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

Your Source for Pest Management and Pesticide News


October, 2002/Volume 25, No. 10

 

If you ever wanted to tell EPA where to go, here is your chance to comment on their Strategic Plan
If you are interested in the history of EPA

 

NEWS YOU CAN USE


If you have a good idea to implement or improve agricultural practices that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for rural communities, here is some money to help you get started


FEDERAL NEWS


Keep in mind that we still face a serious threat from terrorists, and pesticides could be used as a weapon
The EPA has a new web site for pesticide education resources


DON'T DO IT


A Tennessee man was indicted after he baited deer carcasses with the insecticide aldicarb


FOOD QUALITY PROTECTION ACT -- REREGISTRATION


The EPA is investigating ways to better evaluate the potential health effects of pesticide inert ingredients


HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT


According to a collaborative study from Wisconsin and Chile, low levels of exposure to an herbicide product lowered fertility in mice
Much of the publicity surrounding West Nile virus (WNV) has focused on threats to human health, but many people also worry about their pets
Some types of Escherichia coli can be deadly, but a new process developed by USDA-Agricultural Research Service could nearly eliminate the risk of food contamination


If you ever wanted to tell EPA where to go, here is your chance to comment on their Strategic Plan. The EPA uses strategic plans to help them allocate resources and make program decisions. The current plan would help guide the Agency for the next five years.


Here are the questions that EPA would like for you to answer.

  1. What are the most important human health and environmental challenges related to pesticides, industrial chemicals and pollution prevention that EPA should address in the next 10 years?
  2. What specific strategies and activities should EPA strengthen or initiate to address those challenges?
  3. What specific accomplishments should EPA commit to achieve by FY2008 or beyond related to pesticides and industrial chemicals? Please be as quantitative and outcome-oriented as possible in your suggestions.
  4. What do you think are the most important changes EPA could make to become more effective and efficient in the pesticide, industrial chemicals and pollution prevention program areas?
  5. What other suggestions do you have regarding future challenges, accomplishments, strategies, activities, effectiveness and efficiency of other EPA programs (e.g., water, air, waste, research, enforcement, etc.)?
  6. What organizational challenges are you currently facing that impact your organization's ability to carry out its mission?

You can submit your comments at http://www.epa.gov/edocket/ The site also has EPA's current strategic plan, along with the current priorities for the Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances (I never really understood that title) for Safe Food, Preventing Pollution & Reducing Risk in Communities/Homes/Workplaces/Ecosystems and Reduction of Global and Cross-Border Environmental Risks. Send your comments by November 11, 2002.


If you are interested in the history of EPA (and who isn't?), visit http://www.epa.gov/history/ I discovered this page while I was looking for information about historical use of DDT. I found the site to be quite interesting, full of fascinating facts and fabulous photos about EPA and environmental protection before the Agency was established. Check it out.


News You Can Use


If you have a good idea to implement or improve agricultural practices that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for rural communities, here is some money to help you get started. The Southern Region SARE Program is calling for proposals in two areas: Producer Grants and On-Farm Research Grants. Proposals are invited that address: soil health, beneficial insect habitat, alternative crops/livestock, organic agriculture, marketing, grazing systems, improving the sustainability of existing farming practices, appropriate technology, and agroforestry.


The Producer Grants are offered only to farmers and/or ranchers or producer organizations in amounts up to $10,000 for individuals and $15,000 for producer organizations. Producer Grants are competitively awarded, must be conducted by producers or producer organizations, and the projects must promote sustainable agriculture.


The On-Farm Research Grants are available to Extension, NRCS and NGO personnel who work with farmers. Applicants must work with at least three cooperating farmers or ranchers and can apply for up to $15,000. On-Farm Research Grants are competitively awarded and the projects must promote sustainable agriculture.


Proposals for both programs are due by January 24, 2003.


For more information, visit http://www.southernsare.uga.edu/ or e-mail ppatton@griffin.uga.edu or call 770-412-4787.


