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Your source for pest management and pesticide news

November 1999/Volume 22, no. 11

FOOD QUALITY PROTECTION ACT

Chlorpyrifos alert!!
Visit this web site to keep track of EPA progress on all of the organophosphates
Want to know what kind of progress EPA has made on FQPA implementation (according to EPA)?
The EPA is proposing a revised process for tolerance reassessments
Implementation of FQPA and reregistration may result in availability of certain pesticides only by prescription
The EPA has proposed grouping some or all of the carbamate pesticides with the organophosphate pesticides to assess the cumulative risks

BIOTECHNOLOGY

Iowa State will host a biotechnology conference next October focusing on the role of extension
Australia has established a government office to regulate commercial releases of genetically engineered products
The Wall Street Journal (7-30-99) reports that Gerber will not use genetically engineered foods in their baby food, and they will try to switch entirely to organic, pesticide-free foods
Archer Daniels Midland is encouraging their suppliers to segregate genetically modified products from other grains
According to Monsanto, Bt corn significantly reduces mycotoxins by 90%.
The EPA is awaiting the results of a $100,000 industry study concerning ecological effects of Bt corn
The Department of Health and Human Services and FDA plan a series of public meetings concerning genetically engineered foods

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

According to PANUPS (October 29, 1999), 24 or more children in a remote part of Peru died after eating government-donated food that was contaminated with parathion
Senator Robert Torricelli has introduced the School Environment Protection Act in an attempt to protect children from pesticides at school
According to the International Food Policy Research Institute (a Washington think-tank), we will need to increase world grain production by 40% to meet global demand in 2020
The USDA reports that organic mulch greatly reduces pesticide runoff compared with runoff from plastic mulches
There has been a resurgence of wild honeybees in Texas because of populations that are resistant to Varroa mite
Researchers in Illinois have found that birds will avoid foods that have been contaminated with parathion
According to an article in the Journal of the American Cancer Society (3-99), exposure to glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) is linked to an increased risk of non-Hodgkins lymphoma
The Department of Defense reports that they have reduced their pesticide usage 50% in the last five years

NEW REGULATIONS

Oregon has become the third state (along with Calif. & N.Y.) to require tracking of agricultural and commercial pesticide use
The National Grain & Feed Association estimates that proposed EPA restrictions on grain fumigants could cost growers from $341 million to $1.1 billion
The EPA will propose new label requirements focused on drift reduction

CANCELED

EPA will cancel the following pesticide registrations at the request of the registrants unless the requests are withdrawn. The cancellations will be effective March 9, 2000


 

Fire!

If you have a fire on your farm or place of business, would your fire department know what kinds of pesticides could be burning? Pesticide fires can pose several different hazards to fire fighters. First of all, some pesticides release toxic gases when they burn. Fire fighters may need special respiratory equipment. Second, spraying a pesticide fire with large amounts of water may flush contamination into storm drains, nearby waterways, or wells. It may be better for the fire department to let the pesticide incinerate. Finally, materials like aluminum phosphide release large amounts of highly toxic phosphine gas when they contact water.

Follow these tips before a fire or other emergency occurs.

  1. Prepare an inventory of the pesticides you have on hand and the amounts of each.
  2. Keep an MSDS for every pesticide in a location away from the pesticide storage area so you can still reach them if there is a fire. The MSDS will contain information about pesticide fires or special hazards associated with particular pesticides.
  3. Talk to your local fire department about the types and amounts of pesticides you store. If your community has a volunteer fire department, it is especially important to alert them to special precautions or equipment that they may need.
  4. Work with other growers or businesses in your community to provide local emergency personnel with a comprehensive picture of the types of pesticides widely stored throughout the community.

Food Quality Protection Act

Chlorpyrifos alert!! Your comments are needed on the chlorpyrifos risk assessment by December 27, 1999. The preliminary assessment for risks to human health and the environment has been released. If you care about what happens to chlorpyrifos (is there anyone who would be unaffected), take the time to read the assessment and make comments. Believe it or not, government agencies do make mistakes. Believe it or not, the EPA does care what you have to say. Pay particular attention to the parts of the document that indicate how chlorpyrifos is used in your industry. You may be able to provide valuable information. Visit http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/ and look under October 27.

Chlorpyrifos is one of the most widely used pesticides in the U.S. (more than 20 million pounds applied annually). It is a popular product to control termites and roaches. Chlorpyrifos is registered for scores of food crops. Dozens of home products contain chlorpyrifos for control of every pest from the ant to zeflea (I know that's French, but it fits my phrasing fabulously). Now that food tolerances must be aggregated together and with all nonoccupational exposures, chlorpyrifos may be enough to blow the top off of the risk cup without the other organophosphates.

