticides

Health and the Environment

According to Fox News, the Audubon Society is twisting the truth in a campaign against lawn care pesticides. The Society reportedly claimed that New York wildlife pathologists determined pesticide poisoning to be the single leading cause of bird deaths in New York.

This statement was based on the analysis of 3,216 bird carcasses that were investigated because of concern about West Nile virus. The lab reported that West Nile virus had killed about 1200 birds and that toxins had killed about 1900 birds. Pesticides were identified in about 200 deaths, but that number included about 30 nuisance birds killed intentionally and about 100 birds killed illegally with a commercial pesticide. Lawn care pesticides may have been involved in 27 bird deaths.

The Fox News editorial contends that the Audubon statement was a deliberate falsehood to further their campaign against pesticides. You can read the Fox editorial at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,28870,00.html (Thanks to Greg Storey)

Always take reports of environmental doom and gloom with a grain of salt. Likewise, you should also be skeptical of reports that gloss over the risks associated with pesticides. Unfortunately, it has become popular to decide complicated environmental issues through public reaction instead of scientific debate.

Mexican fishermen are reportedly using pesticides illegally to ensure the catch. Langostinos are lobster-like crustaceans served primarily at high-end restaurants. As you may know, many pesticides are deadly to aquatic invertebrates. The fishermen obviously see this method as way to catch a valuable product, but they do not know (or care) about the potential health effects to customers. One of pesticides being used is classified as highly toxic by the EPA and extremely hazardous by the World Health Organization.

I have often remarked that I am relatively unconcerned about pesticide residues on food, but I draw the line at food that was killed with pesticide. There has been no statement about whether the pesticides used to catch the langostinos pose any health threat to the people who eat the crustaceans.

I do not know if you need to worry about crustaceans in your local restaurant. Your server will probably not know where the langostinos came from or how they were caught. (PANUPS, 6-29-01)

Changes in cotton production correlate with increased bird populations. Boll weevil eradication, IPM programs, and Bt cotton have resulted in a dramatic decrease in the amount and toxicity of pesticides used on cotton. In the old days, cotton was sprayed with some heavy-duty pesticides almost every week to control boll weevil and the secondary pests. The use of insecticides labeled as extremely toxic to birds has fallen by 68 percent since 1993. Use of less toxic insecticides is correlated with increased bird populations. The analysis is based on bird counts from the North American Bird Breeding Survey, Puxtent Wildlife Research Center, USGS and bird species found in cotton fields in Arizona, Texas, Georgia and Mississippi. A study of the birds in cotton fields was submitted in 1995 by American Cyanamid. Comparing the 5 years prior to the introduction of Bt cotton (1991 to 1995) with the 5 years after (1996 to 2000) shows that bird counts have increased, and more so for the states that have the higher adoption rates. Arizona had the highest increase in bird counts (38% on average) and highest adoption of Bt cotton (75%). Increases in bird counts for Mississippi (31%) and Alabama (27%) also follow adoption rankings. And Texas had the least change in bird counts (-6%) the lowest adoption rate, and the least decline in insecticide use. Although correlation does not mean that the pesticide reduction caused the increased bird populations, we are doing things better. (As IPM coordinator, I will probably claim that my program has been largely responsible for the bird increase and the pesticide reduction.) (The Newest News from OPMP, 7-12-01)

Additional labeling will be required to warn consumers of potential health effects from wood treated with chromated copper arsenicals (CCA). These chemicals are commonly used to make wood resistant to rotting and pest insects. Pressure-treated wood is widely used in outdoor applications, such as decks. As the name implies, these treatments contain arsenic.

The EPA was concerned that consumers did not realize that pressure-treated wood could contain arsenic. There are some things that you should not do with wood that contains arsenic, such as making a chew toy or a Lincoln-style baby pool.

The plan developed by the American Wood Preservers Institute (AWPI) will strengthen information available to consumers for CCA-treated wood. The expanded consumer information program begins immediately, and by early fall will include labeling on all pieces of CCA-treated lumber, in-store displays and additional information available to the public.

