Georgia Pest Management NewsletterThe University of Georgia
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Cooperative Extension Service

Your source for pest management
and pesticide news

December 1998/Volume 21, no. 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


FOOD QUALITY PROTECTION ACT

We need to be organized about crop profiles prepared for FQPA
The brochure that everyone loves to hate, the FQPA consumers' right-to-know brochure, may be out by year's end.
Believe it or not, people who live on farms are more likely to be exposed to pesticides.
The EPA has published a framework that outlines nine key science policies that will assess pesticide tolerances as required by FQPA.
If you're concerned about organophosphate insecticides, you should visit these two EPA web sites.
The EPA is seeking comments on two policies that will affect FQPA: probabilistic exposure assessments and use of cholinesterase inhibition for risk assessments of organophosphate and carbamate pesticides.
Your voice is heard in Washington concerning FQPA.

PLOWING THE INTERNET

Some of my colleagues say they have a difficult time staying current with IPM.
See what USDA researchers do with your tax money.

NEW TOOLS

The USDA is developing a new biosensor to detect herbicides in water and soil.
USDA scientists have discovered that the yew contains chemicals that act synergistically with pyrethroid insecticides.

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Quick, what does the EPA consider the primary cause of surface water impairment?
Look for changes in the ways that retailers store and display pesticides
Rutgers University concluded that chronic risks for organophosphates are very low if the pesticides are used carefully
States are having a tough time implementing the Safe Drinking Water Act
Watch out for Chinese insecticide chalk

IPM NOTEBOOK

Look for a major push for IPM in Georgia schools over the next year

METHYL BROMIDE

The revised schedule for the phase-out of methyl bromide has been released

AROUND THE HOUSE

CANCELED

The EPA is going to revoke nearly 700 pesticide tolerances

If you would like to receive the Ga. Pest Management Newsletter via e-mail (instead of a hard copy), send your e-mail address to tall@bugs.ent.uga.edu Don't forget that back issues are on the Web at http://www.ces.uga.edu/ces/wnews.html

Food Quality Protection Act

We need to be organized about crop profiles prepared for FQPA. Crop profiles explain how crops are grown and why certain pesticides are important. The information contained in our crop profiles may be critical for protecting the pesticide registrations upon which we depend. I need all of the help I can get, because I am not the expert on any crop.

However, without proper communication, we may duplicate efforts and send inconsistent information to Washington. My office is preparing crop profiles; other extension specialists are working on profiles; the Ga. Farm Bureau is involved; the National Cotton Council is preparing a profile; some grower groups are writing profiles or gathering information. I afraid that we may not know what others are doing. Please contact me (706-542-9031) if your group is preparing any crop profiles. I can let you know what else is going on, and I will be glad to facilitate your efforts. I also have some funds dedicated to crop profiles.

The brochure that everyone loves to hate, the FQPA consumers' right-to-know brochure, may be out by year's end. The brochure is mandated by FQPA, and it is intended to educate consumers about the risks and benefits of pesticides on foods and to help them minimize their pesticide risks. The U.S. food supply is already the safest in the world, so food and pesticide industries are adamant that the brochure must not weaken consumer confidence. On the other hand, anti-pesticide groups want the brochure to promote organic foods. As a result, the brochure is likely to please no one. That's OK; FQPA does not require grocery stores to display the brochures. Look for them soon in the dumpster behind your local grocery.

Believe it or not, people who live on farms are more likely to be exposed to pesticides. The Natural Resources Defense Council reports that children from farm areas are exposed to more pesticides. Atrazine was detected in homes of many farms but in very few non-farm homes. Organophosphate pesticides were detected on the hands of farm children that could result in exposures above safe levels.

If you want to read the entire report, visit this web site. http://www.nrdc.org/

I do not take children's health lightly. Farm families should be very careful to keep children away from pesticides. The children of city families are at no less risk; the risks are simply different. On the farm or in the city, guard your children as carefully as you would a million dollars.

The EPA has published a framework that outlines nine key science policies that will assess pesticide tolerances as required by FQPA. The issues include 1) how to evaluate pesticide exposures from drinking water, 2) how to include residential exposures to pesticides, 3) when to apply an additional safety factor of 10X, and others. Look for opportunities to comment on theses issues over the next year. This FQPA business is serious; take the time to read the issues and make useful comments. One of EPA's goals is to make the process more 'transparent.' If you don't understand the policies, EPA is not reaching that goal. Let them know.