Given the widespread use of chlorpyrifos, it is not surprising that this pesticide is also responsible for many reported pesticide incidents. All of this reporting has caught the attention of EPA. I don't think that chlorpyrifos poses a substantial risk if it used according to the label. However, 20 million pounds per year is a lot of pesticide; it seems like a good idea to look for potential health risks.

Visit this web site to keep track of EPA progress on all of the organophosphates.

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

Want to know what kind of progress EPA has made on FQPA implementation (according to EPA)? Visit this web site and look under October 28.

http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/

The EPA is proposing a revised process for tolerance reassessments.

Pre-Phase I: EPA informs public about pesticides scheduled for evaluation well before the process begins. Registrants identify relevant ongoing studies or analyses.

Phase I: Increased effort to disseminate information to the public. Risk assessments sent to registrants, USDA, FDA, and DHHS (Dept. of Health & Human Services).

Phase II: Revised risk assessment sent to USDA. USDA coordinates conference calls/meetings with stakeholders. EPA/USDA address comments from stakeholders. EPA addresses comments from FDA and DHHS. Revised risk assessments released to public.

Phase III: Public comments on risk assessment and mitigation options.

Phase IV: EPA reviews and addresses information from Phase III. Inter-agency senior managers will meet to discuss revised risk assessment and risk management options.

(Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 10-28-99)

The wild card remains negotiated settlements between EPA and registrants. If the registrant and EPA cut a deal in any phase, the process can end abruptly with no further opportunity for stakeholder involvement. If EPA follows the proposed process, we will have ample opportunity to voice our concerns.

I think that EPA usually wants to the right thing, but it is our responsibility to keep their toes to the fire. Do not let them take the easy way out. Take the time to provide comments when you have the opportunity.

Implementation of FQPA and reregistration may result in availability of certain pesticides only by prescription. In the medical profession, only low-risk medicines may be self-prescribed. Higher risk products are only available with a doctor's prescription. There would be advantages and disadvantages if agriculture adopts a similar system for pesticides. We may be able to continue availability of some valuable pesticides. On the other hand, the administration of such a system would require a tremendous new infrastructure. Who will be qualified to write pesticide prescriptions? Will they be available in all areas? The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology has issued a report that discusses the pros and cons. Look for 'Feasibility of Prescription Pesticide Use in the U.S.' at their Web site http://www.cast-science.org/

The EPA has proposed grouping some or all of the carbamate pesticides with the organophosphate pesticides to assess the cumulative risks. Both groups of pesticides affect acetyl-cholinesterase, a nerve enzyme. The Agency has submitted their proposal to FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 9-30-99)

If the carbamates and organophosphates are grouped together, the already-crammed risk cup will seem even smaller. This type of grouping will probably result in a significant increase in the number of pesticide registrations at risk from FQPA.

The Scientific Advisory Panel is also beginning to evaluate two different models that may be used to estimate the aggregate risks of pesticides. The models attempt to estimate exposure from all sources, including exposure from dietary, residential, and drinking water sources. The weak link for the modeling is the lack of definitive data regarding exposure from various sources. The current EPA default for indoor, transferable pesticide residues is about 5 percent. However, other sources indicate that a much different number should be used for transferability (how much pesticide moves from household items to the skin). The transfer of pesticide also depends on the type of surface and the type of contact that an individual has with the surface. All of these data gaps mean that a definitive model may be slow in coming.

Biotechnology

Iowa State will host a biotechnology conference next October focusing on the role of Extension. The goals of the conference:

You can find the details on the Web.

http://www.biotech.iastate.edu/symposium_oct2000.html

Australia has established a government office to regulate commercial releases of genetically engineered products. This office will be responsible for all approvals for the release of genetically modified organisms. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 9-2-99)

Look for greater specific regulation of genetically engineered products in the United States soon. As the following stories demonstrate, the public is starting to notice (and worry about) genetic engineering. Canadian groups are launching an anti-biotechnology campaign this fall. At least one U.S. congressman plans to introduce a bill that will require labeling of foods with genetically modified ingredients.

