August 1997/Volume 19, No. 6
Advice from Dr. Gerrit Cuperus
Methyl Bromide: The Clock is Still Ticking
Cleaning Up Agricultural Waste Pesticides
The EPA has exempted the need to establish a maximum permissible level for residues of Coat Proteins of Potato Virus Y
DuPont will invest more than $1.5 billion for 20% of Pioneer Hi-Bred International to develop genetically engineered crops
The European Union will release guidelines this fall that require labeling of all foods that contain any genetically modified organism
The brouhaha seems to be aimed at Round-up Ready crops
Deltapine Seed will introduce five new Roundup Ready soybean lines for the 1998 season
Not all the opposition to biotechnology is overseas
Legal settlement filed this week permits natural food companies and manufacturers of dairy products who use milk free of bovine somatotropin to label their products as such
DIGGING THE INTERNET
AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Swissair introducing organically grown products in all classes of its inflight catering
The battle is beginning to heat up over triazine contamination of surface drinking water
Will the Endangered Species Act (ESA) finally be reformed?
This week's acronym quiz is 'EDSTAC' (Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Testing Advisory Committee)
The Scientific Advisory Board is praising EPA for proposed guidelines that will change the way that EPA considers and reports cancer risks
The FQPA requires EPA to consider pesticide residues in drinking water when they establish pesticide residues
MORE NEW TOOLS
Dr. Gerrit Cuperus recently stepped down from the office of USDA IPM Coordinator. He offered three important pieces of advice.
1. Improve accountability and show progress to our customers. The Water Quality Initiative was recommended for reduction in budget because there was a perception of no accountability. Dr. Cuperus thought that Water Quality probably could have done a better job than IPM of accounting for its activities. If we cannot show that we are getting results with IPM money, we will lose IPM money.
2. Increase visibility. You and I know what IPM is, but most House/Senate Appropriations Committees do not. We must provide them information of progress each year! With a limited money pie, the biggest mouths often get the most to eat.
3. Show leadership. We need to show that we are leading the way for IPM in the future, not merely following the trends of industry or agriculture. If we do not lead, we will not gain additional support and may lose funding.
4. The time to act is here. The USDA Secretary of Agriculture has done all he can to promote IPM and its funding. IPM may never again have the federal visibility and support that we enjoy now.
Good Job, Gerrit! Thanks for all of your hard work.
Data from an IPM project in Texas indicate that black-eyed peas can reduce stink bug injury in pecans. Double rows of peas every 20-25 tree rows acted as a trap crop and attracted stink bug predators/parasites. For every dollar spent on peas, the growers prevented $9 worth of nut injury from stinkbugs. This idea may be worth further investigation. (Southern Region SARE Project SPG95-21)
Although the potential ban on methyl bromide is only 3 1/2 years away, there are still questions and controversies to be resolved. Shari Yvon-Lewis and James Butler report research findings that indicate methyl bromide only stays in the atmosphere for 0.7 years instead of 2.0 years estimated in 1992. According to their data, ocean processes are removing methyl bromide from the atmosphere more quickly than previously predicted. Methyl bromide is broken down in the ocean by chemical and biological pathways. (Geophysical Research Letters, 5-97)
Methyl bromide is widely used by Louisiana strawberry growers, but research indicates that production will not be greatly reduced without methyl bromide. Experiments with other fumigants, organic soil amendments, and herbicides demonstrated that strawberry yields should remain adequate for Louisiana markets. (Methyl bromide alternatives, 7-97)
Finally, the 4th annual International Conference on Methyl Bromide Alternatives is coming up November 3-5 in San Diego. Phone 209-447-2127 for details.