Visit this site to review the new policies.

http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-PEST/1998/October/Day-29/p29013.htm

If you're concerned about organophosphate insecticides, you should visit these two EPA web sites. One of them has the complete EPA health assessments for the first 16 targeted organophosphates. The second site will help you have second sight because it has information on all 40 organophosphates although all of the assessments are not complete. The time to influence government processes is EARLY in the game. If you do not make the time to review EPA documents and provide feedback, don't whine about the results.

First 16 organophosphates: http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/op

All 40: http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/op/hiarcfqp.pdf (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this publication.)

The FQPA requires EPA to reduce the safe level of pesticide by another factor of ten if children are thought to be more susceptible than adults or if important data are missing. Currently, the Agency requires companies to determine a No Observable Effect Level in laboratory animals. Then this level is reduced 100 fold to establish a safe level for humans. The EPA will not require any additional safety factor for 18 organophosphates. For the remaining 22, the Agency will require additional safety factors ranging from 3X to 10X because the literature indicates a potential risk for children or the data are incomplete. In cases where the data are incomplete, the extra safety factor may be reduced or removed with additional information.

The EPA is seeking comments on two policies that will affect FQPA: probabilistic exposure assessments and use of cholinesterase inhibition for risk assessments of organophosphate and carbamate pesticides. You can review the documents on the web (http://www.epa.gov/epahome) under Laws and Regulations or you can ask EPA to fax the documents to you. Call 202-401-0527 and select items 6021 and 6022.

Your voice is heard in Washington concerning FQPA. I received a copy of a response letter to Al Pearson, a Georgia peach grower. He had written to express his concerns about the possible loss of organophosphates. The Secretary of USDA personally ensured a response to Mr. Pearson.

Plowing the Internet

The Pesticide Manual, a world compendium (from BCPC), is available as a demonstration. If you like the demo, you can buy the CD. http://www.bcpc.org/cdrom

Some of my colleagues say they have a difficult time staying current with IPM. If you have that problem, you may want to join the IPM Net. To subscribe, send the message "subscribe" to

IPMnetNUZ@bcc.orst.edu and include an e-mail address.

A lot of people have ideas for IPM, but they do not know where to compete for funding. Don't come crying to me; hit the web. http://www.reeusda.gov/agsys/ipm/funding.htm

See what USDA researchers do with your tax money.

http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/key.htm

Believe it or not, some pesticide companies do not tell the complete truth about their products. Two University of Iowa weed scientists have established an "Herbicide Advertisement Hall of Shame" web site.

http://www.weeds.iastate.edu/weednews/adhallofshame.htm

New Tools

Mating disruption may be a good way to reduce the use of pesticides, but how do the costs compare with pesticides? A farm advisor for pears in of central California offers an interesting comparison even though it is based on his particular circumstances. In his case, the costs were equivalent. The main benefit was that mating disruption conserved beneficial insects that could reduce pest control costs for other pests. (Pear-a-graphs, 10-98)

The USDA is developing a new biosensor to detect herbicides in water and soil. If the sample contains herbicide, it will react with the biosensor and inhibit the production of oxygen. An electrode reads the oxygen levels and sends the data to a computer. Scientist hope that a small, commercial version will be available in two or three years. For more information, contact A.K. Mattoo. (301-504-7380 or amattoo@asrr.arsusda.gov) Agric. Research, 11-98

USDA scientists have discovered that the yew contains chemicals that act synergistically with pyrethroid insecticides. Pyrethroids are commonly combined with synergists (typically piperonyl butoxicide) to enhance their activity against insects. Yew is complicated, so it may take a few years to discover the particular chemicals responsible for the synergism. Contact R.P. Doss for more details (541-750-8773 or dossr@bcc.orst.edu) Agricultural Research, 11-98

A film made from kaolin particles repels some pests and may help prevent plant diseases. Pests may be repelled by the film, or they may not recognize the host plant. The mineral particles are approved for use in organic production in some states. The product may be available commercially in 1999. Get more information from D.M. Glenn (304-725-3451, mglenn@afrs.ars.usda.gov) or G.J. Puterka gputerka@afrs.ars.usda.gov) Agricultural Research, 11-98

Betterbee Inc. has obtained the license for a formic acid gel that killed up 84% of varroa mites and 100% of tracheal mites in field tests. The product was developed by USDA to help beekeepers control their new archenemy. The application is simple; open a plastic bag of the gel and place it in the hive. The company must still have EPA approval to market the product. Contact H. Shimanuki (301-504-8975, hshimanu@asrr.arsusda.gov) to find out more.

