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

Your source for pest management and pesticide news

November 2000
Volume 23, No. 11

FOOD QUALITY PROTECTION ACT/REREGISTRATION

The Novartis description of diazinon's demise is very similar to the call that canned chlorpyrifos
Under FQPA, most pesticide tolerances for imports will be revoked when domestic tolerances are cancelled
The EPA has issued a final rule regarding pesticide tolerances associated with emergency exemptions
If you care about dichlorvos, it is time to comment
The EPA and Cheminova have agreed to cancel all remaining uses of ethyl parathion
The EPA is calling for comments on two science policies related to pesticides in drinking water

NEW TOOLS

A strain of a fungal insect pathogen effective against greenhouse whitefly is moving toward registration in Europe
A new, non-toxic product (BirdBlox) is said to discourage birds from roosting or nesting
Precision agriculture offers great promise for improvement of agriculture and reduction of pesticide risks

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

The EPA Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program is calling for grant proposals
It is time to think about the 2001 satellite pesticide training conference
Georgia Clean Day is back on track with two pesticide collections in November

FEDERAL NEWS

How would you like a website that provides all of the 'inside' information about the EPA pesticide program?
Pesticide labels are required to carry a list of the active ingredients
The EPA has begun a national ad campaign to encourage people to read the pesticide label
The EPA has a new web site with an interactive pesticide label

BIOTECHNOLOGY

If you want to keep genetically engineered foods out of your mouth, this book may be of interest
Aventis and EPA jerked the conditional registration for StarLink corn

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

If you are concerned about West Nile Virus, a new web site will help you find information
Medical Director of the American Council on Science and Health in New York recently published an editorial that cautions against banning chemicals without considering the consequences
The EPA has released a strategy to improve the scientific foundation of the Agency's risk assessment and management decisions that affect children

DON'T DO IT

Former employees of a closed General Electric plant said they bought a PCB chemical and used it for a pesticide around their homes

Food Quality Protection Act/Reregistration

The Novartis description of diazinon's demise is very similar to the call that canned chlorpyrifos. "If implemented as Congress intended, FQPA has commendable goals. It makes sense to look at all the ways individuals may be exposed to pesticides, but it has also greatly multiplied the number of research dollars necessary to support product registrations," said Pat Willenbrock, home and garden product manager for Novartis Crop Protection.

Novartis' decision not to pursue research to support indoor applications will eliminate uses in greenhouses, residential settings, commercial buildings, hospitals, schools, museums, sports facilities, stores and warehouses.

"We regret that Novartis has had to make the business decision to no longer support indoor uses of diazinon," stated Willenbrock. "We regret the loss of this valuable tool, particularly for our colleagues in the ornamental and structural pest control markets. Unfortunately, sales in these sectors no longer justify the heavy commitment of resources now required to support any indoor uses." (http://www.cp.us.novartis.com/diazinon).

Under FQPA, most pesticide tolerances for imports will be revoked when domestic tolerances are cancelled. I was mixed up, and I probably confused everyone. At a recent meeting in Washington, a former EPA colleague explained it to me. If a risk concern prompts the EPA to cancel a pesticide registration, the associated pesticide tolerances (the amount of pesticide that can remain on a food) are revoked for both domestic and imported products. If the tolerance is revoked, the pesticide may not be legally used on that commodity. In contrast, a zero tolerance means that the pesticide may be used legally if the residues are undetectable. The tricky part of the process occurs when pesticide registrants voluntarily cancel a pesticide registration. For now, it is unclear whether the import tolerance would be automatically canceled. After all, there are plenty of import tolerances for pesticides that are not used in the U.S. For example, the pesticide may be marketed for a commodity not grown in the United States.

The EPA has issued a final rule regarding pesticide tolerances associated with emergency exemptions (Section 18). No pesticide may be applied to a food crop unless the EPA establishes a tolerance for the pesticide on that particular food. In an emergency, however, the Agency may grant permission for growers to apply pesticides to foods for which the pesticides are not registered. In the old days, an emergency exemption was essentially an exemption from tolerance. Under FQPA, the Agency must establish a tolerance if the emergency pesticide will be applied to a food. To establish the tolerance, the EPA must determine that the pesticide application will not endanger children. Keep in mind, the grower has an emergency, so the Agency must decide on the tolerance quickly. This final rule is intended to ensure timely action from EPA by codifying the process used by EPA to establish a time-limited tolerance for an emergency exemption. Time-limited tolerances will typically be set for 24 months to allow the treated crop from the emergency application to clear the channels of trade. This final rule does not change the process that has been in place for several years. If you don't believe me, you can read the Federal Register for yourself at
http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/aces140.html

