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

Your source for pest management and pesticide news

June 2000/Volume 23, No. 6

FOOD QUALITY PROTECTION ACT/RE-REGISTRATION

According to the Washington Post (June 1, 2000), the EPA will soon announce a decision that will effectively remove chlorpyrifos (Dursban), an organophosphate insecticide, from all homeowner products
EPA is also concerned about residential/occupational risks of diazinon
The preliminary risk assessment for malathion is also available
Comments on the risk assessment of trichlorfon should be submitted by June 27
Dow AgroSciences is requesting cancellation of their registration of chlorpyrifos-methyl

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

The good news is that pesticides in the United States are killing fewer children
The bad news is that stupid adults are still killing children with pesticides
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation also reports fewer illnesses related to pesticide exposure
The Pesticide Action Network North America reports that the use of cancer-causing pesticides in California has more than doubled in the past eight years
The ABC news show 20/20 compared the safety of organic foods and foods produced with pesticides
According to Italian researchers, wine is virtually free of pesticides if pesticides are used properly
At the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting, researchers announced that pesticide use in the home was linked to an increased risk of Parkinson's disease
A survey in Great Britain indicates that people will pay substantially more for bread if production 'did absolutely no damage to human health and biodiversity'
Tick season is upon us; follow these recommendations to reduce your risk of tick-borne diseases
The EPA has released some new fact sheets to explain the role of pesticides in mosquito control
The EPA is considering new restrictions on insect repellents that are marketed for children

FROM THE COURTROOM

NEW TOOLS

The EPA has granted a two-year registration for a new biochemical pesticide that triggers a plant's natural defenses against bacteria, fungi, and viruses
A Japanese company is examining methyl iodide as a potential replacement for methyl bromide
If you need a pesticide on a minor-use food crop, plan to attend the IR-4 Food Use Workshop in Orlando in September

FEDERAL NEWS

The Senate passed legislation that would require federally funded schools to notify all parents 48 hours before pesticides could be applied
In an earlier issue, we reported that an executive order might ban the use of organophosphate and carbamate insecticides on federal property
The EPA has announced the voluntarily recall of two 'Pull 'N Spray' pesticide products

SPECIAL TRAINING OPPORTUNITY


Food Quality Protection Act/Re-Registration

According to the Washington Post (June 1, 2000), the EPA will soon announce a decision that will effectively remove chlorpyrifos (Dursban), an organophosphate insecticide, from all homeowner products. Agricultural producers will still be able to use chlorpyrifos, but significant new restrictions are likely. It is unclear if professional pest control operators will be able to use chlorpyrifos products to control roaches, termites, or other household pests.

On the other hand, a colleague writes that EPA would not confirm or deny the Post article. I doubt if the Post would publish a story with such tremendous implications if the reporters were not confident in their sources. In a conference call about chlorpyrifos last week, EPA said very little about over-the-counter chlorpyrifos products.

Apparently, the agency is concerned about experimental results that showed chlorpyrifos could cause brain damage in fetal rats. However, EPA is not expected to issue a recall for chlorpyrifos products because the agency feels that there is not an imminent threat to public health. I do not understand this position. If chlorpyrifos really is a threat to infants/children, should it not be removed right away? Additionally, I expect that many homes will immediately discard chlorpyrifos products in the trash or down the drain.

Typically, EPA establishes an exposure threshold for a pesticide at 1/100 of the exposure that causes some observable effect in animals. Under FQPA, the Agency will reduce the exposure threshold up to ten-fold if there is evidence that the pesticide poses a particular threat to infants/children. In October, EPA planned to reduce the exposure threshold three-fold; now they have decided to reduce the exposure threshold for chlorpyrifos ten-fold. It is unlikely that any homeowner application could meet this new standard.

About 800 products currently include chlorpyrifos as an active ingredient. Common products include Ortho Lawn Insect Spray, Real-Kill Wasp & Hornet Killer II, and Spectracide Dursban products. Homeowners use about 3 million pounds of chlorpyrifos products per year. To find out if a product contains chlorpyrifos, look at the list of active ingredients that is required on every pesticide.

