Georgia Pest Management Newsletter, June 1999

The University of Georgia
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Cooperative Extension Service





Your source for pest management and pesticide news







June 1999/Volume 22, no. 6






sunshine graphic

 

BIOTECHNOLOGY

In the May 20 issue of Nature, Cornell researchers report that pollen from Bt corn will kill the caterpillars of monarch butterflies
The largest supermarket chain in Spain is phasing out the use of genetically modified ingredients in all of their store-brand products
The British Medical Association is calling for extensive testing and surveillance of genetically modified organisms
It will not be possible to properly regulate genetically engineered organisms without precise definition
The EPA and USDA will host a Bt resistance workshop focused on Bt corn
National action on genetically engineered crops varies around the world
American farmers need to beware of getting caught in the middle of the biotechnology controversy

PLOWING THE INTERNET

Many pesticide companies are now listing labels, MSDS, and other information on the Web
EPA manual 'Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings'

FOOD QUALITY PROTECTION ACT

How many times have you said, 'If I was running the government ...
The EPA wants public comments regarding risk management for Azinphos-Methyl
July 26 deadline to comment on EPA use of Pesticide Data Program data in Acute Dietary Risk Assessments
July 26 deadline to comment on the Preliminary Risk Assessment of Phostebupirim
You probably know where Monte Carlo is, but you may not know how EPA uses Monte Carlo
A little while back, the Consumers' Union published their analysis of pesticide risks on foods
There is at least one bill moving through Congress to revise the Food Quality Protection Act
Look for EPA to increase tolerance fees in response to FQPA

CANCELED

July 20 deadline to object to tolerance revocations for monocrotophos
Proposed Tolerance Revocation: Formaldehyde
Proposed Tolerance Revocation: Carbaryl, Diazinon, Disulfoton, Ethoprop and Parathion
Voluntary Cancellation: Isofenphos

NEW TOOLS

EthylBloc Registered as Reduced-Risk Pesticide

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

According to the American Council on Science and Health, common pollutants in house dust may increase the toxicity of chlorpyrifos
Believe it or not, there is a market for organically grown tobacco
It would be useful for all developed countries to develop a single health standard for pesticides or other contaminants
The discovery of atrazine in drinking water has caused considerable public anxiety
"Bureaucracy at its best"


 

Biotechnology

In the May 20 issue of Nature, Cornell researchers report that pollen from Bt corn will kill the caterpillars of monarch butterflies. The scientists dusted milkweed leaves with pollen from Bt corn. Nearly half of the larvae died within four days. Ordinary corn pollen seemed to have little or no effect on the caterpillars.ear of corn graphicAlthough simple on the surface, this finding raises interesting debate. The genes from Bt that are placed in corn encode proteins that are supposed to kill caterpillars. Although the Bt insertions are intended to kill pest species, it is no surprise that other caterpillars are killed as well.

However, some groups are going to magnify the importance of this unintended effect. They will use the information to argue that biotechnology should not be used because it is killing the beloved monarch and unknown others; some groups are already calling it a choice between monarchs and Bt corn. Others will point out that Bt is replacing the use of broad-spectrum chemical pesticides that were killing even more nontarget species. It is also important to note that loss of habitat is probably the most important factor in the decline of monarch populations.

Understandably, the professional corn growers associations and biotechnology industries are downplaying the findings. They argue that monarch larvae have finished development before corn pollinates and that very little pollen lands on milkweed near cornfields. Therefore, the pollen from Bt crops is not something that should overly concern the public.

Keep in mind the importance of public opinion. If the public decides that biotechnology is 'bad', a library of scientific studies may be insufficientcornucopia graphic to successfully market genetically engineered products. When I was child, there was a very successful candy that crackled in your mouth. A rumor began to circulate that a child had died from swallowing the candy. Although this information was not true, this candy was withdrawn from the market and never resurfaced. Both the pro biotechnology groups and the anti biotechnology groups are trying to recruit public opinion for their point of view.

Now, the stakes are much larger than a new candy. Society can realize tremendous benefits from genetic engineering. We can make great strides away from some dangerous chemical pesticides. The public needs to take the time to understand the debate instead of forming opinions based upon celebrity sound-bytes or emotional rhetoric.

