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

Your source for pest management and pesticide news

May 2000/Volume 23, no. 5

FEDERAL NEWS

Federal inspectors are in Georgia to review pesticide records of private certified pesticide applicators
The USDA has two new items to help you with pesticide recordkeeping
The USDA has provided a directory of computer software that is available to help you keep pesticide records
You can find links to many pesticide companies, labels, and Material Safety Data Sheets
For the first time, the U.S. EPA, Germany, and the European Commission are going to conduct parallel reviews for registration of a new corn herbicide

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

How can you measure the effectiveness of an insect repellent?
If your children are bored with their computer games, the EPA has a new site to help children learn about the dangers of household chemicals
The EPA has begun the process to revise first-aid instructions on pesticide labels
Delegates from more than 100 countries met recently to discuss management of persistent organic pollutants
According to a University of Georgia scientist, the Formosan termite may pose the greatest 21st century challenge for pest management specialists
According to a survey in Oklahoma City, childcare facilities need training to better protect children from pesticide exposure

BIOTECHNOLOGY

The National Research Council reports that there is no evidence that genetically modified foods in the market are unsafe to eat
Advertising will also help the public accept biotechnology; the Council for Biotechnology Information will spend at least $50 million in five years to educate the public about biotech
According to an industrial market research firm, world demand for transgenic seeds is expected to reach $2.9 billion by 2004

FROM THE COURTROOM

Richard Fletcher of Maryland needed to dispose of some pesticide (chlorine gas); he faces up to five years in prison (and a $25,000 fine).
A Michigan grand jury indicted a Canadian farmer and pesticide dealer for conspiring to smuggle pesticide into the U.S.

FOOD QUALITY PROTECTION ACT

If you are concerned about the benefits or risks of ethyl parathion, you should take the time to review the EPA risk assessment and provide comments
The EPA announced the cancellations and use deletions for azinphos methyl on April 19
How do you measure things that you cannot detect?

EPA NEWS

The EPA has released its latest report on the status of 'Special Review' pesticides

NEW TOOLS

CERTIFICATION & RECERTIFICATION

The Coastal Georgia Community College is offering a three-hour review to help you prepare for the pesticide applicator's exam
The 2001 satellite training session for pesticide recertification is scheduled for February 15, 2001

Federal News

Federal inspectors are in Georgia to review pesticide records of private certified pesticide applicators. The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) has historically checked these records along with their regular pesticide inspections. The GDA will still conduct their regular inspections, but federal inspectors will be checking records of restricted-use pesticide (RUP) applications by private applicators.

  1. The federal inspectors will only check records for RUP. Everyone is required to keep a record of any RUP application. Your county extension office can tell you what information you need to record. The inspectors will not be checking for violations of any other pesticide regulation (e.g., Worker Protection Standard).
  2. The federal inspectors will not be checking people with a commercial pesticide applicator's license. These applicators will still be inspected by GDA.
  3. Your pesticide records do not have to be perfect. If you are trying to keep the proper records, you will not be punished for some missing or incorrect data.
  4. The inspectors will contact applicators to set up a convenient appointment. They will not simply 'show up' on the farm.
  5. The inspectors should have proper identification, including an USDA-APHIS badge and a card signed by Bonnie Poli of USDA.
  6. If you have no records or if you refuse to cooperate with the federal inspectors, you will be in trouble.
  7. Each inspection will last about 30 minutes.
  8. The inspectors will visit 188 applicators spread across about ½ of the Georgia counties. We provided a list of these counties to the extension office in every county in Georgia.
  9. The federal inspectors are conducting inspections now.

I discussed these new inspections at length with USDA and GDA. I do not expect any trouble or particular inconvenience. Simply cooperate and discuss your pesticide records.

The USDA has two new items to help you with pesticide recordkeeping: refrigerator magnets (in Spanish) and peel-and-stick labels (in English). Both the magnets and the labels list all of the information that you need to record about applications of restricted-use pesticides. You could post these handy reminders anywhere in the barn or pesticide area. Contact your local county agent if you would like to receive either of these items. Georgia county agents can get both items from me.