The Wall Street Journal (7-30-99) reports that Gerber will not use genetically engineered foods in their baby food, and they will try to switch entirely to organic, pesticide-free foods. The ironic twist? Gerber is a subsidiary of Novartis, a major player in both genetically engineered foods and pesticides. This move is not a signal that the company thinks that pesticide residues or genetic engineering make Gerber baby food products unsafe. Rather, they want to avoid any hint of public concern about Gerber baby food. (via Chemically Speaking, 9-99)

Archer Daniels Midland is encouraging their suppliers to segregate genetically modified products from other grains. Again, it is not a food safety issue, but a substantial number of ADM customers are demanding non-modified foods. ADM wants to give their customers what they want. For now, ADM is continuing to buy genetically-engineered foods. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 9-2-99)

The implications of these decisions are enormous. About 1/3 of U.S. corn and more than 1/2 of the soybean crop are genetically modified. If the growers cannot sell the product, they will not buy the seed. If the growers do not buy the seed, the seed companies will stop producing it. If the profit motive is removed from genetic engineering, investments in research and development of new products will dry up. Without continued research, we could be depriving ourselves of some tremendous benefits.

According to Monsanto, Bt corn significantly reduces mycotoxins by 90 percent. Mycotoxins (aflatoxin) are toxic materials produced by fungi growing on grains or other materials. Insect damage often increases the potential for mycotoxin contamination by providing entry points for the fungi. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 9-9-99)

The EPA is awaiting the results of a $100,000 industry study concerning ecological effects of Bt corn. A few months ago, a Cornell entomologist published information that showed that pollen from Bt corn could adversely affect monarch butterflies. Although the laboratory results were unexpected, effects in the field could be very different. In any case, action groups are capitalizing on this discovery as an example of genetic engineering gone awry. The industry study hopes to head off this type of publicity. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 9-3-99)

The Department of Health and Human Services and FDA plan a series of public meetings concerning genetically engineered foods. The meetings are planned for November 18 (Chicago), November 30 (Washington DC), and December 13 (Oakland). If you want more information, call 1-888-SAFEFOOD.

Health and the Environment

According to PANUPS (October 29, 1999), 24 or more children in a remote part of Peru died after eating government-donated food that was contaminated with parathion. Another 20 children were also poisoned but survived. The source of the poisoning was not clear. The government suggested that a milk substitute had been mixed in pesticide containers or that milk substitute had been deliberately mixed with pesticide to poison a dog.

According to local action groups, this poisoning incident proves that the safety of toxic pesticides cannot be guaranteed. They are calling for an immediate ban on all highly toxic pesticides.

Senator Robert Torricelli has introduced the School Environment Protection Act in an attempt to protect children from pesticides at school. The bill will require public schools to implement integrated pest management (IPM) using least-toxic pesticides. Sounds great, doesn't it? I would be more enthusiastic, except this is same federal government that brought us the Food Quality Protection Act. (Pesticide & Tox. Chem. News, 10-14-99)

Please do not misunderstand. I agree that we need to minimize pesticide use and risks in schools. Along with the Georgia Pest Control Association and the Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation, we are vigorously pushing for the implementation of IPM in schools. I recently spoke to the Georgia School Superintendents Association, and they were very receptive. Georgia is well on the way to a successful IPM in Schools program.

The very last thing we need is the federal government telling us how to implement IPM in schools. Several states have mandated IPM in schools. They are doing no better than the rest of us, and they have to expend valuable resources to fulfill unnecessary legal requirements. Finally, the National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides (NCAMP) supports this bill. I am familiar with NCAMP, and I have little confidence in their agenda.

We can and we should greatly reduce pesticide risks in schools AND control pest populations effectively. It will take cooperation and education. Let the people who know how to do IPM in schools do it.

According to the International Food Policy Research Institute (a Washington think-tank), we will need to increase world grain production by 40% to meet global demand in 2020. Most of the world's arable land is already in production unless we convert rain forests or other wildlife areas into farmland. These facts mean that we must increase the productivity on currently available farmland. The increase in agricultural productivity is feasible through biotechnology and the judicious use of pesticides. Unfortunately, many people today do not see beyond their own dinner plate and want bans on both genetic engineering and pesticides. (AP, 11-7-99)

The USDA reports that organic mulch greatly reduces pesticide runoff compared with runoff from plastic mulches. Currently, plastic mulch is used to control weeds and conserve soil moisture in much of the nation's vegetable production. Plasticulture has two big environmental problems: 1) disposal of the plastic at the end of each season and 2) pesticides run off of the plastic. In a three-year study, tomato production on plastic had an average of 10x more pesticide runoff compared with tomatoes produced with vetch mulch. The vetch plots also lost considerably less soil and water. For more information, contact Cathleen Hapeman at chapeman@asrr.arusda.gov (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 9-2-99)

There has been a resurgence of wild honeybees in Texas because of populations that are resistant to Varroa mite. Unfortunately, most of these populations are Africanized bees. This resistance could provide Africanized bees a competitive advantage that may help them spread rapidly into new areas. (APIS, 8-99)

Researchers in Illinois have found that birds will avoid foods that have been contaminated with parathion. Blackbirds will avoid mealworms after eating a small number injected with a small amount of parathion. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 9-9-99)

These findings have two different implications. Wild bird populations may avoid uncontaminated, natural food items after the birds are exposed to similar, contaminated items. The population could suffer from reduced food availability. Conversely, bird populations may benefit because they may rapidly learn to avoid eating pesticide granules.