On the other hand, genetically engineered crops are being planted over millions of acres (approximately one-half of U.S. soybeans, 7 million acres of Bt corn last year) without clear understanding or explanation of the potential risks. Did the registrants of Bt corn not know that Bt corn pollen could injure nontargets, or did they not make it clear to the public? Either scenario can make people feel uncomfortable with new technology.

The well-fed American public is often overly quick to condemn agricultural practices, such as pesticides, that carry human and environmental risks. The truth is that the United States cannot produce our current abundant and inexpensive food supply without using technology. Pesticides carry risks, and genetic engineering carries risk. However, the greatest risk may be not utilizing new technology to feed the world. The population continues to expand and before we save the monarchs, the whales, the rivers, and the rain forests, we must feed the children. By using new agricultural technology wisely, we have the opportunity to feed the world and maintain the environment.monarch butterfly

It is interesting to speculate about reactions if the nontarget had not been the monarch, a species well known and beloved by millions. Would anyone care if the Bt corn pollen killed some of those nondescript moths that you find in the light fixtures in your home?

Some of this information came from Pesticide & Toxic Chemical News (5-27-99). The opinions are strictly my own.

The largest supermarket chain in Spain (the stores are mainly in the plain) is phasing out the use of genetically modified ingredients in all of their store-brand products. (ACCES-Pesticides, 6-99) The marketplace drives pest management more strongly than regulation. The supermarket will stock what the customers want to buy.

The British Medical Association is calling for extensive testing and surveillance of genetically modified organisms. (Pesticide & Tox. Chem. News, 5-2-99)

questioning manIt will not be possible to properly regulate genetically engineered organisms without precise definition. How do you define a genetically engineered organism?

  1. Is it one achieved by gene manipulation? Then nearly all life would qualify.
  2. Would you define it according to the number of genes transferred? Traditional breeding typically moves many more genes at one time.
  3. Something that would never naturally occur? Hardly any of our modern food crops would have ever evolved without the constant direction of plant breeders.
  4. A new plant that has unpredictable health and environmental impacts? Traditional plant breeding often transfers a number of unknown genes. How can we predict their effects?
  5. Something that's just not 'natural'? Seedless oranges may not be considered 'natural.'

Be careful of lumping all genetic engineering into one opinion. It is a very broad field. Some areas will yield tremendous benefits. Other areas may hold tremendous hazard. Be wary of allowing your favorite celebrity to form your opinion. They may know even less about biotechnology than they do about shaving cream.

The EPA and USDA will host a Bt resistance workshop focused on Bt corn on Friday, June 18, from 8 am - 5:30 pm, at the Holiday Innmeeting group O'Hare International (888-642-7344).

You can get all of the details on the Web. http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/biopesticides/btworkshop618.htm

There will a similar workshop later in the summer focusing on cotton.

world graphicNational action on genetically engineered crops varies around the world. Brazil has ended its ban on the sale of genetically engineered crops. Russia will allow food imports if they pass a series of safety tests. An activist group in Portugal is pushing for labeling of genetically engineered foods. Australia plans to establish a national regulator of gene technology. The United States is seeking candidates to serve on a USDA advisory committee concerning ag. biotechnology. (Pesticide & Tox. Chem. News, 5-26-99)

American farmers need to beware of getting caught in the middle of the biotechnology controversy. Companies with investments intractor graphic genetic engineering need to sell seed. The advantages to the growers are obvious. You may need to spray less insecticide, or you may be able to use a more convenient herbicide because it won't harm these genetically engineered plants. Conversely, growers need to sell their crops. What if there is a serious consumer backlash against genetically engineered crops? Don't expect the seed company to refund the money or buy your harvest. Farmers seem to get the short end of the stick too often.

Plowing the Internet

http://www.CDMS.net/pfa/LUpdateMsg.asp offers 1,000 or more pesticide labels and MSDS from a range of companies. Daily updates. Thanks to ACCESS-Pesticides.

Many pesticide companies are now listing labels, MSDS, and other information on the Web. Thanks to Dan Horton for this list. I have not visited all of these sites, but some of the addresses probably work. Even a blind hog finds an acorn now and then.



