Illinois Pesticide Review
In This Issue
EPA Updates Endangered Species Protection Program Web Site
We last wrote about EPA's Endangered Species Protection Program (ESPP) in the January 2007 issue of this newsletter. Bruce Paulsrud wrote that the ESPP Web site was expected to be launched very soon. Well, it's been a few months longer than expected, but the site is finally up and running. Things never tend to move too quickly in Washington, it seems.
EPA has updated and redesigned its ESPP Web site to make it easier for visitors to find relevant information about the program and to reflect enforceable limitations on pesticides that will be put in place through its Endangered Species Protection Program. Visit http://www.epa.gov/espp/ to view the Web site, which now includes a more streamlined interface and more visible and useful links on the homepage, allowing the user to quickly navigate through the many topics.
- Bulletins Live! Access Endangered Species Protection Bulletins to view pesticide-use limitations for your county or read the Bulletins Live! tutorial.
- Risk Assessment Process: Learn how EPA evaluates potential risks to endangered species from pesticides.
- Effects Determinations: Read EPA's assessments of whether a pesticide's use may have effects on threatened or endangered species or their designated critical habitat ("effects determinations") and learn about the result of litigation.
- Species Information: Learn about types of threatened and endangered species, access EPA's fact sheets about specific species, and connect to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service.
- For Kids: Learn about endangered species, view an endangered species poster, and print a coloring book.
The ESPP is based on pesticide labels and Endangered Species Protection Bulletins, unlike the previous voluntary program, which relied on cooperative efforts of states, tribes, and pesticide users. Under the voluntary program, pesticide-use restrictions appeared in Interim Bulletins, which were not enforceable. With the new program, pesticide labels, when appropriate, will refer the pesticide user to EPA's Bulletins Live! application on the ESPP Web site for geographically specific Endangered Species Protection Bulletins. The Bulletins will contain enforceable use limitations for a pesticide when necessary to protect listed threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act. Bulletins become enforceable when referenced on a pesticide product label in the marketplace.
So what does this mean for pesticide users in Illinois?
There are currently very few if any pesticides that have the new ESPP language directing users to Bulletins Live! It could take as much as a couple of years for these new labels to hit the market. Users will have adequate time to learn the process. Basically, this is how it all works. When a user needs to follow endangered species restrictions, he or she will first see language on the label saying that he must follow the instructions in the Bulletin. Information will be given on how to download from the Web or obtain a Bulletin by calling a toll-free number. The Bulletins will be considered labeling and will therefore be enforceable. Keep in mind that many pesticides will not have any endangered species language on the label. It could be that endangered-species concerns were resolved through the registration process, by changing a variety of things (formulation, rate of application, timing of application, equipment, application method, etc.) to reduce the risk to endangered species. It could be that the pesticide has not been reviewed yet. EPA plans to complete assessments on about 44 active ingredients a year. Their registration review schedule is posted on the Web at http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/registration_review/schedule.htm. Every chemical will be assessed on a 15-year cycle.
What about the county maps that were posted on EPA's Web site a couple of years ago?
These have been taken down and are being revised. You may recall that our neighboring states had a few counties highlighted as having use restrictions. The Illinois map was under construction. Forget about all of those maps. Everything is new. However, it is likely that the new, enforceable Bulletins will contain information similar to what was in the old Bulletins. Pesticide restrictions in these older Bulletins were based on Biological Opinions from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). It is all being reviewed.
Tips for viewing Bulletins
It may be useful for users to first read the pesticide label and then view the Bulletins prior to purchasing a pesticide–just to see if there are any use restrictions. As the label language states (if it is there), users must consult the Bulletin no more than 6 months prior to using the product and that new Bulletins will be available 6 months before their effective date. Taking an early peek is fine. Just realize you may need to look at the maps again or print out a new Bulletin prior to application.
What about printing and recordkeeping?