Ten years ago, there had been fewer than 15 collections of unusable ag. pesticides in the U.S. In 1996 alone, 39 states collected 3 million pounds of waste pesticides for disposal! (Household Hazardous Waste Management News, 2-97)
A scientist in the U.K. discovered that intercropping molasses grass (Melinis minutiflora) with cereal crops can reduce injury from stem-boring lepidopterans. The grass apparently repels the females attempting to lay eggs and attracts a wasp that parasitizes the caterpillars. Reportedly, intercropping the grass with cereals reduced stem-boring losses from 80% to 5%. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 8-13-97)
The EPA has exempted the need to establish a maximum permissible level for residues of Coat Proteins of Potato Virus Y and the genetic material necessary for its production. The Agency has also established an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of the biological pesticide Replicase Proteins of Potato Leaf Roll Virus and the genetic material necessary for its production in or on all raw agricultural commodities.
DuPont will invest more than $1.5 billion for 20% of Pioneer Hi-Bred International to develop genetically engineered crops. Research will focus on improving corn, soybean, and other oil seed crops. This partnership will create one of the largest private research/development programs in the world. The companies predict $3.5 billion in sales in ten years. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 8-13-97)
The European Union will release guidelines this fall that will require labeling of all foods that contain any genetically modified organism (GMO). They may also require the label 'may contain GMO' for any foods that potentially contain any genetically engineered component. Other labels may indicate the amount of GMO in the food. Foods that do not contain GMO will be allowed to carry the label 'GMO free.' I do not think that this deal is done, yet. The United States and other EU trading partners are likely to have some comments on these guidelines. U.S. Agricultural Secretary stated that the issues regarding genetically engineered crops could become a 'battle royale.' (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 8-13-97)
Meanwhile, the American Crop Protection Association has formed a biotechnology steering committee to fight the threat from the EU to U.S. growers. Major pesticide and seed companies will make up the steering committee. The committee will focus on public acceptance and domestic/international legislative actions. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 7-16-97)
The brouhaha seems to be aimed at Round-up Ready crops because the EU is funding the development of a new tomato that produces twice the normal level of carotenoids, a substance that can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. The technology is similar to the approach that resulted in the Flavr Savr tomato. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 7-16-97)
Deltapine Seed will introduce five new Roundup Ready soybean lines for the 1998 season. The new varieties are mid-late Group Vs and an early Group VI. For more information, call Janice Person at 800-321-8989. (DP News Release, 8-1-97)
Not all the opposition to biotechnology is overseas. Here is a letter that came to me. Some people are simply scared of things they do not understand. Others do not like change. Some other despicable characters like to enjoy money and publicity by exploiting fear. I have not printed the entire letter.
On a related note, a legal settlement filed this week in Illinois, US District Court permits natural food companies and manufacturers of dairy products who use milk free of bovine somatotropin (BST) to label their products (sold in Illinois) as such.
The article said that a coalition of health-oriented food companies, led by Vermont ice cream maker Ben and Jerry's, filed suit last year against the state charging that their prohibition on voluntary labeling was a violation of the companies' First Amendment rights to inform customers about the contents of their products. The plaintiffs alleged that since Illinois represented a large consumer market, the state's prohibition had effectively stopped anti-BST labeling nationwide because it is not feasible for nationally distributed dairy products to be labeled differently.
*ChemFinder.* (Web site). CambridgeSoft Corporation. Online
search engine looks exclusively for information about chemicals, including
pesticides. Finds pesticides by common name, brand name, CAS number, chemical
formula or other designations.
*Reregistration Eligibility Document (RED) Fact Sheets.* (Web
site). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Archive of RED fact
sheets includes information about many pesticides that have been through
reregistration process. Each document contains information about toxicity,
regulatory history, use profile and environmental impacts. Requires Adobe
*Pesticide Information Service -- PESTIS.* (Web site).