The Agency will hold a public meeting of the Scientific Advisory Panel during the week of October 22 to invite scientific peer review on the Agency's hazard assessment and methodologies for calculating children's potential exposure in playgrounds where equipment is made from CCA-treated wood. The children's assessment is one aspect of the Agency's comprehensive reassessment of CCA, which is currently under way and will be released for public review in 2002. EPA will also carefully evaluate the success of the voluntary consumer information program as part of the overall reassessment of CCA. While details of the upcoming meeting are not finalized, it is expected to be held in the Washington DC area. (EPA Pesticide Program Update 07/06/01)

Biotechnology

The EPA has released a revised assessment of the risks and benefits of genetically modified crops that contain Bacillus thuringiensis genes, including Bt corn, cotton, and potato. The Agency invites public comment on whether changes are needed in the regulatory terms and conditions for these products based on the revised assessment. This report analyzes potential benefits and risks these products may pose to human health, non-target species such as the Monarch butterfly, and the environment. It also reviews the available information concerning resistance management in insect pest populations.

During the past year, EPA has been conducting an exhaustive scientific assessment of registered Bt products as part of a larger process on behalf of the federal government to ensure that the use of biotechnology does not pose unreasonable risks to public health or to the environment. Continuing to review the latest ecological and human health data allows EPA to maintain the best scientific information as a foundation on which to base regulatory decisions concerning Bt products. Throughout the current assessment, EPA has considered extensive public comments, requested peer review from the Agency's independent panel of scientific experts, consulted other Federal agencies, and worked with industry, public interest groups and other concerned stakeholders.

This revised assessment will have direct bearing on how the Agency proceeds regarding the conditional Bt corn and cotton registrations, scheduled to expire on September 30. There is a 45-day comment period beginning July 17 on both the revised assessment and regulatory options EPA is considering regarding the expiring registrations.

For more information, see http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/biopesticides If you care about Bt crops, you should take the time to review the documents and comment. The area of genetic modification is very controversial; both sides of the issue need to make their voices heard. (EPA Pesticide Program Update 7-17-01)

Even if you strongly oppose genetically engineered foods, you may be unable to avoid them. According to the New York Times, more than 100 million acres were planted to biotech crops last year, a 25-fold increase from just four years ago. The United States, Brazil, and Argentina produce about 90 percent of the world's corn and soybean exports. Most bulk shipments from the United States and Argentina are already genetically engineered. Brazil is believed to have a black market in biotech soybeans, and the Brazilian government is reportedly leaning toward approval of genetically engineered crops.

Even if you buy only organic foods or products advertised as non-genetically engineered, the food may still contain biotech components. Wind can blow pollen miles from genetically engineered crops, and seeds from biotech crops may be inadvertently commingled with conventional seed. (San Antonio Express-News, 6-10-01)

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a new program to support research assessing potential risks to natural biodiversity associated with agricultural biotechnology and to design risk management strategies for developing country agricultural systems. The primary aim of the program is to fund research that is likely to inform and assist regulatory bodies in making science-base decisions about the effects on biodiversity of introducing genetically engineered organisms into the environment.

For details, visit http://www.usaid.gov/procurement_bus_opp/procurement/solicitation

Genetically engineered meat may also be on the way. Scientists have already developed a salmon that contains a promoter gene from flounder or other fish that makes the salmon grow up to six times faster than a normal salmon. Like most of the other biotech foods, there are advantages and disadvantages. For salmon farmers and consumers, the economic benefits may be substantial. There may also be environmental benefits. After all, wild salmon will be less attractive.

On the other hand, some scientists speculate that the genetically engineered salmon could wipe out some native species if they escape from the salmon farm. The biotech salmon would be sterilized, but not every salmon will be perfectly sterilized. You could envision an unusual, but possible scenario in which an imperfectly sterilized salmon escaped to a native stream. From there, you might argue that the genetically engineered salmon would take over the stream, or you may contend that the biotech fish could not compete in the wild environment.

Anyway, activist groups are already up in arms against a genetically engineered animal, particularly one that would be eaten. If you remain uniformed about the issues, you are making a big mistake. By saying nothing, you let someone else decide what is on your plate.

Here is one site with more information. There are many more. http://www.ems.org/salmon/genetically_engineered.html

Finally, I even heard that a company is seeking a patent for a genetically engineered cat. (I know this an excellent beginning of a joke, but it is true.) Many people that like cats are very allergic to them. If you could produce a cat without the allergy proteins, it could be worth a lot of money. Or suppose you could produce a kitten or puppy that never grew into a big dog . . .

If you really want to make yourself a pariah, produce a genetically engineered mink that produces fur ten times faster.

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.

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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