AgrEvo USA http://www.agrevo.com/Default.htm Helena http://www.helenachemical.com/
American Cyanamid http://www.cyanamid.com/ Monsanto http://www.monsanto.com/
BASF http://www.basf.com/ Riverdale http://www.riverdalecc.com/
Bayer usagri.bayer.com Rohm & Haas http://www.rohmhaas.com/
Dow http://www.dowagro.com/ Terra http://www.terraindustries.com/
DuPont www.dupont.com/ag/us Uniroyal http://www.uniroyalchemical.com/
Elf Atochem http://www.elf-atochem.com/ Valent http://www.valent.com/
FMC ag.fmc.com Wilfarm http://www.wilfarm.com/
Gowan http://www.gowanco.com/ Zeneca http://www.zenecaagproducts.com/
Griffin http://www.griffinllc.com/  

computer graphic

You can also see the Crop Protection & Turf/Ornamental Reference from C&P Press

www.greenbook.net/free.asp
bluebooktor.com/free_b.asp

EPA manual 'Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings'

www.epa.gov/pesticides/safety/healthcare

I have the book. If you feel really bad, you can call me.

Food Quality Protection Act

How many times have you said, 'If I was running the government . . . ' Guess what? You do run the government. All you have to do isman and pencil graphic participate.

The EPA wants public comments regarding risk management for Azinphos-Methyl; the comment period is open until July 19. You can review the azinphos-methyl risk assessment at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/op/azm.htm

Or you contact: Karen Angulo at 703-308-8004 or angulo.karen@epa.gov

July 26 deadline to comment on EPA use of Pesticide Data Program data in Acute Dietary Risk Assessments.

This notice is the eighth in a series concerning science policy documents related to the Food Quality Protection Act. The EPA has identified a statistical method for applying existing information from the USDA Pesticide Data Program (PDP) to risk assessments of the acute exposure to pesticide residues in food. Visit http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/ for a copy of the notice, draft science paper and related documents. Search under EPA-PEST, May 26, 1999, and select the title, Pesticides; Policy Issues Related to the Food Quality Protection Act.

Contact: Kathleen Martin at 703-305-5147 or martin.kathleen@epa.gov

Don't visit the site and simply comment, 'This is dumb.' The EPA needs constructive comments to improve the process. However, the EPA is trying to make the processes more transparent. If you do not understand what is going on, let them know.

July 26 deadline to comment on the Preliminary Risk Assessment of Phostebupirim (Tebupirimfos). Comments may provide additional data to calendar graphicfurther refine the assessment, such as percent crop treated or residue data from food processing studies. Comments also may address the risk assessment methodologies and assumptions as applied to this specific chemical. For a copy of this preliminary assessment and related documents, go to http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/op/phostebupirim.htm

Or contact: Karen Angulo at 703-308-8004 or angulo.karen@epa.gov

You probably know where Monte Carlo is, but you may not know how EPA uses Monte Carlo to estimate dietary exposure to pesticides.

There are two basic models for evaluating dietary risks.veggie and fruit graphic

  1. Non-probabilistic. This model assumes that every fruit or vegetable has a high residue of pesticide. According to this model, if you eat any piece of fruit or vegetable, you are exposed to a high residue of pesticide.
  2. Probabilistic. No one really believes that every fruit/vegetable has a high residue of pesticide, but the EPA did not know exactly what residues occurred on every fruit/vegetable that someone might consume. A more realistic estimate would also include the possibility that any particular fruit or vegetable might have a low or high pesticide residue.

The Monte-Carlo Method assumes that any particular fruit/vegetable can have residues anywhere in the range of residues that have been observed. Therefore, your risk of consuming a high pesticide residue depends on how much fruit/vegetable you eat and how often high residues occur on the fruit/vegetable you eat.

This method is better, but there is debate about where to draw the risk line. Do you protect the average person who eats two apples per week, the person who eats five apples per week, or the very rare person who eats ten or more apples per week?

Blended commodities are somewhat easier. Individual apples may have low, medium, or high residues. However, if you make applesauce out of all of them, you can assume some average residue level for the entire batch.

A little while back, the Consumers' Union published their analysis of pesticide risks on foods. I may not be an expert on toxicology, but I knowman screaming graphic who is. Please read the following excerpts from a letter that The Society of Toxicology sent Carol Browner (Administrator of EPA). 'We submit that the methodology used to determine the toxicity index is scientifically invalid. Well-known principles of toxicology based on the need to consider dose and duration of chemical exposure are ignored or misrepresented by Consumers' Union. . . . we believe that the Consumers' Union report's conclusions concerning the dangers of pesticides in food are not credible and are unnecessarily alarmist.' (Chemically Speaking, 5-99)

Historically, I have depended on Consumers' Union to provide unbiased information about a wide variety of consumer products. The Society of Toxicology seems to state clearly, however, that the Union has gone beyond their expertise in the evaluation of the risk of pesticide safety on foods.