PANNA. Online database of articles, reports and action alerts related to
pesticides and sustainable agriculture. Carries out keyword searches of
materials from many pesticide reform organizations on range of topics, including
pesticide health hazards, regulations, food security, non-toxic alternatives and
news about citizen campaigns worldwide:
In June 1997, Swissair announced that it was introducing organically grown products in all classes of its inflight catering on flights departing from Switzerland. The airline stated that within three years organic products should be available on Swissair's entire flight schedule. By the year 2000, Swissair's goal is to ensure that 90% of the products they use to prepare meals are organically grown. While use of organic products will increase costs, the airline maintains that these increases will be compensated for in ways that are "imperceptible to customers." They will not realize that they are paying for it. (PANUPS, 8-15-97)
The battle is beginning to heat up over triazine contamination of surface drinking water. In a report released by the Environmental Working Group, atrazine was detected in 96% of 178 surface water systems tested in the Midwest. The group also reports that the drinking water in more than 100 communities contained five or more pesticides. The paper calls for a ban triazine herbicides.
On the other side, the American Crop Protection Association and the Grocery Manufacturers of America attacked the report, calling it 'the latest health scare report' and 'science fiction designed to frighten consumers and mislead the media.' The Association maintains that a person would have to drink thousands of gallons of tap water every day for 70 years to exceed the maximum contaminant level for a typical corn or soybean herbicide. The GMA reports that manufacturers of national brands test water stringently before it is used to pack or process foods. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 8-13-97)
Most people lean strongly toward one of these groups or the other, and there is justification for both points of view. The Environmental Working Group will maximize their clout, patronage, and financial support by creating a huge national debate. Members of the American Crop Assoc. and GMA will lose millions of dollars if the triazines are banned or consumers lose confidence in food/water safety.
Unfortunately, there are not enough data to prove that either group is correct, and the truth often lies in the middle. Triazine herbicides are very important, they are one tool that helps keep food prices and good nutrition within the reach of many people. On the other hand, it would trouble me if my drinking water were regularly contaminated with even a low level of a pesticide. I would not like to see triazine herbicides banned unless we have a viable alternative, but I would like to see additional research to minimize triazine occurrence in drinking water and to better characterize what risk (if any) is associated with low levels of triazine exposure.
Will the Endangered Species Act (ESA) finally be reformed? Senators Kempthorne and Chafee report that they will be introducing legislation to reform ESA. They have circulated a draft bill and are meeting with key officials to develop support. The draft bill reaffirms state water rights, provides incentives for landowners to protect endangered species and habitat, and allows stakeholder review of species listings. Introduction of the new legislation is expected soon, but don't hold your breath. (Arrow Newsletter, 7-97)
Mexico has agreed to phase out the use of chlordane and DDT in the next ten years, according a recent agreement associated with NAFTA. (Reuter, 6-15 & AP, 6-13-97 via Chemically Speaking, 7-97)
This week's acronym quiz is 'EDSTAC' (Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Testing Advisory Committee); they are trying to add rules and guidelines to the part of the FQPA that dictates screening of pesticides for endocrine disruption. The latest suggestion from a workgroup is to eliminate 30,000 chemicals (out of 70,000 chemicals that may be tested) from the screening process based on the high molecular weight of the chemicals.
The logic is simple. Compounds with molecular weights of more than 1,000 atomic mass units (wish you had stayed awake during chemistry?) are quite large. The workgroup suggests that these larger compounds cannot be absorbed by the body, therefore they cannot disrupt the endocrine system.
The full committee had some concerns. Children's intestines might absorb chemicals differently. Some chemicals can influence pore size to penetrate cells. There may be some unforeseen pathway by which these larger chemicals could be absorbed.