In this type of situation, EPA usually establishes a period in which existing stocks may be used. Continued home use may be legal for some time, but health concerns will prevent many people from using chlorpyrifos products. If you wish to dispose of chlorpyrifos products (or other pesticides), DO NOT pour them on the ground or down the drain. Read the pesticide label for proper disposal. Additionally, we will be working with the Georgia Department of Agriculture and local retail outlets to help you dispose of unwanted chlorpyrifos products.

There are wheels within wheels concerning the chlorpyrifos decision. Some of my colleagues wonder if election-year politics is involved. I do not know if their speculations are true, but action against chlorpyrifos is probably the biggest single pesticide decision that EPA could make. Broad restrictions of chlorpyrifos would affect everyone.

To make bad news worse, the EPA is also concerned about residential/occupational risks of diazinon, another organophosphate. The Agency has released its preliminary assessment of risks. The comment period will close July 18.

If you care about diazinon, you should take the time to review the assessment. You can find it at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/op/diazinon.htm

The preliminary risk assessment for malathion is also available; comments are due by July 10. The risks are mostly evaluated as acceptable in the preliminary assessment. See the report at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/op/malathion.htm

Comments on the risk assessment of trichlorfon should be submitted by June 27.

http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/op/trichlorfon.htm

Dow AgroSciences is requesting cancellation of their registration of chlorpyrifos-methyl (Reldan ). This organophosphate insecticide is used to control insects in wheat and other stored grains. The EPA required Dow to develop additional data for chlorpyrifos-methyl on acute, subchronic, and developmental neurotoxicity effects. In short, the company decided that the product was not worth the investment required to develop these data. According to USDA, malathion (another organophosphate) is the only available alternative to chlorpyrifos-methyl (Pesticide & Tox. Chem. News, 5-11-00)

Health and the Environment

The good news is that pesticides in the United States are killing fewer children. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the three-year average of fatal pesticide poisonings for children (under five years) decreased from about five per year in 1984 to about one per year in 1996. (Agromedicine Program Update, 5-15-00)

The bad news is that stupid adults are still killing children with pesticides. A toddler recently died in north Georgia after drinking paraquat. The paraquat was in a Gatorade bottle, and the bottle was allegedly left in a car with the toddler and a 3-year old child. No one intended for the child to be killed, and I am sure that the family is devastated. The blame in this case lies with whomever put the pesticide into the drink bottle. NEVER put any pesticide into a food or drink container. (Dawson News & Advertiser, 4-26-00)

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation also reports fewer illnesses related to pesticide exposure. The department indicates that confirmed pesticide illnesses declined 16.5% from 1996 to 1997 and declined nearly 25 percent more in 1998. (Chemical Regulation Reporter, 2-21-00 via Chemically Speaking, 4-00)

At the same time, the Pesticide Action Network North America reports that the use of cancer-causing pesticides in California has more than doubled in the past eight years, up 127 percent between 1991 and 1998. Additionally, total reported pesticide use in California rose 40 percent between 1991 and 1998. Go to http://www.panna.org if you want to see the whole story.

On February 4, the ABC news show 20/20 compared the safety of organic foods and foods produced with pesticides. Only 5 percent of the food samples were contaminated with bacteria, but the organically grown produce had more bacteria than the conventionally produced foods. One-third of the sprouts tested carried E. coli (most likely from manures used as fertilizers). No pesticide residues were found on any of the produce, organic or conventional.

Also consider this statistic. From 5,000 - 10,000 people in the United States die from food borne bacteria (typically contaminated through improper handling, not related to organic production). Zero people die each year from pesticide residues on food although some people would argue that pesticide residues have chronic effects that would not be counted in an ordinary count of mortality.