I've been told that EPA can't require users to print a copy of the Bulletins. However, it is strongly recommended that a copy be maintained in an applicator's records. The label language says the user must follow the measures in the Bulletin. It doesn't require the user to have a copy of the Bulletin. Some states, however, will either require the applicator to make a copy of the Bulletin or recommend that they do so. I have not heard what the Illinois Department of Agriculture plans to do. Enforcement staff will have access to older Bulletins (more than 6 months worth) so they can look up a Bulletin for a past application if needed. The public will have access to about 6 months' worth of Bulletins for a particular county.
I expect this program will continue to evolve as EPA works out any kinks they discover. We will keep you updated in future issues of the Illinois Pesticide Review.
(Michelle Wiesbrook. Source: email conversations with Margaret Jones of USEPA; adapted with permission from The Connection newsletter of the North Central Integrated Pest Management Center.)
Illegal Use of Fumigant Kills 2-Year-Old
On July 17, 2007, a family in Lubbock, Texas, was trying to kill the cockroaches in their home. They had obtained from a third party an industrial strength, commercial-use-only insecticide, Phostoxin. At about noon, the Phostoxin pellets were placed in four locations in the home. Toxic fumes were then released, sickening four adults and killing a 2-year-old girl. On Wednesday morning, the family believed they had been sickened by carbon monoxide poisoning and called 911. Hazmat crews called to the scene identified the cause of their sickness as a pesticide. Once everyone was safely out of the house, authorities taped off the area to keep people out.
The Phostoxin pellets that were found in the home are really intended for industrial use in large grain elevators. They are also used to control burrowing pests such as prairie dogs and gophers. A toxic gas, phosphine, is released for about 72 hours once the chemical comes into contact with moisture, possibly atmospheric moisture. The product should never have been used in a residential site. In fact, it is classified as a restricted-use pesticide with warnings of acute inhalation toxicity clearly stated on the label. Product labeling details the proper use of this product, as well as the needed personal protection equipment. Only certified fumigation applicators should be able to purchase and apply this product. Criminal charges have likely resulted if the responsible party has been found.
This news item was the lead story on three episodes of the KCBD-TV News Channel 11 news in Lubbock, Texas. Each can be viewed courtesy of the North Dakota State University Pesticide Program at http://ndsupesticide.cws.ndsu.nodak.edu/FumigantDeath2007.
For more information about Phostoxin, please refer to a fact sheet recently created by the Texas Cooperative Extension: http://lubbock-tx.tamu.edu/publications/PHOSTOXIN%20Aluminum%20Phosphide.pdf.
Aluminum and magnesium phosphide grain fumigants and their required fumigation-management plans are discussed in the September 2005 issue of the Illinois Pesticide Review as well.
(Michelle Wiesbrook. Sources: "Toddler dies from pesticide in home," Associated Press; KCBD-TV news stories.)
The Benefits of Pesticides
This past spring, a research paper was published on the benefits of pesticides to humans and the environment. The paper, 12 pages in length, was published in Crop Protection and is authored by Jerry Cooper and Hans Dobson from the University of Greenwich in the United Kingdom. The article, "The benefits of pesticides to mankind and the environment," can be found online at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/02612194. The full article can be easily found using the site's quick search.
The abstract and outline are provided here for your convenience. For more information or the full article, please follow the link above.
Most published material relating to pesticides focuses on negative attributes and outcomes. This fact probably partly explains the public's inaccurate perception of the hazard they represent, and the low level of appreciation of the benefits they bring. This paper explores and analyses the many benefits of using pesticides, in order to inform a more balanced view. It does not attempt to quantify or rank these benefits, nor to weigh them against any negative consequences of pesticide use. Twenty-six primary benefits are identified that are immediate and incontrovertible, and 31 secondary benefits that are longer term, less intuitive and for which it is harder to establish causality. These benefits include increased crop and livestock yields, improved food safety, human health, quality of life and longevity, and reduced drudgery, energy use and environmental degradation. A complex matrix of benefit interactions are explored for a range of beneficiaries at three main levels–local, national and global, and in three main domains–social, economic and environmental.