The USDA has provided a directory of computer software that is available to help you keep pesticide records. The directory is a review of a large number of programs and offers a review, computer requirements, cost, source, etc.

We will post the entire directory on the Web at http://www.ces.uga.edu under 'What's New.'

You can find links to many pesticide companies, labels, and Material Safety Data Sheets at http://www.cdms.net/ Thanks to Jeff Cook, Tattnall Co. Extension.

For the first time, the U.S. EPA, Germany, and the European Commission are going to conduct parallel reviews for registration of a new corn herbicide (Foramsulfuron, Equip®, Tribute®). This pilot will help the sister agencies explore differences and similarities between the registration programs. The end result will be a framework upon which to establish future pesticide collaboration. Closer cooperation on pesticide issues should make it easier to reach agreement on food import/export issues. (EPA Pesticide Program Update, 4-26-00)

Health and the Environment

How can you measure the effectiveness of an insect repellent? This measure is important because effective insect repellents want to claim that the product can reduce the risk of a disease carried by a mosquito or other arthropod vector.

Historically, the EPA has required data based on the 'first confirmed bite' (FCB). Under FCB, a bite that is not confirmed by a second bite within 30 minutes is discarded from the data. Now, the Agency is considering different tests, including 'time to first bite' (FB) and 95% reduction in biting.

The EPA is proposing the 95 percent bite reduction and the FB tests to establish a standard that would allow effective products to make health claims, such as 'may reduce the potential for disease.' Products that do not meet the standards could only make weaker claims, e.g., 'may reduce bites' or 'aids in repelling.'

Other confusing issues must also be resolved. What is the standard 'dose' for an insect repellent? How much mosquito pressure is necessary for a valid test? After all, any product may repel one mosquito with a stomach full of blood, but what if there are thousands of the little devils that have not eaten in weeks? What standard should be established for length of effectiveness? (Pesticide & Tox. Chem. News, 4-13-00)

If your children are bored with their computer games, the EPA has a new site to help children learn about the dangers of household chemicals. I can hear you snickering, and I admit I was also a scoffer. My opinion changed after I visited the site. It is well organized and easy to understand. I even think my kids will find it interesting (of course my children have been twisted by their exposure to me).

Check it out. You will find information about pesticides and other hazardous chemicals around the home; tips for proper storage and handling; and guidelines for emergencies.

http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/kids/hometour/index.htm

The EPA has begun the process to revise first-aid instructions on pesticide labels. While companies can start to use this revision immediately, the Agency will accept public comments for 30 days. Based on recommendations from the medical community and the Consumer Labeling Initiative, the section labeled 'Statement of Practical Treatment ' will be designated 'First Aid.' Additionally, the format will change, and the labels will carry first aid instructions for each pathway of exposure (mouth, skin, eye, and inhalation). The Agency hopes to revise all product labels. (PR Notice 2000-3)

Delegates from more than 100 countries met recently to discuss management of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including nine pesticides. Three main areas of contention remain.

  1. Is the goal of the treaty elimination or management of POPs?
  2. How strong will precautions be regarding POPs?
  3. Will industrialized countries provide financial support to developing countries to help them replace POPs?

This final question was by far the most contentious.

POPs are a group of chemicals that are toxic, persist in the environment, accumulate in animal tissue and particularly body fat, and can travel great distances. The initial twelve POPs addressed in the treaty are aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, mirex, toxaphene, PCBs, dioxin and furans.

Negotiations in 1999 established a plan to eliminate production and use of aldrin, endrin and toxaphene without exemptions. Chlordane, dieldrin, heptachlor, mirex and hexachlorobenzene were targeted for phase-out with country-specific exemptions. The exemptions, however, remain unspecified. (PANUPS, 4-20-2000)

According to a University of Georgia scientist, the Formosan termite may pose the greatest 21st century challenge for pest management specialists. The termites reportedly attack creosote telephone poles, live trees, telephone cables, electrical switches, and water line seals. I heard another termite specialist say that we would have to develop better controls for Formosan termite or stop building houses from wood. An estimated 30 percent of New Orleans live oaks are infested. (Royal Entomological Society Bulletin, 1-31-00, via Chemically Speaking 3-00)

According to a survey in Oklahoma City, childcare facilities need training to better protect children from pesticide exposure. Of the surveyed childcare businesses, only about 10 percent thought they had pesticides stored on-site. However, more than 50 percent of the facilities had pesticides stored on the premises, and often the pesticides were not stored securely. This report was an eye-opener for me; we will develop some educational materials for childcare businesses right away.

(From the 1999 meeting of the Entomological Soc. of America, via the IPM Practitioner, 3-00)

BIOTECHNOLOGY

The National Research Council reports that there is no evidence that genetically modified foods in the market are unsafe to eat. The Council also advised EPA, FDA, and USDA to identify their respective roles in the regulation of genetically modified organisms. 'Public acceptance . . . depends on the credibility of the testing and regulatory process.'

The Biotechnology Industry Association welcomed the report 'which will reassure consumers on the thoroughness of the scientific scrutiny in place by U.S. regulatory agencies.' (Pesticide & Tox. Chem. News, 4-6-00)

Although I am in favor of biotechnology, I doubt if this report will calm anyone's fears regarding genetically modified foods. About 40 years ago, you could have said there is no evidence that smoking cigarettes is unsafe. Public acceptance of genetically modified foods will take time, and regulation will have to catch up with the science.

Advertising will also help the public accept biotechnology; the Council for Biotechnology Information will spend at least $50 million in five years to educate the public about biotech. The founding corporate members of the Council (Aventis, BASF, Dow, DuPont, Monsanto, Novartis, and Zeneca) have a lot invested in the success of biotechnology. Look for a web site, television and print ads, radio spots, and a toll-free information number. (Pesticide & Tox. Chem. News, 4-6-00)

After all, if a television celebrity tells you that it is OK to eat genetically engineered food, it must be true.

Here is the bottom line. You cannot believe everything you see on television. You should not believe everything you hear from this Council, but neither should you believe everything you hear from anti-biotechnology groups. Inform yourself and make up your own mind. Celebrities often know even less than you do.

There is an interesting footnote to this story. I called the Gerber (the baby food company) info line. They told me that they never use any genetically engineered component in their baby food products, and they imply that this practice makes the baby food more wholesome. Gerber is a Novartis company, one of the founding members of the Council for Biotechnology Information.

According to an industrial market research firm, world demand for transgenic seeds is expected to reach $2.9 billion by 2004. Overall, the market is expected to rise 13 percent annually. The report indicates that growth will come primarily in three areas: seeds carrying multiple engineered traits, new transgenic feed and cereal grains, and crops with increased nutrition or other enhanced health traits. If you would like a copy of the report, contact the Freedonia Group at 440-684-9600 or www.freedoniagroup.com

FROM THE COURTROOM

Richard Fletcher of Maryland needed to dispose of some pesticide (chlorine gas); he faces up to five years in prison (and a $25,000 fine). After his business was evicted, Fletcher dumped nine canisters of chlorine containing approximately 900 pounds of chlorine gas.

Fletcher probably deserves his punishment. Chlorine is highly toxic, and it can cause severe burns to eyes and skin. If you have pesticide that you do not want, contact your county agent. He or she can advise you on safe (and legal) methods of disposal. Proper disposal of unwanted pesticides can be frustrating, but dumping pesticide is not worth going to prison. (EPA News Release, 4-20-00)

A Michigan grand jury indicted a Canadian farmer and pesticide dealer for conspiring to smuggle pesticide into the United States. Allegedly, he sold Round-Up and another pesticide to a dealer in Illinois who was also indicted. Canadian Round-Up is not registered in the United States, and it is substantially cheaper in Canada. (Pesticide & Tox. Chem. News, 4-13-00)

Food Quality Protection Act

If you are concerned about the benefits or risks of ethyl parathion, you should take the time to review the EPA risk assessment and provide comments.

You can find the assessment at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/op/ethyl_parathion.htm

On the negative side, ethyl parathion is an extremely toxic organophosphate insecticide that can cause serious injuries if mishandled. On the other hand, ethyl parathion is effective, relatively inexpensive, and it usually breaks down quickly. Current registrations are limited to aerial application on nine crops: (alfalfa, barley, corn, cotton, canola, sorghum, soybean, sunflower and wheat).

The American Bird Conservancy is urging people to ask EPA to cancel all registrations of ethyl parathion. A great deal of ethyl parathion is used in the Great Plains and prairie pothole region where much of the U.S. waterfowl population reproduces. The ABC feels that the risk to birds from ethyl parathion outweighs the pesticide's benefits.

You may agree with ABC, or you may have another opinion. The most important thing is that you participate in the decision-making process. (PANUPS, 4-24-00)

The EPA announced the cancellations and use deletions for azinphos methyl on April 19. The label/registration changes are the result of negotiations between EPA and the registrants. These uses will no longer be permitted: cotton in Louisiana and east of the Mississippi River, sugarcane, ornamentals (except nursery stock), Christmas trees, shade trees, and forest trees. Existing stocks of azinphos-methyl already in the possession of growers may be used until depleted, provided the use is in accordance with the existing label or the August 2 risk reduction agreement. The details of this cancellation are available on EPA's web site at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr

For more information, contact Barry O'Keefe, Special Review and Reregistration Division, at 703-308-8035 or via email at okeefe.barry@epa.gov.

(EPA Pesticide Program Update, 4-24-00)

How do you measure things that you cannot detect? The EPA scientists are trying to answer that question as they implement FQPA. Suppose an instrument can detect a pesticide at 1 part per thousand. What if the pesticide is present at 0.5 parts per thousand? The instrument could not detect the pesticide, but the pesticide level is not zero.

The Agency has typically assigned a value of ½ the level of detection (LOD) when evaluating pesticide dietary risks. For example, if an instrument that detects 1 part per thousand finds no pesticide, the EPA would assume the pesticide was present at a level of 0.5 parts per thousand. Under some circumstances, the EPA will repeat a risk evaluation with both ½ LOD and a zero to see how the estimate is affected.

Needless to say the EPA policy has been controversial. The Agency is still trying to standardize policy in this area. If you would like to review the Agency's proposal and provide comments, visit www.epa.gov/pesticides

EPA News

The EPA has released its latest report on the status of 'Special Review' pesticides. Special Review is an EPA program to evaluate pesticides that may cause unreasonable risk to man or the environment. More than 100 pesticides have been subject to past or ongoing Special Reviews. The process is intended to balance the risks and benefits of a particular pesticide.

In the new age of reregistration, FQPA, and negotiated settlements, Special Reviews are much less common. If you want a copy of the EPA report, hit the web www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/SpecialReview/index.htm or request a printed copy by calling 800-490-9198 (request publication number EPA 738-R-00-001). It may not be the most appealing coffee-table book, but you can be sure that no one else in your neighborhood will have one.

New Tools

The EPA registered a new, biochemical insect repellent derived from Eucalyptus plants. The first end-use product, OFF! Botanicals 1 Insect Repellent, is a spray applied to human skin or clothing to provide protection from annoying mosquitoes (are there some mosquitoes that are not annoying), biting flies, gnats and no-see-ums. The repellent is supposed to be effective for up to two hours (I guess that time interval is anywhere from one second to, but no more than, two hours). The registrations are conditional, pending the results of field testing for efficacy. This product is not expected to repel koalas.

For more information, contact Jim Downing with EPA at (703) 308-9071.

Certification and Recertification

The Coastal Georgia Community College is offering a three-hour review to help you prepare for the pesticide applicator's exam. The review will include the exams for both general standards and the ornamental/turf category. Enrollees must pay $35.00 and provide their own copies of the pesticide manuals. Two reviews will be conducted (May 11 and July 12), from 9:00 - noon. The pesticide applicator exam will follow the review at 1:00. Call 800-603-1278 for details.

The 2001 satellite training session for pesticide recertification is scheduled for February 15, 2001. If you did not have a convenient downlink site this year, contact your county agent. Your county extension office can set up a downlink location next year if they recognize a need for a local training site. County agents: If your downlink site is a popular location, you might want to reserve the 2001 date early.

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,Assistant Professor Extension Entomologist