Get more details from these web sites and make up your own mind.

http://more.abcnews.go.com/onair/2020/2020_000204_stossel_organic_feature.html

http://www.acsh.org/press/editorials/organicfood021700.html

(thanks to W. Foshee and March issue of Alabama Pesticide Information)

According to Italian researchers, wine is virtually free of pesticides if pesticides are used properly. This article (April issue of J. of Food and Agric. Chemistry) reports that the winemaking process reduces the already-low pesticide residue levels to zero or near zero. (Pesticide & Tox. Chem. News, 5-11-00) So don't whine about pesticides when you're drinking.

At the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting, researchers announced that pesticide use in the home was linked to an increased risk of Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects about 500,000 people in the United States. According to the researchers, patients with Parkinson's disease were more than twice as likely to have been exposed to insecticides in the home. Past herbicide use was also associated with the risk of Parkinson's, but exposure to outdoor insecticides or fungicides did not seem to be linked with the disorder. For more information, contact the American Academy of Neurology Communications Office at 651-695-2763.

A survey in Great Britain indicates that people will pay substantially more for bread if production 'did absolutely no damage to human health and biodiversity.' The researchers interpreted the results as an indicator for less pesticide use on wheat to minimize the impact on biodiversity. However, they may be overlooking the fact that loss of habitat, not pesticide use, is the biggest threat to biodiversity. In fact, pesticide use may help protect biodiversity because we can produce more food on fewer acres. (Pesticide & Tox. Chem. News, 4-27-00)

Tick season is upon us; follow these recommendations to reduce your risk of tick-borne diseases.

  1. avoid overhanging brush, grass, and weeds when you can
  2. wear light colored long pants tucked into socks and shirt tight at the sleeves
  3. apply DEET products to your clothing to repel ticks
  4. inspect yourself and children immediately when you come indoors
  5. remove ticks by grasping them with tweezers as close to your skin as possible

For most tick diseases in the Southeast (including Lyme disease), the ticks must be attached for at least ten hours to effectively transmit the disease. If you inspect yourself when you return indoors, your risk of tick-borne disease is relatively small. Do not let fear of tick-borne disease spoil your outdoor experience, but do use common sense to protect yourself.

Physicians (and anyone else) can find more information about the diagnosis of tick-borne diseases in the March 2000 issue of the Georgia Epidemiology Report. Or visit their web site http://health.state.ga.us/

The EPA has released some new fact sheets to explain the role of pesticides in mosquito control. Mosquito control puts many people in a quandary because mosquito-borne diseases can be very serious. However, mosquito control often involves application of pesticide near water or inhabited areas, which also make many people nervous. See the new fact sheets at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/skeeters.htm

The EPA is considering new restrictions on insect repellents that are marketed for children. Some packaging on insect repellents implies that the products are specifically manufactured for use on children with the unstated implication that they are safer than other products. In reality, the products are often formulated exactly like the products for adults. Additionally, the Agency is concerned that packaging attractive to children may encourage excessive use by both children and adults. If you want to learn more, visit www.epa.gov/pesticides/biopesticides

From the Courtroom

The San Jose Mercury News (January 31, 2000) reports that a family in the town of Pleasanton is suing exterminators for $5.5 million, claiming that the company made their home unlivable with methyl bromide. According to the company and the Alameda County Agricultural Commissioner's Office, the chemical was applied properly. However, the family claims that the treatment caused widespread damage to articles throughout the house, and they claimed to smell a lingering chemical that burned their eyes and throat. The family, a contractor, a carpet cleaner, and a housekeeper also say the exposure is causing memory loss, fatigue and anxiety over potential future health effects. For nearly a year and a half, the family has not lived in the house, and their belongings remain inside.

New Tools

The EPA has granted a two-year registration for a new biochemical pesticide that triggers a plant's natural defenses against bacteria, fungi, and viruses. A protein called Harpin induces systematic acquired resistance when it is applied to plants. It can be used on a wide variety of crops and ornamentals.

The Harpin product (MessengerR) is produced with a modified form of Escherichia coli, but the E. coli is eliminated from the product before it is applied. The EPA reports that the new pesticide has little or no toxicological risks for man or the environment. The agency also reports that the protein reduced the use of conventional pesticides 70 percent in a tomato IPM experiment while outperforming conventional products. For more information, go to www.epa.gov/pesticides/ and search for 'harpin.'