Overall, however, the committee agreed that the proposal was scientifically sound and desirable if these concerns could be resolved. Testing an additional 30,000 chemicals would require substantial resources and would likely mean a less-stringent, less time-consuming test. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 7-16-97)
Another EDSTAC working group produced a series of 12 to 15 tests that companies could use to screen for endocrine disruptors. The assays included 'test-tube' and animal tests that include amphibians, birds, fish, and mammals. Although FQPA requires only tests for estrogen disruption, the battery of recommended tests screens for androgen and thyroid hormone effects as well. There are no hard estimates of the costs, but they could range from $50,000 to $250,000. The price tag could be reduced if the tests are tiered by effects; for example, if data indicate no androgen effects, all androgen tests may not be necessary. (Pesticid. & Tox. Chem. News, 7-23-97)
Finally, the EPA is likely to prioritize which chemicals have to be tested first. If a large segment of the population is exposed to a chemical or if the chemical is structurally similar to a known endocrine disruptor, it would be given higher priority. (Pesticid. & Tox. Chem. News, 7-23-97)
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development criticized the EDSTAC plan. They called the plan very theoretical and called for a more pragmatic approach. Additionally, the committee recommended the use of some patented assays that may not be available or desirable for competing companies. (Pesticid. & Tox. Chem. News, 7-23-97)
The Scientific Advisory Board is praising EPA for proposed guidelines that will change the way that EPA considers and reports cancer risks. In the absence of data, the EPA frequently considers cancer risks to be linear; any exposure (no matter how small) to a carcinogen could cause cancer. Most health scientist agree that there is some threshold exposure for most cancers; exposure to a carcinogen below this threshold will not cause cancer. New EPA guidelines will allow the risk assessor greater freedom to deviate from the linear model. This approach will a more logical evaluation of cancer risks.
Additionally, the EPA proposes to change the way that cancer is described. The agency currently uses a letter classification, with 'A' describing a known human carcinogen and subsequent letters describing other levels of risk. 'E' is for substances that are thought to be noncarcinogens. The proposal would replace the letters with three descriptions: 'known/likely', 'not likely,' and 'cannot be determined.' Each of the categories would be divided into 10 subcategories, such as 'cannot be determined, but suggestive.' (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 7-16-97)
The FQPA requires EPA to consider pesticide residues in drinking water when they establish pesticide residues. However, the model that EPA has to estimate potential pesticides in drinking water is generic and typically overestimates actual residues. Unless a better model is developed, pesticide registrants may be asked to implement unnecessary measures to reduce pesticide run-off into drinking water. The EPA is also aware of this problem; a workgroup will investigate the problem. Additional data are needed concerning 1) levels of pesticides in tap water after municipal treatment, 2) an update of the existing database for pesticides in groundwater, and 3) a more precise measure of tap water consumption by adults and children. (Arrow Newsletter, 7-97)
Approximately 35% of the 6,924 samples examined by USDA Pesticide Data Program had no detectable pesticide residues. On the samples with detectable pesticide residues, most were well below EPA tolerances. Less than 4% of the samples had pesticide violations. Of the 316 violations, only nine violations exceeded the pesticide tolerance. The remaining violations were for pesticides not labeled for the food on which they were detected. If you want a copy, call 703-330-2300) or visit the USDA Web site at http:\\www.usda.gov (PDP Annual Summary for 195)
More than 380 inert ingredients (defined by EPA) were once considered to pesticide active ingredients, according to the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides. (So what; maybe they found out the ingredient did not control the pest.). The Coalition's goal is not so absurd, however; they want toxicity of inerts to be indicated on the pesticide label. It is well know that some pesticide inert ingredients can injure humans. 'Inert' only means that it does not control the pest. Currently, the inert ingredients and their proportions are considered to be trade secrets. In 1987, the EPA began a project to identify the inerts according to four toxicity categories, with I (Toxicological Concern) to IV (Innocuous). Category III is 'unknown,' and the Coalition contends that the number of ingredients in 'III' has doubled. They add that some IIIs, such as naphthalene and chloropicrin, have well-established toxicology. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 8-6-97)
Under a new rule proposed by EPA, the Agency will regulate all plant pesticides with broad categories of exemptions under FIFRA and FFDCA. According to industry estimates, it will cost from $60,000 to $1 million to register a new plant pesticide. Many people fear that the cost will be a major disincentive to develop new plant pesticides, which will encourage the continued use of chemical pesticides. The key element of the new rule is the claim of pesticidal activity. If anyone claims that a plant controls pests, it will fall under the jurisdiction of EPA. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 7-30-97)
The EPA plans to exempt corn gluten from pesticide residue requirements when it is used as an herbicide or in/on food commodities. (FR, 7-18-97) I have no information regarding application sites or efficacy.