There is at least one bill moving through Congress to revise the Food Quality Protection Act. Before you shout Hurray and call your Congressman, remember how we got in this mess. We (agriculture) were too anxious to get rid of the Delaney clause, and public action groups realized how anxious we were. They traded the Delaney clause for what they wanted, and we bit like a starving catfish. As a result, both the House and the Senate passed FQPA unanimously and just look what we have now. Who would have thought that Delaney would be the 'good old days'? If we are not careful, the public action groups will stick us again. Although I disagree with many of their views and tactics, they are not stupid.

money graphicLook for EPA to increase tolerance fees in response to FQPA. According to Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News (5-13-99), average fees will increase substantially. The EPA expects the increased fee to be weighted toward the first registered use. Existing fees do not cover the cost of doing business, and FQPA will increase the cost of EPA business.

Canceled

July 20 deadline to object to tolerance revocations for monocrotophos.

Although this pesticide has not been registered in the United States since 1991, foods could be imported with residues. As of December 31, 2000, our foreign competitors will no longer be able to legally use monocrotophos on foods shipped to the U.S. (FR, 4-21-99)

Proposed Tolerance Revocation: Formaldehyde wheat graphic

EPA proposes to revoke a tolerance exemption for residues of formaldehyde or a mixture of methylene bispropionate and oxy(bismethylene) bispropionate in or on grains of barley, corn, oats, sorghum and wheat; as well as the forages of alfalfa, Bermuda grass, bluegrass, brome grass, clover, cowpea hay, fescue, lespedeza, lupines, orchard grass, peanut hay, peavine hay, rye grass, soybean hay, sudan grass, timothy and vetch from post-harvest application as a fungicide to treat animal feeds. There are currently no registered uses for formaldehyde on these commodities. (FR, 5-22-99)

design graphicProposed Tolerance Revocation: Carbaryl, Diazinon, Disulfoton, Ethoprop and Parathion

July 23 comment deadline on proposed revocations of the tolerances associated with some canceled pesticide uses and regulatory rearrangements. Interested parties may wish to support retention of a tolerance so treated commodities may be legally imported.

Agricultural sites affected:

Carbaryl - avocados and maple sap (result of voluntary cancellations);

Diazinon - birdsfoot trefoil and its hay, grass and its hay, olives, peanuts and its forage and hay, pecans, soybeans and its forage, and sugarcane (result of voluntary cancellations); beans hay and forage, guar beans forage, and pineapple forage (not considered significant animal feed items); boysenberries and dewberries (covered by tolerance for blackberries);

Disulfoton - foliage of pineapples (not considered significant animal feed item);

Ethoprop - forage of lima and snap beans, fodder and forage of pineapple, and forage of sugarcane (not considered significant animal feed items);

Parathion - boysenberries and youngberries (covered by tolerance for blackberries).

The revocations on disulfoton, ethoprop and parathion are regulatory adjustments and apparently will not affect the continued use of registered uses on affected crops. (FR, 5-24-99)

Contact: Amy Caicedo at 703-308-9399 or caicedo.amy@epa.gov.

Voluntary Cancellation: Isofenphos (Oftanol)

EPA canceled all registrations of isofenphos, at the request of the registrant. The effective cancellation date of the last isofenphos end-use product, Oftanol 2 (EPA Reg. No. 3125-342), is September 30, 1999. This insecticide/miticide was registered for use on ornamental flowering plants, woody shrubs, turf and trees. Notice was given here and in the Federal Register (64 FR 2642) of the initial request by Bayer for voluntary cancellation. Existing stocks of Oftanol 2 may be sold or distributed by registrants until September 30, 2000, and sold, distributed or used by others after that date.

Contact: Philip Poli at 703-308-8038 or poli.philip@epa.gov.flowers in vase

New Tools

EthylBloc Registered as Reduced-Risk Pesticide.