If you care about dichlorvos, it is time to comment. Dichlorvos, or DDVP, is commonly used to control flies in animal operations. It was the active ingredient in the yellow 'No-Pest' strips (if you remember back that far). The comment period closes December 11, 2000. You can find the entire package for your review at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides

The EPA and Cheminova have agreed to cancel all remaining uses of ethyl parathion. All but nine uses were canceled in 1991. Ethyl was another pesticide with good and bad points. It is very toxic and poses a high risk to applicators who handle it carelessly. On the other hand, ethyl parathion breaks down quickly, so there is little risk of groundwater contamination or chronic environmental effects.

The new agreement immediately stops the use of ethyl parathion on corn grown for seed. Uses on other agricultural alfalfa, barley, corn, cotton, canola, sorghum, soybean, sunflower, and wheat will phase out over the next three years, with all uses ending Oct. 31, 2003. (EPA Press Advisory, 10-13)

The EPA is calling for comments on two science policies related to pesticides in drinking water. The titles alone may elicit some comments. "Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Incorporating Screening Level Estimates of Drinking Water Exposures into Aggregate Risk Assessments" outlines the general approach EPA will use in incorporating screening-level estimates of drinking water exposure into OPP human health aggregate risk assessments.

"Drinking Water Screening Level Assessments" has two parts.

  1. Guidance for Use of the Index Reservoir in Drinking Water Exposure Assessment. This section explains how EPA develops screening-level estimates of exposure to pesticides in drinking water that comes from vulnerable (easily contaminated) surface water supplies.
  2. Applying a Percent Crop Area Adjustment to Tier 2 Surface Water Model Estimates for Pesticide Drinking Water Exposure Assessments.

This section describes use of factors that account for the amount of land area that is used to grow certain crops in various areas of the country. In other words, the Agency will adjust exposure estimates based on crop acreage instead of assuming that 100 percent of a watershed is cropland.

This entire process is EPA's attempt to make their estimates more closely resemble the real world. Earlier, crude estimates used a farm pond to model drinking water.

The EPA is required to include potential pesticide exposure from drinking water. The drinking water component will be one segment of the aggregate risk estimates used to make FQPA decisions. It is important for the drinking water estimates to be as accurate as possible. An underestimate would increase pesticide risks; an overestimate could result in the unnecessary restriction or cancellation of pesticides.

If you do not review the papers and comment, do not complain about the results. You can find both papers at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides
Comments are due 12-12-00. (EPA Pesticide Update, 10-11)

New Tools

A strain of a fungal insect pathogen (Paecilomyces fumosoroseus Apopka 97) effective against greenhouse whitefly is moving toward registration in Europe. The European product will be called PreFeRal. There is not a commercial product currently marketed in the U.S. Look for a similar product to be registered here soon. Typically, biological products are much easier and cheaper to register with U.S. EPA. (IPMnet NEWS #83, November 2000)
Visit these web sites for more information.
http://www.biobest.be/eng/EPaecilomycesText.htm
http://www.entomology.wisc.edu/mbcn/kyf403.html

A new, non-toxic product (BirdBlox) is said to discourage birds from roosting or nesting on beams inside open buildings such as pole frame sheds, barns, storage facilities, and arenas. The recycled plastic strips snap onto 2 in boards. The top edge is either flat or toothed like a saw. Either way, the manufacturer says birds do not like to perch on them. If you want more information, visit http://www.birdblox.com/ (IPMnet NEWS #83, November 2000)

Precision agriculture offers great promise for improvement of agriculture and reduction of pesticide risks; this web site will help you learn more.
http://www.precisionag.org/

This new web site offers an extensive curriculum concerning precision agriculture. The course has 13 units including:

Yield Variability, Yield Monitors and Yield Mapping,
Geo-Positioning, GPS, DGPS, and Positioning Accuracy
Variability in Other Factors Such as Topography, Organic Matter, and Pest Infestation

Opportunity Knocks

The EPA Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program is calling for grant proposals. The program is open to any organization with a project to reduce pesticide risks with the following focus area.

