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

Your source for pest management and pesticide news

March 2003/Volume 26, No. 3

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

According to UC-Riverside, some produce washes are not as effective at removing pesticide residues as they claim
EPA will observe National Poison Prevention Week from March 16 - 22
A coalition of public action groups is trying to halt the planting of biopharm crops

NEWS YOU CAN USE

If you need a list of restricted-use pesticides, here are some good sources
If you would like to become a Certified Crop Advisor, here is a web site for you
Although not a pesticide story, here is some sound advice

FEDERAL NEWS

EPA has reopened the public comment period for the January 24, 2003, Federal Register notice (68 FR 3785) seeking public comment on an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) for endangered species and pesticide regulation
The EPA has announced draft procedures for involving the public in developing, modifying, and implementing pesticide program policy documents available for public comment
The EPA has released for public review and comment draft final guidelines for cancer risk assessment, as well as a supplemental guidance for assessing early-life exposure to carcinogens
The EPA is extending the comment period for submitting comments related to the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program

FOOD QUALITY PROTECTION ACT - REREGISTRATION

Now that the smoke has mostly cleared for the organophosphates, here is a recap of the impacts for homeowner pesticides
Pecans are being removed from the methyl parathion label

BIOTECHNOLOGY

The EPA approved the use of a new plant-incorporated protectant designed to control corn rootworm

DON'T DO IT

Terminix has agreed to pay $100,000 for selling customers unnecessary services

Health and the Environment

According to UC-Riverside, some produce washes are not as effective at removing pesticide residues as they claim. Produce washes typically claim that these products are much more effective than water for removing pesticide residues from food. The study will be published in the February 2003 edition of Bulletin Environ Contam Toxicol. The first part of the study examined produce that had been sprayed with the fungicide captan. The unrinsed produce has captan at 6.7 parts per million (ppm). A water rinse reduced the level to 4.1 ppm, and the produce wash reduced captan to 3.7 ppm.

The researchers also looked at produce that had been treated with tank mix of captan and methomyl, an insecticide. The produce that was unrinsed had a residue level of 0.52 ppm of captan and 0.87 ppm of methomyl. A water rinse produced levels of 0.10 ppm for captan and 0.71 ppm for methomyl. The fruit that was rinsed with water and produce wash had a residue level of 0.053 ppm for captan and 0.53 ppm for methomyl.

According to the researchers, this study clearly shows that produce washes are not worth the money they cost. (Environmental Toxicology Newsletter, 1-03)

EPA will observe National Poison Prevention Week from March 16 - 22 to increase awareness of the danger to children of accidental poisoning from pesticides and household products. This year's theme is "Children Act Fast ... So Do Poisons!" because it only takes a few moments for a small child to grab and swallow a poisonous substance. Adults should carefully read labels and store hazardous household chemicals away from children at all times. A new "Poison Prevention: Read the Label First! Community Action Kit" is now available that includes materials for communities to use to heighten awareness about preventable poisonings caused by the improper use and storage of household chemicals; teach parents, pet owners, and gardeners the value of carefully reading product labels; and plan and publicize poison prevention outreach activities. The kit was developed through a grant from EPA to the National Safety Council, and is available by contacting Donald Gooding of the National Safety Council at 202-974-2496 or e-mailing gooding@nsc.org EPA has other free publications available to parents and community organizations to inform people about potential dangers found in homes, including "Ten Tips to Protect Children From Pesticide and Lead Poisonings." All publications can be obtained by calling EPA's Environmental Publications line at 1-800-490-9198. Additional information on Poison Prevention Week is available at: http://www.poisonprevention.org/ (EPA Press Advisory 3/12/03)

A coalition of public action groups is trying to halt the planting of biopharm crops genetically engineered to contain pharmaceuticals or industrial chemicals. The notice cites the agency's gross violations of law for allowing the field testing of biopharm crops without performing the required environmental safety studies.

Biotechnology companies have conducted over 300 field trials across the country since 1991. The organizations taking action fear that contamination of the U.S. corn supply with genetically engineered pharmaceuticals may have already occurred.