EPA approved registration of EthylBloc as a new reduced-risk biological pesticide. EthylBloc is a plant growth regulator designed for commercial use in confined areas to extend the life of fresh cut flowers and potted flowering, bedding, nursery and foliage plants. Plants can be treated in enclosed areas such as rooms, coolers, greenhouses, truck trailers and shipping containers.

Contact: Brian Steinwand at 703-308-7973.

Health and the Environment

cigar graphicAccording to the American Council on Science and Health, common pollutants in house dust may increase the toxicity of chlorpyrifos. Pyrene, benzopyrene, fluoranthene, and anthracene will increase the activity of a commonly used pesticide. All four pollutants are very common in house dust. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 5-6-99)

Believe it or not, there is a market for organically grown tobacco. Farmers follow standard organic dogma: no synthetic fertilizers and only approved pesticides. The growers are paid a premium for the product. (Southeast Farm Press, 5-19-99)

It would be useful for all developed countries to develop a single health standard for pesticides or other contaminants; look at the disparity for dioxin. Here is the lifetime dioxin dose that would cause an additional cancer beyond one person in one million (units in picograms/kilogram of body weight/day



U.S. EPA 0.006 New York 2.0 map graphic
Cal EPA 0.007 Netherlands 4.0
U.S. CDC 0.03 Canada 10.0
Germany 1.0


This disparity illustrates the difficulty associated with developing a unique number associated with a rare event (like cancer). This mix also includes the differing politics and action groups among different countries.

The discovery of atrazine in drinking water has caused considerable public anxiety; research has provided some answers. Some of the results may seem obvious, but these discoveries apply to many pesticides.

According to USDA research:glass with ice graphic

  1. leaching does occur but less than we thought based on research from the 1980's.
  2. most atrazine remains in the top 15 cm of soil, which reduces risk to groundwater.
  3. populations of bacteria that break down atrazine increase as atrazine use continues.
  4. atrazine seldom reached groundwater in ridge-till systems.
  5. atrazine can move rapidly in sandy, low-organic matter soils, especially if irrigated.
  6. banding reduces the rate and the potential for leaching and off-site movement.
  7. improved irrigation practices reduce the risk of atrazine contamination of water.

"Bureaucracy at its best"

Noah's ark graphicThe Lord spoke to Noah and said, "Noah, in six months I am going to make it rain until the whole world is covered with water and all the evil things are destroyed. But, I want to save a few good people and two of every living thing on the planet. I am ordering you to build an ark." And, with a flash of lightning, He delivered the specifications for the ark. "OK," Noah said, trembling with fear and fumbling with the blueprints. "I'm your man." "Six months and it starts to rain," thundered the Lord. "You'd better have my ark completed or learn to swim for a long, long time!"

Six months passed, the sky began to cloud up, and the rain began to fall in torrents. The Lord looked down and saw Noah sitting in his yard, weeping, and there was no ark. "Noah!" shouted the Lord, "Where is my ark?" A lightning bolt crashed to the ground right beside Noah. "Lord, please forgive me!" begged Noah. "I did my best, but there were some big problems. First, I had to get a building permit for the ark's construction, but your plans did not meet their code. So, I had to hire an engineer to redo the plans, only to get into a long argument with him about whether to include a fire-sprinkler system. My neighbors objected, claiming that I was violating zoning ordinances by building the ark in my front yard, so I had to get a variance from the city planning board. Then, I had a big problem getting enough wood for the ark, because there was a ban on cutting trees to save the spotted owl. I tried to convince the environmentalists and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that I needed the wood to save the owls, but they wouldn't let me catch them, so no owls."

"Next, I started gathering up the animals but got sued by an animal rights group that objected to my taking along only two of each kind. Just when the suit was dismissed, the EPA notified me that I couldn't complete the ark without filing an environmental impact statement on your proposed flood. They didn't take kindly to the idea that they had no jurisdiction over the conduct of a Supreme Being."

"Then, the Corps of Engineers wanted a map of the proposed flood plan. I sent them a globe! Right now, I'm still trying to resolve a complaint with the EPA about waste disposal. The IRS has seized all my assets claiming that I am trying to leave the country, and I just got a notice from the state that I owe some kind of use tax. Really, I don't think I can finish the ark in less than five years."

With that, the sky cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow arched across the sky. Noah looked up and smiled. "You mean you are not going to destroy the world?" he asked hopefully.

"No," said the Lord, "The government already has."


 

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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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
The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences