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

Your source for pest management and pesticide news

March 2004/Volume 27, No. 3

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

The Georgia Department of Agriculture has issued a quarantine against all nursery plants from California
A tiny insect threatens to wipe out hemlock trees
National Poison Prevention Week is March 21-27
These simple steps can help you save children from environmental hazards around the home

FEDERAL NEWS

The EPA is calling for comments regarding the preliminary risk assessment for workers exposed to arsenic and/or chromium wood preservatives

BIOTECHNOLOGY

In a new development in the biotech battle, Mendocino County (CA) has banned "propagation, cultivation, raising and growing of genetically modified organisms in Mendocino County."
If you want to know how the U.S. federal government regulates biotech products, here is a website for you
In January, the USDA announced its plans to update and strengthen regulation of biotech organisms in relation to importation, interstate shipment, and environmental releases
Have you ever considered genetically engineered foods from a religious perspective?
New rules regarding labeling of genetically modified exports may hamper U.S. agriculture
Great Britain is likely to approve planting genetically modified corn for animal feed in 2005

NEWS YOU CAN USE

Here is an interesting web site that can help you properly dispose of hazardous materials
Phosphine products will carry revised labeling
Georgia Clean Day is coming to the Tombs County area April 7
This web site will help you understand how to safely and legally transport farm chemicals

CANCELLED

The Georgia Department of Agriculture notified us that EPA would not approve a 24(c) registration for Aim EC to control weeds in corn

DON'T DO IT

The EPA is working to stop the sale of counterfeit pesticides for dogs and cats


Health and the Environment

The Georgia Department of Agriculture has issued a quarantine against all nursery plants from California. A serious fungal disease, Sudden Oak Death (Phytophthora ramorum) was discovered at one nursery that commonly ships to Georgia. Regulators are concerned that the disease may also be present at other nurseries that ship to the Southeast. Sudden Oak Death affects oaks and other plants including azaleas, rhododendrons, maples, beeches and buckeyes. 

The Department of Agriculture reports that Sudden Oak Death has the potential to be more devastating than Chestnut Blight, which wiped out virtually all stands of the native American chestnut in the 1930s.

If you buy plants privately, please do not import plants from California until we can fully evaluate this threat. You can find out more about Sudden Oak Death from the California Cooperative Extension Service http://cemarin.ucdavis.edu/index2.html.

A tiny insect threatens to wipe out hemlock trees. The hemlock wooly adelgid has already killed thousands of trees along the east coast of the United States, and the pest has already become established in Georgia. The insects look like bits of cotton attached to the underside of the leaves. A toxin released as the adelgids feed kills many trees within a few years.

According to our forest entomologists, adelgids are not difficult to control in an urban situation. Systemic insecticides like wooly adelgid on hemlockimidacloprid are effective when applied to the soil. If the tree can be sprayed effectively, it is also possible to control adelgids with horticultural oils applied during the winter. If you are particularly observant, you could control the adelgids with a variety of insecticides directed at the vulnerable crawler stage. The crawlers are tiny and typically occur in the spring and late summer.

Controlling adelgids in the forest is much more difficult because it is not possible to apply pesticides to large areas of the forest. The National Park Service reports that 80 percent of the hemlocks in Virginia's Shenandoah National Park have been killed by the hemlock wooly adelgid. A related species, balsam wooly adelgid, has killed about 80 percent of the Fraser firs in the Smokies.

The best hope for control of hemlock wooly adelgid in the forest is a tiny ladybird beetle, Pseudoscymnus tsugae, that feeds on adelgids. The beetles are being produced and released as quickly as possible, but the beetles are difficult to rear. The environmental conditions must be carefully controlled, and the beetles will only eat live adelgids. Four labs in the eastern Untied States each produce from 50,000 to 200,000 beetles per year. We hope that the beetles will become established in the forest and suppress adelgid populations. You can find more information about adelgids at this U.S. Forest Service web site. http://www.fs.fed.us/na/morgantown/fhp/hwa/hwasite.html (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 3-15-04)

National Poison Prevention Week is March 21-27. (If you plan to poison someone, you should plan around those dates.) However, if you wish to avoid poisoning, review your household situation. U.S. Poison Control centers receive a call about accidental poisoning about every 15 seconds; and 40 percent of the calls involve a child under 3 years old. More than half of the two million annual poisonings reportedly involve children under 6.

These tips from EPA can help you avoid tragedy in your home.

These simple steps can help you save children from environmental hazards around the home:

 

1. Always store pesticides and other household chemicals, including chlorine bleach, out of children's reach -- preferably in a locked cabinet.

-

2. Read the Label FIRST! Pesticide products, household cleaning products, and pet products can be dangerous or ineffective if too much or too little is used.

-
 

3. Before applying pesticides or other household chemicals, remove children and their toys, as well as pets, from the area. Keep children and pets away until the pesticide has dried or as long as is recommended on the label.

 

4. If your use of a pesticide or other household chemical is interrupted (perhaps by a phone call), properly re-close the container and remove it from children's reach. Always use household products in child-resistant packaging.

-
 

5. Never transfer pesticides to other containers that children may associate with food or drink (like soda bottles), and never place rodent or insect baits where small children can get to them.

 

6. When applying insect repellents to children, read all directions first; do not apply over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin; do not apply to eyes, mouth, hands, or directly on the face; and use just enough to cover exposed skin or clothing, but do not use under clothing.

-
 

7. Many homes built before 1978 have lead-based paint. If you plan to remodel or renovate, get your home tested. Don't try to remove lead paint yourself.

 

8. Ask about lead when buying or renting a home. Sellers and landlords must disclose known lead hazards in houses or apartments built before 1978.

-
 

9. Get your child tested for lead. There are no visible symptoms of lead poisoning, and children may suffer behavior or learning problems as a result of exposure to lead hazards.

 

10. Wash children's hands, toys, and bottles often. Regularly clean floors, windowsills, and other surfaces to reduce possible exposure to lead and pesticide residues.

For more information about pesticides, call the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) at 1-800-858-7378. To order publications, call the National Service Center for Environmental Publications at 1-(800) 490-9198 or fax at 1-513-489-8695. Please be sure to note the document title when ordering through NSCEP.

For more information about lead, and testing your child or home call the National Lead Information Center at 1-(800) 424-LEAD, or visit http://www.epa.gov/lead. Additional information on Poison Prevention Week is available on EPA's Web site at http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/cb/csb_page/updates/ppweek-lockit.htm and on the National Poison Prevention Week Council's Web site at http://www.poisonprevention.org/.

Federal News

The EPA is calling for comments regarding the preliminary risk assessment for workers exposed to arsenic and/or chromium wood preservatives. The assessment includes chromated copper arsenate (CCA), ammoniacal copper zinc arsenate (ACZA), and ammoniacal copper arsenate (ACA). Acid copper chromate (ACC) is also a wood preservative containing arsenic and/or chromium; however, it is subject to a voluntary cancellation action and is not part of this risk assessment.

The assessment includes an evaluation of the potential risks to handlers and post application workers from exposure to these chemicals. It is important to note that, since this risk assessment is in the public review and comment phase, its findings are preliminary in nature and are subject to additional analysis. Based on comments received during the public comment period, EPA may develop a revised risk assessment and will be able to determine whether or not risk mitigation measures are needed. You can find the details at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-PEST/2004/March/Day-17/p6007.htm. A Q&A document will be available shortly at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/health_fs.htm.

Biotechnology

In a new development in the biotech battle, Mendocino County (CA) has banned "propagation, cultivation, raising and growing of genetically modified organisms in Mendocino County." Reportedly, CropLife America spent $500,000 in a futile effort to keep the bill from passing. CropLife America represents many of the big players in the ag chemical/biotech arena, including Monsanto, Bayer, Dupont, and Dow. The industry is considering state regulatory activity or a lawsuit to overturn the county ban. You can find more details at http://biotechunc.org/or/2004/03/2683.shtml and http://www.indybay.org/archives/archive_by_id.php?id=1863&category_id=12 and http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=18027

The Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously for a bill that would place a two-year moratorium on planting biotech crops throughout the state. Two other statewide biotech bills are also under consideration in Vermont; one of the bills would mandate labeling of all biotech seeds. Seventy towns in Vermont have already passed resolutions against GE crops. Organic farming is big business in Vermont, and growers are concerned about potential contamination. (PANUPS, 3-1-04)

The passage of these local regulations has enormous implications. Conceivably, every county in the United States could have different regulations regarding biotechnology. If one county can ban the production of biotech crops, another county could tax their production. It could be nearly impossible for the industry to ensure that they were in compliance with every local regulation. There are some big boys and big money pushing biotechnology. I would not be surprised to see state or federal legislation that prevents local entities from regulating biotechnology.

If you want to know how the U.S. federal government regulates biotech products, here is a website for you (http://usbiotechreg.nbii.gov/). This biotechnology website focuses on agricultural products developed using the science. At present, the searchable database available covers only genetically modified crop plants intended for food or feed that have completed all required reviews for food, feed or planting use in the United States.

The Coordinated Framework for Regulation of Biotechnology, which was established as a formal policy in 1986, describes the Federal system used for evaluating products developed using biotechnology. The Coordinated Framework is based on health and safety laws developed to address specific product classes.

The U.S. government agencies responsible for the oversight of the agricultural products developed via biotechnology are: the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Health and Human Services' Food and Drug Administration (FDA). An agricultural product may be subject to review by one or more of these agencies depending on its characteristics.

As the local ordinances attest, many people do not trust the federal government to regulate biotechnology appropriately. Even among scientists, there is concern that the science is outpacing the regulation.

In January, the USDA announced its plans to update and strengthen regulation of biotech organisms in relation to importation, interstate shipment, and environmental releases. USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will prepare an environmental impact statement evaluating its biotechnology regulations and several possible regulation changes, including the development of a multi-tiered, risk-based permitting system to replace the current permit/notification system, along with enhancements to the deregulation process to provide flexibility for long term monitoring. Any proposed changes to the regulations will be science and risk-based.

Although APHIS said that they would welcome comments on the Environmental Impact Statement, they did not say it was going to be easy. If you click on the link for the Environmental Impact Statement following this link www.aphis.usda.gov/, you end up with an error message. However, if you go directly to the Federal Register, you will find the document here http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=2004_register&docid=fr23ja04-11

If you are interested in this topic, you need to hurry, comments will be accepted through March 23. You can submit comments via e-mail.

Have you ever considered genetically engineered foods from a religious perspective?A number of religions direct their followers to avoid particular foods or prepare foods in specific ways. Tuan Shaikh Mohd Saifuddeen bin Shaikh Mohd Salleh (I am glad I did not have this fellow's name when I was a first grader), with the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia, says any discourse on food is considered important. The general criteria for any food to be consumed by Muslims is known as halalan tayyiban, which means "permissible from the shariah perspective (halal) and of good quality (tayyib)." In the case of genetically modified (GM) food, as long as it meets these two criteria, then it is consumable by Muslims.

Hence, the halal criterion is that food should originate from sources that are slaughtered according to the shariah and are not of prohibited animals. To date there is only one fatwa or religious decree in Malaysia pertaining to GM food. It states that GM food with DNA from pigs are haram (not permissible) for Muslims to consume. (Crop Biotech Update, 3-19-04)

New rules regarding labeling of genetically modified exports may hamper U.S. agriculture. Attendees of the first Meeting of Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (MOP1) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, last February agreed that detailed biological information should be provided with each shipment of genetically modified organisms (GMO). The United States and other opponents wanted the labeling to read "may contain" (GMO) because it would be difficult to track exactly what variety of GMO is in each shipment.

However, delegates from the European Union and Africa, during the MOP1, successfully argued that exporters should put common and scientific names on each shipment, and information on the genetic transformation event used to make each variety. This information will be needed by developing countries for their own risk assessments. (Crop BioTech Update, 3-12-04)

Great Britain is likely to approve planting genetically modified corn for animal feed in 2005. According to their environmental secretary, the herbicide tolerant corn has less environmental impact than conventional corn. The British Medical Association backed the government's decision; this approval ends the Association's 1999 call for an open-ended moratorium of all genetically modified crops. The Association has reviewed additional data since 1999, and they conclude that biotech foods pose minimal risks to human health. Spain is the only other European country to allow planting of genetically engineered crops. (Crop BioTech Update, 3-12-04)

News You Can Use

Here is an interesting web site that can help you properly dispose of hazardous materials. The site earth911 (http://georgia.earth911.org/usa/master.asp) is recommended by EPA. You can enter your zip code; the site will tell you if there is a nearby site that will accept the item(s) that you need to dispose of safely.  The site includes a range of materials from adhesives (waste adhesives can really stick around) to used tires. We cannot vouch for all of their information, but it seemed like a useful resource. By the way, there is no site within 50 miles of my address that will accept waste explosives.

Phosphine products will carry revised labeling. Aluminum phosphide and magnesium phosphide are commonly used to protect stored products; moisture causes the release of phosphine gas, an extremely toxic material. The new labeling process will be phased in over the next few months. There is no recall program for older products, and all products may be used according to the labeling that accompanies the product.

The literature posted on the Degesch website (http://www.degeschamerica.com/download.html) conforms to the standards established during the re-registration process. New points of emphasis include fumigation management plan requirements, training for receivers of railcars under fumigation, worker/Bystander exposure, in-transit railcar fumigation, and burrow fumigation safety.

You may also find these presentations from North Dakota to be useful for training. http://www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/aginfo/pesticid/FumigationVideo2004.htm

Phosphine products have been under close scrutiny for some time because phosphine gas is highly toxic, and several fatal incidents have occurred. If phosphine products were not the only feasible alternative for control of stored-grain pests, EPA would probably have canceled the registrations long ago. It is critical for phosphine applicators to follow the labeling instructions closely, and control phosphine inventory. One fatal accident in Georgia was caused by a person obtaining a phosphine product and applying it inside his home. It is also not difficult to imagine a terrorism event involving one of these products. Another incident may force EPA to cancel phosphine registrations.

Georgia Clean Day is coming to the Tombs County area April 7. The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service and the Georgia Department of Agriculture provide this service to collect and safely dispose of unwanted pesticides. The program has already collected more than one million pounds of pesticide! If you want more information about participating, contact Ronnie Blackley with the Toombs County Extension Service at 912-526-3101. You can find a registration form at http://www.agr.state.ga.us/assets/applets/Georgia_Clean_Day_2004_Toombs_County_CES.pdf

If you want more information about the Clean Day program, contact Steve Cole with the Georgia Department of Agriculture at 404-656-4958.

This web site will help you understand how to safely and legally transport farm chemicals. http://hazmat.dot.gov/pubtrain/AgSec%20Flyer%20V5.pdf

Cancelled

The Georgia Department of Agriculture notified us that EPA would not approve a 24(c) registration for Aim EC to control weeds in corn. The EPA said that corn and other crops carried illegal residues of the pesticide if it was used according to the proposed 24(c) label. The registrant (FMC) indicated that they have research data that contradict EPA data. FMC and EPA are working to resolve the situation.

A 24(c) registration is also referred as Special Local Need registration. It allows a state to revise the federal label (Section 3) to include some problem in a particular state. If the federal label listed wheat as the only small grain use site, Georgia might be able to get a 24 (c) label to include rye.

Don't Do it

The EPA is working to stop the sale of counterfeit pesticides for dogs and cats. The products appear to be "Advantage" and "Frontline," two commonly used products to control fleas and ticks. Somebody went to considerable lengths to make the phony packages look like the real thing. Unfortunately, it is not easy to recognize the counterfeit products. The EPA offers some identification tips here http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/petproduct.htm.

It is not illegal for you to buy the counterfeit product, but it is illegal for the retailer to sell it. I am not sure if you could be prosecuted for buying the counterfeit pesticides with counterfeit money. I doubt if the stores realized that they were buying phony products, and they will probably end up holding the bag. The suppliers were probably phony companies as well.

If you realize that you have purchased a counterfeit product, return it to the dealer. You should not use it on your pets. You cannot be confident that the product contains accurate information about the concentration of the product or how it should be used.

Retailers that have counterfeit product should not sell it. If they knowingly sell a counterfeit pesticide, the consequences could be expensive. The retailers should contact EPA immediately.

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 Management 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, send an e-mail to tall@bugs.ent.uga.edu

Or write us:

Department of Entomology
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602

E-mail: bugman@uga.edu

Or visit us on the Web. You will find all the back issues there and other useful information.

http://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/entomology/pestnewsletter/newsarchive.html

Sincerely:

Paul Guillebeau, Associate Professor & Extension Entomologist
University of Georgia