On March 6, 2003, USDA announced that it would not stop field trials of biopharm crops, but the agency is proposing new regulations. Under these new rules, pharmaceutical corn crops must be planted at least 1 mile away from other crops destined for human and livestock food. Current USDA regulations call for a half-mile separation. Additional new rules include an increase in the number of field site inspections, restrictions on the production of food and feed crops at the test site the following season, and use of dedicated mechanized equipment for planting and harvesting.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, the world's largest association of food, beverage and consumer product companies, stated in a press release that the changes are "insufficient to ensure food supply safety."

Environmental groups say that the proposed rules do not go far enough. On December 16, 2002, several organizations filed a separate legal petition calling on the USDA to prohibit open-air cultivation of all crops genetically engineered with biopharmaceuticals (such as vaccines), industrial chemicals or other substances with potential human health impacts. (Center for Food Safety press release, March 5, 2003. USDA Press Release, March 6, 2003. Grocery Manufacturers of America press release, March 6, 2003)

News You Can Use

If you need a list of restricted-use pesticides, here are some good sources. If you need the original source, go to the EPA web site http://www.epa.gov/opprd001/rup/. Many people find the EPA list cumbersome. A Nebraska list found at http://www.ianr.unl.edu/pubs/pesticides/ec2500.pdf is more streamlined, but it may not be as current as the EPA list. Finally, the label of every restricted-use pesticide carries the words "Restricted Use Pesticides" at the top of the front panel. Although both of the lists above can be expected to be reasonably accurate, the label is the definitive source.

If you would like to become a Certified Crop Advisor, here is a web site for you. Certified crop advisors (CCA) are professional consultants that counsel growers on agronomic practices, including pesticide recommendations. If you would like to explore the requirements and opportunities for CCA, start at http://www.agronomy.org/cca/

Although not a pesticide story, here is some sound advice. During July 13-15, 2002, residents of a western Alaska village on the Bering Sea shore decided to eat a beluga whale that had been dead for at least several weeks. About half the participants were later diagnosed with food-borne botulism. Fortunately, none of the patients died. The Alaska Division of Public Health advises people to avoid eating beached marine mammal carcasses. (Environmental Toxicology Newsletter, 1-03)

Let this story be a lesson to us all. Even if you are excited about finding a dead whale on the beach, it is not time for a whale sandwich. I realize that July is chilly along the Bering Sea, but almost nothing could persuade me to eat part of a beached animal that had been dead for several weeks or more. As a general rule, I do not even eat whale meat that I have kept in the refrigerator for more than about a week.

Federal News

EPA has reopened the public comment period for the January 24, 2003, Federal Register notice (68 FR 3785) seeking public comment on an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) for endangered species and pesticide regulation. The new comment period will end on Tuesday, March 25, 2003.

The January 24 Federal Register was published in conjunction with the Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce. It announced the agency's intent to improve the Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultation process through counterpart regulations, non-regulatory changes, and other appropriate actions. The notice seeks comments on ways that the consultation process can be made more effective and efficient with respect to pesticide registration actions that may have effects on listed threatened or endangered species. The agencies are coordinating this effort with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure that any modifications to the current processes or regulations take into account the need to minimize the impact on food and fiber producers and other pesticide users.

The agencies have extended the time allowed for public comment on the ANPR because they recognize the need to provide adequate opportunity for public input and want to provide transparency in the decision-making process.  A Federal Register notice announcing this extension will be published shortly and may be accessed electronically through the EPA Web site under the "Federal Register" listings at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/

The Agency probably extended the comment period because no one has taken the time to say anything. Good for them and a raspberry for you. Millions of people will complain after the rule is written, but few will take the trouble to give EPA input when it could make a difference.

The EPA has announced draft procedures for involving the public in developing, modifying, and implementing pesticide program policy documents available for public comment. Although program policy documents are non-binding policy statements and not legally binding rules, these policy documents play an important role in helping to ensure consistency in decision making. Believe it or not, the Agency believes that routinely providing an opportunity for public review and comment has only helped stakeholders interact with its Office of Pesticide Programs more effectively and improved the quality of the resulting pesticide policy documents.

I also believe that better public policy results from greater public involvement. In many cases, the lack of involvement is an issue of the public, not the government. In this case, EPA is providing 60 days for public comment (ending May 12, 2003). I may be cynical, but I doubt if many people will take this opportunity.

The EPA document is available through EPA's electronic dockets at http://www.epa.gov/edocket/ and then select "search," and key in docket number OPP-2003-0054. You can view the Federal Register notice at: http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/index.html

The EPA has released for public review and comment draft final guidelines for cancer risk assessment, as well as a supplemental guidance for assessing early-life exposure to carcinogens. The EPA has been working to revise the 1986 guidelines in light of significant advances in scientific understanding of how cancer may be caused. EPA's guiding principle for revisions to the cancer guidelines is that Agency cancer risk assessments be both public health protective and scientifically sound. The draft guidelines have also previously been the subject of public review and independent scientific peer review. Today's draft document reflects many of the comments and suggestions provided to EPA by various reviewers.

Because the draft final "Guidelines for Carcinogen Risk Assessment" recommends consideration of possible sensitive subpopulations and lifestages (such as childhood), EPA is also releasing for public comment a draft "Supplemental Guidance for Assessing Cancer Susceptibility from Early-Life Exposure to Carcinogens." The draft supplemental guidance is part of EPA's response to a 1994 recommendation by the National Research Council that "EPA should assess risks to infants and children whenever it appears that their risks might be greater than those of adults." Following public review and comment, this draft supplemental guidance will be peer reviewed by EPA's Science Advisory Board comprising a distinguished body of non-governmental experts drawn from academia, industry, and environmental communities.

The draft final cancer guidelines reflect EPA's evolving approach to cancer risk assessment, resulting from both significant strides in scientific knowledge and in EPA's experience in applying risk assessment principals and practices. Both the draft final guidelines and the draft supplemental guidance reflect the considerable increase in our fundamental knowledge of the biological processes of cancer, and are expected to enhance EPA's ability to more accurately assess the carcinogenic potential of environmental contaminants.

Both the draft final guidelines and the draft supplemental guidance are available at: http://epa.gov/ncea/raf/cancer2003.htm

The Agency is taking this action for several reasons. Cancer is an important issue, and few things scare people more than cancer risks. Secondly, the probability of cancer can be very difficult to assess. If a pesticide causes cancer in a rat or mouse, does that mean the pesticide will cause cancer in a human? Finally, cancer and cancer fears are very powerful political tools. Politically active groups can force their agenda by scaring the pants off of ordinary citizens. Do not be a pawn. Be informed and make your own decisions.

The EPA is extending the comment period for submitting comments related to the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program to April 1, 2003. Kudos should be given to the Agency for extending this comment period. Data suggest that many chemicals (including some pesticides) can affect the human endocrine system. Significant effects could be very important, but it is also imperative not to enact regulations until we understand the problem. Please take time to comment if you have something to say. More information on the proposed chemical selection approach is available in a Fact Sheet entitled "Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP): Proposed Chemical Selection Approach for the Initial Round of Screening." This fact sheet is available at http://www.epa.gov/scipoly/oscpendo/factsheet.htm The Federal Register notice announcing the extension of the comment period is available at: http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-TOX/2003/February/Day-26/t4385.htm

Food Quality Protection Act - Reregistration

Now that the smoke has mostly cleared for the organophosphates, here is a recap of the impacts for homeowner pesticides.

Chlorpyrifos. Sales for all uses around the home use ended December 31, 2001.

Diazinon. All retail sales for indoor uses stopped December 31, 2002.

Manufacturing for all lawn, garden, and turf uses stops June 1, 2003.

Sales and distribution for these products will stop August 1, 2003.

All registrations for these uses will be canceled December 31, 2004, and the registrants will initiate a buy-back program for remaining retail stock.

Dimethoate(Cygon). All residential uses cancelled, including home gardens, buildings, recreational facilities and playgrounds. Retailers can sell dimethoate products for residential sites and public areas until March 12, 2003.

Acephate(Orthene). The cancellation order is expected to include all residential indoor uses and most turfgrass sites. Acephate will still be available for fire ant mound treatments. Acephate products for residential use could be sold until 12-31-02.

For all of these products, it is legal to use existing products for residential uses. If you have it, you can use it according to the label. If you do not want to use it, give it away or dispose of it in with your trash. For trash disposal, we recommend that you protect against leaks. If you can do so easily, pour cat litter (or another absorbent) into the container to soak up the liquid. Otherwise, place the sealed container and cat litter into a larger container (like a plastic bucket) with a lid. The cat litter will absorb any leaking pesticide.

Keep in mind that the decisions to cancel these pesticide uses were primarily economic. The EPA did not discover a new health risk, but the Agency was concerned. The pesticide registrants were asked to address the concerns in order to maintain the registrations. Developing new data can be very expensive, so the registrants decided to withdraw the registrations for household uses.

Our book of pesticide recommendations for residential uses has been whittled down to a half sheet of paper written on just one side. Our recommendations for residential insecticides can almost be summed up in one line, "Use a pyrethroid, imidacloprid, carbaryl (Sevin), or malathion."

All four of these options have serious disadvantages. Pyrethroids exacerbate problems with mites and scale insects. Additionally, some groups are already calling pyrethroids "endocrine disruptors." Using the words "endocrine disruptor" and "children" in the same sentence will become as bad as handing out cigarettes in day care centers. Furthermore, entomologists have raised concerns about resistance if pyrethroids are the only alternative for some major pests.

Imidacloprid is very effective against certain insects (e.g., aphids), and it lasts a long time. These two factors make resistance more likely. Without other alternatives, many entomologists are concerned about the long-term efficacy of imidacloprid.

Carbaryl and malathion are effective against some pests, but they do not provide the broad-spectrum activity of some of the organophosphates. Additionally, carbaryl is a carbamate insecticide. The carbamate group is next in line for cumulative risk assessment by EPA.

Pecans are being removed from the methyl parathion label. It may not be too late to save this use, but time is running out. If you have a concern, contact Phil Poli of USDA immediately at PPOLI@arsdc.usda.gov

Biotechnology

The EPA approved the use of a new plant-incorporated protectant designed to control corn rootworm, a widespread and destructive insect in the United States. According to the Agency, this new product will provide corn growers with a safe, non-chemical pest control alternative that can reduce reliance on traditional insecticides.  The reduced pesticide use will benefit the environment directly and can mean less exposure to people who apply chemical pesticides to corn.

Corn rootworm has been a tremendous environmental problem for two major reasons. One, the pest is unpredictable. In many cases, a grower cannot know if there will be a problem with corn rootworm until it is too late. As a result, many growers apply an insecticide when they plant the corn as insurance against future damage. Secondly, corn is planted on 80 million acres in the United States. These two factors combine to make corn rootworm responsible for the single largest use of insecticide in the United States. This new variety of corn could eliminate much of the need for the at-planting insecticide.

On the other hand, approval of this new product will increase the production of genetically engineered crops by millions of acres. Additionally, nearly every product that contains corn, corn sweetener, cornstarch, corn oil, or other corn products will include a genetically engineered component. The new, genetically engineered corn will not be segregated from other corn; all of the corn will be mixed together. Many people are concerned about the consumption of genetically engineered foods.

If customers are worried, companies are worried. Frito-Lay announced that the company did not want genetically engineered potatoes for their chips. Will the company refuse corn and corn products from genetically engineered corn? Growers like the idea of reduced pesticide use from economic and environmental points of view. However, the growers still need to sell their product.

What will consumers decide? Are the environmental savings associated with reduced pesticide use worth the perceived increase in risk associated with consuming genetically engineering corn?

In order to reduce the possibility of corn rootworm developing resistance to Bt, EPA is requiring Monsanto to ensure that 20 percent of the planted acreage of this product be set aside where non-Bt corn will be grown to serve as a "refuge." These refuge areas will support populations of corn rootworm not exposed to the Bt bacterium. The insect populations in the refuges will help prevent resistance development when they cross-breed with insects in the Bt fields. This resistance management strategy was developed as a condition of the registration, and EPA will require routine monitoring and documentation that these measures are followed. EPA is also requiring Monsanto to conduct additional research on corn rootworm to ensure that optimal long-term resistance management practices are maintained.

As with all similar products, EPA has approved the new corn for time-limited use, which will be subject to reevaluation in several years. For more information on EPA's regulation of genetically engineered crops, see http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/biopesticides/

Don't Do It

Terminix has agreed to pay $100,000 for selling customers unnecessary services. State officials in Massachusetts report that the company was selling customers monthly contracts for carpenter ant extermination. The contracts included exterior insecticide applications through the winter months. The company agreed to end the winter sprays and inform customers that year-round control of carpenter ants may not be necessary in Massachusetts. (The Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General Press Release, 12-30-02, with a tip of the cap to Chemically Speaking)

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, just call us at 706-542-9031

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