According to an article in the Journal of the American Cancer Society (3-99), exposure to glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) is linked to an increased risk of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The incidence of non-Hodgkins lymphoma has been increasing for several decades in many Western countries. This study reports that exposure to glyphosate, other herbicides, and fungicides may be linked to the increase. Minimize your exposure to all pesticides!

The Department of Defense reports that they have reduced their pesticide usage 50% in the last five years. In 1993, DOD used nearly 900 million pounds of pesticide active ingredient; in 1998, they used only 450 million pounds. Although the DOD should be applauded, do not equate reduced usage with reduced risk. A significant part of the decrease in pounds applied was accomplished by switching to pesticides that are active at much lower rates. For details, visit http://www.pesp.org/ Look under 'What's new?'

New Tools

New developments are improving practical delivery systems for the release of beneficial insects. A number of companies can provide large numbers of predatory/parasitic insects for control of pest species. It is relatively easy to place beneficials in a small area like a home garden, but what if a commercial grower with thousands of acres wants to use beneficials? Some biological controls, like Bacillus thuringiensis, can be applied with conventional spray equipment, but it can be difficult to spray lady beetles without a lot of clogging problems. Beneficial insects are typically applied in the egg stage, and it is easy to damage many of the eggs with an improper delivery system. Recently developed systems, like Bio-Sprayer (developed by USDA), are overcoming many of the technical problems associated with earlier delivery systems. It will be up to agricultural researchers and extension to find the proper fit for these systems into agricultural IPM.

A new book on pesticide law may be helpful. Pesticides Law Handbook: A Legal and Regulatory Guide for Business is available from Bergeson & Campbell. 202-962-8585 or http://www.lawbc.com/

Pesticide regulations are changing very rapidly right now. If this book if very expensive, you may want to wait.

Plants in the cabbage family produce chemicals that may be useful to control soil pathogens. Brassica family plants make glucosinolates that are transformed into compounds that are toxic to many organisms. Cabbage, mustards, and similar plants pump these toxins into the soil as they grow to protect themselves from soil pathogens. These compounds break down into harmless materials in a few days. The discovery of the role of glucosinolates may provide us with a new class of low risk pesticides. (J. of Agric. & Food Chemistry, 9-99)

New Regulations

Oregon has become the third state (along with California and New York) to require tracking of agricultural and commercial pesticide use. The new law will require exterminators, farmers, and other commercial pesticide users to report the product, the amount, location, and date of application. The Oregon Department of Agriculture will have to determine how the new law should be implemented. Data collection will begin in 2002. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 9-2-99)

The National Grain & Feed Association estimates that proposed EPA restrictions on grain fumigants could cost growers from $341 million to $1.1 billion. Aluminum and magnesium phosphide react with moisture to release phosphine gas. Both products are widely used to control insect pests of stored grain. There are currently no other feasible options, and stored grain pests can cause a tremendous amount of damage. Unfortunately, phosphine gas is highly toxic. The EPA, the registrants, and grower groups are working to reduce risks and maintain critical uses. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 9-16-99)

As a side note, Steve Brown and I are traveling throughout the state to provide training in the proper application of grain fumigants. Watch for opportunities in your area.

The EPA will propose new label requirements focused on drift reduction. The Agency expects to solicit public comments on the proposed regulations. Current label language regarding drift is undefined simplistic. The EPA will require more robust, enforceable language. These new regulations could have significant impacts on some pesticides uses; watch for your opportunity to comment. (Pestic. & Tox. Chem. News, 9-16-99)

Canceled

EPA will cancel the following pesticide registrations at the request of the registrants unless the requests are withdrawn. The cancellations will be effective March 9, 2000.



AG-480 Lindane 2E
Bonide Borer Miner Killer Lindane EC
Bonide Borer Miner Killer-5 Liquid Lawn Edger
Bonide Garden & Ornamental Fungicide Omacide P-10
Dearcide 702 (if insecticide kills insects, what do you kill with 'dear' cide) Paper-Tek
Eagles -7 Mange Treatment Paracide II
Fairfield Redidual B Pratt 25% WP
Farnam Dog Dip Pratt 5% Lindane Borer Spray
Happy Jack Streaker for Dogs Pratt Borer Spray
Kennel Dip II

(FR, 9-1-99)

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