Health and the Environment

Quick, what does the EPA consider the primary cause of surface water impairment? If you answered pesticides, you are probably not alone, but you are wrong. Soil erosion is doing the most damage to our surface waters. Ironically, some pesticides can greatly help to reduce soil erosion because they make no-till and reduced-tillage agriculturally feasible.

First, they tell you not to eat food with pesticides on it; now, organic foods are not safe either? Some experts will tell you that organic foods may be more dangerous that conventionally grown foods because of potential contamination with E. coli. In many cases, 'organic' means that the foods were grown with animal manures instead of chemical fertilizers. Animal manure is the primary reservoir for a virulent strain of E. coli. The Center for Disease Control confirmed nearly 2,500 cases of the virulent strain in 1996, along with 250 deaths. Although organic foods made up 1% of the U.S. food supply, organics were implicated in 8% of the confirmed cases.

Organic foods are more likely to be contaminated with fungal toxins (e.g., aflatoxin), according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Unpasteurized milks and juices are more likely to be contaminated with bacteria. Organic producers may exacerbate the problems because they typically do not use chlorinated water or other disinfectants before their products are sold.

I am not condemning organic foods, and the risks from pesticides may be reduced by consuming organically-grown products. I want you to realize that organic production does not eliminate food risks, and some risks are increased. In an old song, the man was finally reduced to only 'a small drink of water in a sterilized glass'; then someone pointed out that the water had carcinogens in it (thanks to Bobby Bear). (Global Food Quarterly, Summer 1998)

The EPA is changing the way that pesticide labels refer to respirator classifications, and some older respirator classifications will be phased out. If you need to know more, hit the web. http://www.epa.gov/opppmsd1/PR_Notices/

The European Union plans to establish a 0.01 mg/kg limit for all pesticides in baby food. Baby food makers say that the new limit would not be a problem because they are already in compliance. Pesticide and Tox. Chem. News, 10-29-98

From a survey in the United Kingdom, nearly 60% of consumers want grocery stores to stop selling genetically engineered foods. The European Union already requires manufacturers to label all products that contain genetically engineered commodities, except soy lecithin and soybean oil. These two exceptions would mean that most products with genetically engineered components would not be identified. About 2/3 of processed foods contain some soy component, but genetically engineered soybeans are mixed with regular soybeans.

The United Kingdom has also announced a year ban on the commercial introduction of genetically engineered crops. During the next year, a governmental committee and a panel of experts will examine issues related to genetically engineered crops. Pesticide & Tox. Chem. News, 10-29-98

Look for changes in the ways that retailers store and display pesticides. Every pesticide must carry the warning "Keep out of reach of children," but what does this phrase require of retail outlets? The EPA regional office is proposing a policy that would require stores to keep pesticides more than four feet from the floor unless children could not open the package. The new scrutiny is the result of recent accidents, including an incident in which a 2 year-old girl sprayed a pesticide into her eyes at a retail store.

Rutgers University concluded that chronic risks for organophosphates are very low if the pesticides are used carefully. Richard Fenske examined 57 tree fruit producers who had used organophosphates for many years without an incident of acute poisoning. The subjects were tested on concentration, memory, language skills, and coordination. They found no meaningful difference between lifetime applicators of organophosphates and other farmers or hardware store owners (the control group). So, if you have been using organophosphates carefully your whole life, don't worry (unless your hardware man is in bad shape). Agrichemical & Environ. News 11-98

States are having a tough time implementing the Safe Drinking Water Act. The 1996 act introduced many new requirements, and most state offices are short of money and personnel. Without additional help, a number of states will not be able to meet Congressional and EPA deadlines. If you are interested in water policies and programs, visit the EPA web compendium at http://www.epa.gov/ow/compendium.html

Watch out for Chinese insecticide chalk. 'Pretty Baby Chalk,' 'Chinese Chalk,' and Miraculous Insecticide Chalk' are imported illegally and sold in the U.S. The products contain several different insecticides. The chalk is supposed to kill insects that crawl across lines. Unfortunately, children occasionally eat chalk; at least two children have been poisoned. You can probably find these products and other pesticides on the web. The web is a great source for many products, but do not buy pesticides over the web unless you know the product has been approved for use in your state.