  1. IPM in schools,
  2. outreach/communications, i.e. technology transfer,
  3. information networks to promote use of reduced risk pest control methods, etc.,
  4. promotion of bio-pesticide application, and
  5. systems to help IPM users measure the effectiveness of reduced risk techniques.

For more information, visit http://www.ipm-education.org/ipm-education/2001rfp.htm

It is time to think about the 2001 satellite pesticide training conference. This annual satellite workshop is downlinked to locations all across Georgia to provide local training opportunities for pesticide applicators. Participants can receive five hours of pesticide recertification credit in any non-structural category. Almost any school, college, or library in Georgia can be used as a downlink site. If you would like to have a site in your local area, work with your county agent or professional organization to identify a location. Then, ask your county agent or organization to contact my office.

Georgia Clean Day is back on track with two pesticide collections in November. The first collection is November 15 in Barrow, Forsyth, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, and White counties. The second is November 29 in Calhoun, Clay, Dougherty, Early, Glynn, and Terrell counties. Contact your local Extension office for details.

If you would like to have a Clean Day collection in your area, contact the extension office in your county.

Federal News

How would you like a website that provides all of the 'inside' information about the EPA pesticide program? Well, here it is, and you can tell everybody.

http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/foia/

Under the Freedom of Information Act, U.S. government agencies are required to divulge information about their duties and performance. The EPA established this new web site to better inform the public about the way that pesticides are regulated.

Pesticide labels are required to carry a list of the active ingredients, but inert ingredients are simply lumped together. Although inert ingredients are not active against the pest, the chemicals can be dangerous. Many people think that inert ingredients should also be identified; pesticide manufacturers usually maintain that the inerts are part of their protected manufacturing secrets. In truth, most of the other manufacturers already know what inert chemicals are used in various pesticides.

On November 8, an EPA workgroup will discuss four topics related to inert ingredients: 1) multiple chemical sensitivity, 2) a new proposal for label disclosure of inert ingredients, 3) inert ingredient concerns at the state level, and 4) the Pesticide Industry's emergency medical information process. The workgroup was established to evaluate ways to make information about inert ingredients more available to the public while working within the mandates of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and related Confidential Business Information concerns.
If you want to get more information, contact Cameo Smoot at smoot.cameo@epa.gov

The EPA has begun a national ad campaign to encourage people to read the pesticide label. After all, reading (and following) the label is the most important thing you can do to minimize pesticide risks to yourself and the environment. The campaign will consist of radio spots and billboard trucks. Georgia was scheduled to be among the first wave of states receiving radio spots, but I have not heard any. The trucks are heading for metropolitan areas in many states, but Georgia was not in the initial target group. Please let me know if you see or hear anything of the ad campaign. I would very much like to know your opinion. If the federal campaign seems effective, we could follow with something similar.

The EPA has a new web site with an interactive pesticide label. As you point to each component of the generic label (e.g., active ingredients, directions of use, etc.), a pop up message explains that part of the label. http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/label/

Biotechnology

If you want to keep genetically engineered foods out of your mouth, this book may be of interest. Genetically Engineered Food: A Self-Defense Guide for Consumers, 2000 explores current debates surrounding health and environmental risks of genetically engineered foods. You can also find out which U.S. companies use genetically engineered foods. The book also provides guidelines for keeping biotech foods off of your table. Look for the book in stores or visit http://www.iatp.org/

I will not be ordering this book because genetically engineered foods are not one of my primary concerns, but other people have a right to choose or avoid biotech foods.

Not surprisingly, Aventis and EPA jerked the conditional registration for StarLink corn. For those of you who barely notice the world outside of your cage, StarLink is a genetically engineered variety of corn that was only approved for animal consumption. Unfortunately, StarLink corn ended up in taco shells, and shoppers did not realize that the taco shells were only for grass tacos served to cows. In retrospect, it seems na´ve to think that we could ensure that the StarLink corn would remain segregated from corn for human foods.

The contamination occurred because some farmers and grain elevator operators did not realize the corn had to remain segregated. The total amount of StarLink corn was quite small, but large amounts of corn were contaminated. As much as half of the corn in Iowa, the largest producer in the United States, may be contaminated with trace amounts of StarLink.