The EPA has announced that Bacillus cereus is exempt from the establishment of maximum residues on growing crops. (FR, 8-4-97)
The EPA has announced that copper ocanoate is exempt from the establishment of maximum residues on growing crops. (FR, 8-1-97)
According to MSU Pesticide Notes, there are 28 crops in the United States grown on more than 300,000 acres; they would qualify as 'major' crops as defined under FQPA. All other crops would be minor crops. Additionally, any pesticide used on fewer than 300,000 of any crop would be considered a minor use. The FQPA contains incentives/considerations for pesticides on minor crops or minor uses. These 28 crops are grown on more than 300,000 U.S. acres.
|Corn (all)||Orange||Snap bean||Tobacco|
|(via Kansas Pesticide Newsletter, 7-16-97)|
BASF is deleting plums, prunes, grapes, tomatoes, residential turf, turf in parks, school grounds, and recreational areas; they will delete these uses in order to add succulent beans. (FR, 8-13-97) Expect to see many more of these types of announcements as FQPA begins to take effect.
The following uses will be deleted from these pesticide labels at the request of the registrant. The deletions become effective on Jan. 12, 1998. Registrants/dealers may continue to distribute and sell the product for 18 months after the deletions. End-users may continue to use products according to the label until supplies are exhausted. (FR, 7-16-97)
Chlorpyrifos technical: pest control indoors, indoor broadcast use, total release foggers for indoor/residential use (except greenhouse), coating products intended for large indoor surface areas (e.g., floors, walls) inside homes, schools, hospitals, etc., pets and domestic animals (indoor), animal dips, sprays, shampoos, dusts, aquatic uses, paint additives. These deletions mean that there will be no more products of these types with chlorpyrifos in them. They are part of the recent agreement with EPA to reduce the risks of chlorpyrifos. [Note: five of eight member of a scientific committee recommend no further review of chlorpyrifos at this time.]
Freshgard 5: apples
50% Malathion EC: inside dwellings, homes, dairies & food processing plants, dogs & cats, livestock, strored grain, field and garden seeds, and peanuts, peanut storage bins, plums, prunes, mushroom houses.
Ronox MCPA Low Volatile Herbicide: rice
Technical MCPA IOE: rice and peas
Drexel Malathion: greenhouse use, almond, plum, prune, filbert, peanut, safflower, sorghum, soybean, sugarbeet, tobacco, stored almond and peanut, nonmedicated cattle feed concentrate blocks, bagged citrus pulp, warehouses, stored grains and field or garden seeds, fly & mosquito larvae control, livestock, domestic pets, in and around the home, lawns, fruit and vegetable dumps, food handling establishments.