Georgia growers have a new product to help them avoid frost injury to blueberries. Ethephon (Superboll) will delay spring bloom for about 7-10 days if applications are made in the fall. If you need more information, contact your local Extension office.

Clean Day is scheduled for November 8 in Preston, Georgia. If you want to dispose of some pesticides in that program, call the county extension office in Stewart County.


Federal News


Keep in mind that we still face a serious threat from terrorists, and pesticides could be used as a weapon. A number of government publications can help you evaluate the security of your pesticides.


Pesticide Safety and Site Security (EPA) http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/citizens/pest_secu_alert.htm


Chemical Accident Prevention: Site Security (EPA) http://www.epa.gov/swercepp/pubs/secale.pdf


Report suspicious activity to the FBI. A listing of FBI field offices: http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/fo.htm


Information on the Homeland Security Advisory System http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/03/20020312-5.html (you can be the first on your block to know what all of the colors mean).


The U.S. Department of Justice, through Sandia National Laboratories, has developed a chemical facility vulnerability assessment methodology (VAM). The VAM is a tool which chemical facilities may apply to assess their security vulnerabilities and to assist decisions regarding how to appropriately address those vulnerabilities. A report detailing the VAM can be accessed on the National Institute of Justice's website at: http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/195171.pdf


The American Chemistry Council (ACC) with the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association and the Chlorine Institute have produced a chemical site security guideline document and a chemical transportation security guideline document. http://www.Americanchemistry.com/


The Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) has released "Guidelines for Analyzing and Managing the Security Vulnerabilities of Fixed Chemical Sites." This book is intended for chemical site managers, process safety managers, security managers and others responsible for conducting security vulnerability analyses and managing security at fixed chemical sites. To request a copy of this document, visit the CCPS website at (please note that this website address has changed from the address provided in earlier Advisories): http://www.aiche.org/ccps/sva


If you have questions regarding this advisory or EPA's Pesticide Security Alert, please contact Dennis Deziel of EPA's Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances at (202) 564-0331.


The EPA has a new web site for pesticide education resources. You can find it at http://pep.wsu.edu/psp Along with other information, it has links to state and extension service websites.


Don't Do It


A Tennessee man was indicted after he baited deer carcasses with the insecticide aldicarb. Nine hawks were killed after feeding on the poisoned meat. The same man has served six months in prison for a similar offense. Aldicarb is an extremely toxic pesticide; any animal that fed on the deer probably died.


This bonehead made two very serious mistakes. One is obvious. He had no idea what animals might feed on the meat. Anything from endangered species to a family pet could have been killed. Secondly, he may force EPA to cancel the registration of an important pesticide. Aldicarb is an important pest management tool for a number of crops, including cotton and pecans. Incidents such as this can force EPA to take action. The only way to completely prevent misuse of aldicarb is to cancel it. If you know of anyone who is using aldicarb to poison animals, tell them to cut it out or report them. Never give a little aldicarb to anyone; you could be responsible for what happens. (EPA Press Advisory, 8-2-02)


Food Quality Protection Act -- Reregistration


The EPA is investigating ways to better evaluate the potential health effects of pesticide inert ingredients. The Agency has been criticized because inert ingredients are not even identified on most pesticide products, even though the inerts may be toxins. EPA developed this methodology to comply with the requirements of the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 (FQPA), and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the inert review process. A chemical can be used as an inert ingredient in some pesticide products and as an active ingredient in other pesticide products. The EPA believes a screening methodology is the most efficient and appropriate way to handle the variety of hazard and exposure issues posed by inert ingredients. This methodology streamlines the Agency's decision-making process on low or low/moderate toxicity chemical substances in pesticide products. This will also allow the Agency to focus its resources on evaluating chemical substances of potentially higher toxicity. If you want to read about the proposed methodology, you will find it here. http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/cb/csb_page/updates/lowertox.pdf


Health and the Environment


According to a collaborative study from Wisconsin and Chile, low levels of exposure to an herbicide product lowered fertility in mice. The researchers bought an over-the-counter combination of the herbicides 2,4-D, dicamba, and mecoprop plus the unidentified inert ingredients. After mice were exposed through drinking water, there was a subsequent 20 percent increase in failed pregnancies, even at levels below the acceptable level set by EPA.