Both EPA and Aventis report that any human risks are very low, but many people find this incident troubling just the same. The Agency will not approve any more genetically engineered food products until they can be cleared for human consumption. Aventis also agreed to buy back all of the StarLink corn from producers to avoid the potential for additional contamination. (EPA Update, 10-13; Reuters, 11-1; and CBS, 9-29)

Health and the Environment

If you are concerned about West Nile Virus, a new web site will help you find information. West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne disease that has killed a number of people in the northeastern U.S. Birds serve as a reservoir and carry the disease from place to place. If you notice dead birds in your neighborhood, you should contact your local health department. The National Pesticide Telecommunications Network http://ace.orst.edu/info/nptn/wnv.htm will link you to federal, state, and local information about the virus.

Dr. Gilbert Ross, Medical Director of the American Council on Science and Health in New York, recently published an editorial in the Wall Street Journal (10-19-00) that cautions against banning chemicals without considering the consequences. Here are some excerpts from that editorial.

The woeful condition of Los Angeles' public school playgrounds is a predictable result of the nonsensical banning of safe and effective herbicides in that city ("Tangled Up in Green," page A1 [Wall St. J], Oct.5).

There is no reliable scientific evidence to link the approved use of herbicides or pesticides to any human disease. Three decades of use should be sufficient evidence for the lack of adverse health effects of these chemicals.

. . . simplistically blaming chemicals [for human illness], rather than increased detection ability, or increased insect infestations, results in the scenes described in Ms. Warren's story: playgrounds resembling jungles, dangerous to all who attempt to enjoy them.

As for the "rising rates of childhood cancer": this is a figment of the hysteria which provoked the school board to invoke the ban. Rates of childhood--and adult--cancer have been declining in the U.S. for the past several years, according to the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute.

. . . the schoolchildren [are] deprived of their venue for healthy physical activity. This factor, plus the quality-of-life impact, demonstrate that there is always a trade-off when useful products are banned based on pseudo-science.

The previous paragraphs are all Dr. Ross. Here are a few additional comments from me. Pesticides were invented and widely embraced because they made dramatic improvements in the human condition. Pesticides made it possible for us to control outbreaks of pests that killed millions of people directly and starved millions more. I will not deny that many pesticides carry risks; we should work to minimize those risks. However, if you think the world would be better off with no pesticides, take a look at the human condition in the 1800's or early 1900's before modern pesticides were available.

The EPA has released a strategy to improve the scientific foundation of the Agency's risk assessment and management decisions that affect children. The strategy provides a framework of research needs and priorities to guide EPA programs over the next five to ten years. Children may be more susceptible to pollutants because of their developing systems and because their behaviors may expose them to greater amounts of chemicals. This new strategy provides a long-term program of research in hazard identification, dose-response and exposure assessment and risk reduction, as well as problem-oriented research that addresses current critical needs identified by EPA offices. Implementation of the program will involve partnerships between EPA, industry, states, local communities, tribes, the international community and other federal organizations. You can get the details by phone or computer (1-800-490-9198) or http://www.epa.gov/ORD/WebPubs/final (EPA Press Advisory 10/26/00)

This kind of research is critical for making sound, scientific decisions. Unfortunately, the influence of politics is too great, and political decisions do not wait for long-term research.

Don't Do it

Former employees of a closed General Electric plant said they bought a PCB chemical and used it for a pesticide around their homes. One man reported that he had bought 12 barrels for $6.00 and used it on fence posts and his driveway. Other people sprayed the material in and around the house. EPA banned PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) after it was discovered that PCBs cause a variety of serious health problems. PCBs were commonly used in electrical industry applications.

No one knows how big the problem might be. The records are incomplete, and many people will remain quiet because they fear prosecution. The company in question employed about 5,000 people from a 60-mile radius around Rome, Georgia. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division will test employees' homes that may be contaminated. Call 888-869-1191 for more information. (Atlanta-Journal Constitution, 11-1-00)

NEVER USE OTHER CHEMICALS AS PESTICIDES! In many cases, other chemicals are going to be more dangerous and less effective for controlling the pests. Gasoline is probably the all-time favorite, especially during this part of the year when yellow jackets are abundant. Gasoline is highly toxic, explosive, persistent, and carcinogenic; it penetrates the skin, and the fumes can cause irreversible brain damage. Would you buy or use any pesticide with those qualities?


 

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.

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Department of Entomology
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Sincerely:

Paul Guillebeau, Associate Professor & Extension Entomologist