The following products will be canceled at the request of the registrant. The deletions become effective on Jan. 12, 1998. Registrants/dealers may continue to distribute and sell the product for 18 months after the deletions. End-users may continue to use products according to the label until supplies are exhausted. If you would like to prevent the cancellation of any product, you are advised to contact your grower group or the pesticide registrant. (FR, 7-16-97)
|Caparol & MSMA with Surfactant||Dipterex Sugar Bait Insecticide|
|Caparol Accu-Pak||Dylox 5% Granular|
|Pentac WP Miticide||Dipterex Roach Bait Insecticide|
|Pentac Technical||Grub Control 5%|
|Pentac Aquaflow Miticide||MCPP-LV Technical Ester|
|Pentac Miticide Mist||The Andersons Tee Time Insecticide with Dylox|
|Pentac Miticide Mist Concentrate||Prokil Methyl Parathion 4|
|Wasco Sanital Rinse||Prokil Methyl Parathion 5|
|Di-Crobe NN||Gowan Methyl Parathion 7.5|
|Whitmire PT 575 Pyrethrum||Gowan Methyl Parathion 5EC|
|Whitmire PT 550 Resmethrin Insect Fogger||Gowan Methyl Parathion 4E|
|Whitmire PT 555||Ketokil No. 52|
|Whitmire PT 271||Prokil Ethyl-Methyl Parathion 6-3|
|Whitmire PT 120 Sumithrin Aerosol Generator||Lindane 12 1/2% Concentrate|
|Whitmire Regulator PT 430||Clean Crop Linuron 41 Herbicide|
|Whitmire PT 265a Knox-Out Plus II||B&G Multi-Purpose Insecticide SEC|
|Whitmire PT 265 PC Plus Synergized Pyrethrin||Fly Patrol|
|Whitmire PT 567||Riverdale MCPA Technical Amine|
|Whitmire PT 122 Sumithrin||Riverdale MCPA Technical Ioe|
|Whitmire Avert PT 300A Pressurized Bait||Riverdale MCPA Technical Acid|
|P/P Residual Ant + Roach Spray No. 2|
The EPA would like to bring 'reduced risk' pesticides to the market more quickly than other pesticides. Agricultural producers and others would use the reduced risk products instead of more dangerous ones, and everyone's risks would be reduced. Although the goal is noble, the devil is in the details. What defines a 'reduced risk pesticide'? Every registrant would like to bring a new product to market quickly, so everyone wants their pesticide to fall in the category of reduced risk.
The Agency proposes a 'weight of evidence' approach to determine which pesticides would qualify as reduced risk, but their idea has faced opposition. Some critics point out that pesticides that are less toxic may be applied as greater rates that other pesticides so that the overall toxic load remains unchanged. Others contend that inert ingredients can pose significant risks that may not be considered when the active ingredient is reviewed for reduced risk status. The overall consensus seems to be that EPA needs to consider the entire risk picture when evaluating new pesticides. (Pest. & Tox. Chm. Nws, 8-13-97)
However, expanding the number of factors to be considered dictates additional data review. Additional data review slows the registration process in several ways. The EPA has to wait for the data to be submitted; EPA staff have to review the data; the company must evaluate EPA findings; etc. Before long, the registration process for reduced risk pesticides is just as long as the registration of conventional pesticides.
For both conventional pesticides and reduced risk pesticides, the EPA does not review efficacy data for registration with the contention that the marketplace will eliminate ineffective pesticides. If the goal for EPA is to reduce pesticide risk, this philosophy could backfire in the case of reduced risk pesticides. If reduced risks pesticides come to the market more quickly, it requires a smaller investment to register the pesticide, and investment costs begin to be recaptured more quickly. Therefore, there is greater incentive to register a reduced risk pesticide even if it is less effective. The motivation becomes even greater if consumers demand food products grown with reduced risk pesticides. Suppose, however, that a number of reduced risks pesticides are not effective in controlling pests. Soon, the label 'reduced risk' pesticide will be equated with 'does not work.' Unfortunately, reduced risk pesticides that really do work will also receive the same label. Agricultural producers are a risk-averse population, and news travels fast. It will only take a few 'bad apples' to spoil the entire barrel. The EPA may do well to establish some minimal requirement to show that reduced risk pesticides are not 'reduced risk' for the pests.
In its review of pesticide tolerances and exemptions, the USEPA must meet the following time table: 33 percent of applicable tolerances and exemptions must be reviewed by August 1999, 66 percent by August 2002, and 100 percent by August 2006. FQPA also requires that by 8/3/97, the USEPA publish a schedule of its reassessment of these tolerances and exemptions. The notice described here satisfies that requirement.
The list is too voluminous for publication here, but it can be reviewed by EPA's web site at http:\\www.epa.gov.
The appearance of any trade name in this newsletter is not intended to endorse that product nor convey negative implications of unmentioned products.
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.
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
Paul Guillebeau, Assistant Professor & Extension Entomology