Some groups are touting this study as clear evidence that herbicides are killing us all. Others will discredit the study and ignore the results. As most of real life, the answer is much more complicated. First of all, the researchers tested a combination of three herbicides and a number of unidentified inert ingredients. It is tempting to blame the herbicide(s) for the effect because they are known to be toxic to plants. However, the inert ingredients may be responsible for the results. Finally, some combination of the herbicides and/or the inerts may have caused the failed pregnancies.


If regulatory action is taken without determining the causal agent(s), the new restrictions may not reduce the risks. Suppose EPA cancels 2,4-D based on this study, but the same inerts continue to be used in a large number of other pesticide products. What if the inert ingredients were the toxic agent in this study? The term "inert" in pesticide jargon means that component is not the ingredient that controls the pest. However, a number of inert ingredients are known to have toxic effects.


This study also reopens the discussion of mice and men. If a chemical causes a toxic effect in mice, should we assume similar results in humans? So far, research has been unable to answer that critical question. Mice are the research animal of choice because of costs and because the physiological systems of mice are well understood. Even so, there are tremendous differences between mice and humans.


Suppose 2,4-D, dicamba, and mecoprop do increase failed pregnancies in humans? What action should we take? It may be prudent to stop selling these products, but the choice is not clear. Gasoline is extremely toxic; even the fumes can cause brain damage. Should we stop using gas? According to FDA, the popular pain reliever acetaminophen is responsible for 2,200 hospitalizations and 100 unintentional deaths each year. No one is calling for a ban on acetameniphen, but stronger warnings are urged. The point is that pesticides are not that different from gasoline or drugs. Each of them has value, but each can pose serious risks if misused.


What should you do? MINIMIZE your exposure to pesticides. ALWAYS wear the protective clothing listed on the pesticide label. NEVER use more pesticide than you need. Dispose of pesticides PROPERLY.


If you want more information about the herbicide study, here is the complete citation. Maria Fernanda Cavieres, James Jaeger and Warren Porter. 2002. Developmental toxicity of a commercial herbicide mixture in mice: effects on embryo implantation and litter size. Environmental Health Perspectives. Volume 110, Number 11, p 1081. (PANUPS, 10-11-02)


Much of the publicity surrounding West Nile virus (WNV) has focused on threats to human health, but many people also worry about their pets. According to Dr. Jeff Mahany, assistant Georgia state veterinarian, many mammals and birds may be susceptible to WNV, but very few species develop clinical illness due to infection by the virus. West Nile virus has been reported in horses, humans, birds, a sheep, a goat, a dog, three cats, a llama, an alpaca, a wolf, a skunk, a chipmunk, a domestic rabbit, a few bats and a few squirrels. So far, WNV seems to be a serious threat only for horses, birds, and humans. You still need to protect your pets from mosquito-borne diseases, like heartworms, but WNV does not seem to be dangerous for cats, dogs, and other pets.


You can find more information at these web sites.


http://www.avma.org/
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/oa/wnv/index.html
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm
http://www.ph.dhr.state.ga.us/epi/vbd/mosquito.shtml


Some types of Escherichia coli can be deadly, but a new process developed by USDA-Agricultural Research Service could nearly eliminate the risk of food contamination. Engineers with ARS are working on a machine-vision system that can "see" E. coli. The system takes three pictures of the fruit through different color filters. Computer analysis of the images can detect fecal contamination, fungi, rot, and other diseases. ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA, September 30, 2002


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 706-542-2816


Or write us:


Department of Entomology
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602
E-mail: pguillebeau@bugs.ent.uga.edu


Or visit us on the Web. You will find all the back issues there and other useful information. http://www.ces.uga.edu/Agriculture/entomology/pestnewsletter/newsarchive.html


Sincerely:

 

Dr. Paul Guillebeau, Associate Professor & Extension Entomologist