A Japanese company is examining methyl iodide as a potential replacement for methyl bromide. According to researchers, methyl iodide is just as effective as methyl bromide, and it fits into current systems of production. Methyl iodide does not deplete ozone layer, and it does not persist in the atmosphere. (Chemical Regulation Reporter, 2-7-00 via Kansas Pesticide Newsletter, 5-00)

Don't clap for joy yet. To produce registration data will require 3-5 years and $10 million to $20 million. Additionally, methyl iodide is highly toxic even if it is not an ozone depleter. I would be somewhat surprised if methyl iodide is ever registered for use in the Unite States.

If you need a pesticide on a minor-use food crop, plan to attend the IR-4 Food Use Workshop in Orlando in September. The USDA IR-4 program was designed to help producers obtain pesticide registrations for minor crops. The program typically has more requests than they can handle. The Orlando meeting will help IR-4 prioritize their research projects. State/federal researchers, extension personnel, commodity producers, and chemical company personnel are encouraged to attend. Call Cheryl Ferrazoli if you want more information 732-932-9575 extension 601.

Federal News

The Senate passed legislation that would require federally funded schools to notify all parents 48 hours before pesticides could be applied. The EPA would also have to distribute information on integrated pest management (IPM) to schools. Opponents of this legislation point out that universal notification would be a burden on schools and that pest control operators practicing IPM do not always know that pesticides will be applied when they visit the school. A basic tenet of IPM is that the pest situation is evaluated before a pesticide decision is made.

In an earlier issue, we reported that an executive order might ban the use of organophosphate and carbamate insecticides on federal property. The Director of Government Relations for the National Pest Management Association (that's DGR o' NPMA) told us that the executive order would not contain a ban on organophosphate and carbamates. (thanks to Bob Russell at Arrow Pest Control)

The EPA has announced the voluntarily recall of two 'Pull 'N Spray' pesticide products. The alert only affects products sold in Pull 'N Spray containers; the containers are faulty, not the pesticide. The products are Monsanto Corporation's Roundup Ready-To-Use Weed and Grass Killer and the Scotts Company's Ortho Ready-To-Use Home Defense Indoor & Outdoor Insect Killer, both sold in 1.33-gallon plastic containers with a t-handle pump and application wand. Some consumers have reported failure of the product caused pesticide to leak or spray on the user. Consumers who have purchased Pull 'N Spray products should return the container with any remaining contents to the retailer where purchased for a full refund. The containers can be identified by the words Pull 'N Spray on the label or by the UPC codes. The Roundup UPC code item numbers are either 70183-58064 or 70183-58065. The Home Defense UPC code is 71549-01991.

For additional information, call 1-800-225-2883 or visit the EPA web site. www.epa.gov/pesticides


SPECIAL TRAINING OPPORTUNITY

On August 17, we will be offering a unique pesticide workshop that will focus on the categories of forestry, right-of-way, aquatic, and wood treatment. Every year, we provide broad training via satellite to give recertification credit for almost every certification category. However, the strength of the program is also its weakness. Broad, general training cannot address specific problems in individual categories. The problem is particularly acute in 'minor' categories because applicators have few training opportunities.

We are working together with the Putnam County Extension Office to address the problem. The all-day workshop will offer specific training in these categories and calibration instruction for the equipment that these applicators most commonly use.

The categories of forestry, right-of-way, aquatic, and wood treatment will receive five hours of recertification credit. Private applicators are also welcome and will receive 2-3 hours of recertification credit. Applicators from other states are encouraged to attend as well; we will apply for recertification credits in those states.

Look for additional details through your county extension office or professional organization soon. Preregistration will be required, and a $20 registration fee (includes lunch) will be charged.

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 706-542-1765

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/ces/wnews.html

Sincerely,

Paul Guillebeau, Associate Professor & Extension Entomologist