Pesticide and Tox. Chem. News, 11-19-98

IPM Notebook

IPM is sort of like learning to kiss; you are often unsure if you are 'doing it right.' If you want to know if you are 'doing it,' have a look at the Proceedings from the IPM Measurement Systems Workshop. Also watch for a new cotton IPM measurement tool from the University of Georgia Extension Service. http://farm.fic.niu.edu/cae/wp/sp98-1/index.htm

Look for a major push for IPM in Georgia schools over the next year. In cooperation with the Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation (LEAF), we have completed a pesticide/IPM survey of Georgia school systems. Additionally, the Georgia Pest Control Association (GPCA) has released an official statement in support of IPM in schools. GPCA, LEAF, and my office are making IPM in schools a priority for 1999. It is a good idea. It will reduce the risks of pesticides to our school children and personnel. With a pro active program, we hope to minimize the pesticide risks in schools without resorting to IPM legislation.

Methyl Bromide

The revised schedule for the phase-out of methyl bromide has been released. The U.S. was scheduled to phase-out methyl bromide completely in just a couple of years, but other countries were not on the same schedule. The U.S. production and importation of methyl bromide will be reduced by 25% in 1999, 50% in 2001, 70% in 2003, and 100% in 2005. Preshipment and quarantine uses are exempt, and there is a provision to continue 'critical agricultural uses' beyond 2005. In other words, don't kiss methyl bromide good-bye until it going out the door. For details, visit http://www.epa.gov/ozone/mbr/harmoniz.html

This announcement raised mixed emotions. I support a level playing field for American growers, but changing the deadline could greatly reduce the incentive for research into methyl bromide alternatives. We may create 'critical agricultural uses,' because no one sees a strong economic incentive to develop other alternatives. The new regulations have not changed the need for a serious search for alternatives.

Around the House

The Federal Trade Commission and eight state attorneys general have charged that United Industries has not played fairly with consumers regarding Terminate. Terminate is marketed as the first 'do-it-yourself' termite control kit; it sells for about $60-$100. According to the company, you simply stick the Terminate stakes into the ground, and your home is protected from termites. It sounds too good to be true.

The FTC complaint alleges the company cannot substantiate claims that Terminate alone can prevent termite infestations or eliminate active infestations. Additionally, the company advertises that the homeowner has only to place the stakes into the ground. In reality, the homeowner must inspect the stakes periodically. The company also failed to disclose that the stakes do not work against drywood or Formosan termites.

Visit http://www.ftc.gov/os/1998/9810/unitedcomp.htm for all of the details.

If you have been using Terminate around your home, you should contact your retailer. If Terminate has been your only protection from termites, you should have your home inspected by a professional.

Canceled

The EPA is going to revoke nearly 700 pesticide tolerances. The associated registered uses for these pesticides have been canceled for more than a year. However, you may still try to preserve any of these tolerances if you respond by December 28, 1998. You may review a list of the proposed revocations in three ways. Visit this web site: http://www.epa.gov/epahome/rules.html (The rule was published 10/26/98). Look in the Federal register: vol. 63, no. 206, pp. 57062-57077. Call me (706-542-9031), and I will send you a copy. Contact Joseph Nevola at EPA for more information (703-308-8037).

These revocations are part of the EPA's responsibility under FQPA to review all 9,700 pesticide tolerances by August 2006. The EPA hopes to have one third of the tolerances reviewed by August 1999. The first third includes pesticides that appear to have the greatest potential risks for human health.

The EPA changed the final date for using vinclozolin on strawberries and stone fruits to January 30, 2000. FR, 11-4-98

 

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/ces/wnews.html

Sincerely:

Paul Guillebeau, Assistant Professor & Extension Entomologist