2. Perceived versus real risk
3. Types of positive outcome from pesticide use
3.2 Primary benefits
3.3 Second benefits
4. Beneficiaries and the domains and dimensions of benefit
5. Categorisation of benefits by domain and dimension
4.1 The benefits of effect 1, controlling pests and plant disease vectors
4.2 The benefits of effect 2, controlling human/livestock disease vectors and nuisance organisms
4.3 The benefits of effect 3, preventing or controlling organisms that harm other activities or damage structures
6. Discussion and conclusions
(Michelle Wiesbrook. Source: Office of Pesticide Programs, U.S. EPA.)
Chemical Spill Reporting Violations: EPA Settles Illinois, Wisconsin Cases
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 recently settled administrative cases involving hazardous chemical release reporting violations in Chicago, Illinoiss, and Fort Atkinson and Kansasville, Wisconsin.
All three cases involved anhydrous ammonia, which is commonly used in commercial refrigeration systems and as fertilizer. The chemical causes burns to the skin and irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, and may be fatal if inhaled for long periods. Anhydrous ammonia releases greater than 100 pounds must be immediately reported.
Federal law requires immediate notification to the National Response Center (NRC) for chemical releases above certain thresholds. The NRC activates the appropriate response authorities. Responders need to know what they are dealing with so they can take steps to protect people living and working in the area.
The NRC is the sole federal point of contact for reporting chemical and oil spills. They are open all day, every day. They can be reached at (800)424-8802. Learn more at their Web site: http://www.nrc.uscg.mil/nrchp.html.
For major spills, Illinois law requires that emergency notification be made to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA). That office, in turn, notifies the appropriate agencies for response. The 24-hour, emergency hotline number is (800)782-7860. The Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) should also be notified. Their contact information can be found at http://www.state.il.us/iema/disaster/pdf/lepctier2mailingaddresses.pdf.
So what exactly constitutes a major spill? Unfortunately, this is not a question with a short, simple answer. The amounts vary by chemical, and several criteria come into play. Please see the emergency release notification fact sheet from IEMA in this issue of the Illinois Pesticide Review. It is helpful to read through this resource to get a feel for the steps that need to be taken should a major spill occur. For example, a written follow-up notice is required in some instances. Also for transportation-related incidents, only calling 911 is required. Who knew?
For more information on handling pesticide spills, refer to chapter 5 of the Illinois Pesticide Applicator Training Manual SP39: General Standards.
The three recently settled cases follow:
C.G. & S. Provision Company Inc., Chicago, paid $27,000 to resolve EPA's complaint for failure to provide immediate notification to the NRC and state and local emergency response commissions of a 600-pound release of anhydrous ammonia. The release from the facility's refrigeration system was six times the reportable quantity and was reported late. Follow-up reports were also late.
Conserv FS Inc., Kansasville, paid $20,956 to resolve EPA's complaint for failure to provide immediate notification to the NRC and state and local emergency response commissions of a 1,055-pound release of anhydrous ammonia. The release, from a leaking valve on an ammonia tank, was reported late. Follow-up reports were not submitted.
Jones Dairy Farm Inc., Ft. Atkinson, paid a $36,060 penalty and will perform an environmental project to resolve EPA's complaint for failure to provide immediate notification to NRC and state emergency response commissions of a 2,805-pound anhydrous ammonia release. A broken valve caused the release of 28 times the reportable quantity. Low levels of ammonia were detected in surrounding neighborhoods, causing authorities to shut down state Highway 26 and require local residents to stay inside. Follow-up reports were also late.
Be prepared should a pesticide or other agrichemical spill occur. Contact the proper authorities to ensure the matter is handled properly with the least amount of damage to our environment and also to avoid those hefty fines.
(Michelle Wiesbrook; adapted from an EPA news release, 8/31/07, posted on http://www.epa.gov/agriculture/news/index.html.)
Emergency Release Notification Fact Sheet
Please click here for the Emergency Release Notifiction Fact Sheet from IEMA.
A related article on Chemical Spill Reporting can also be found in this newsletter issue.
Ag Health Study Update
It is estimated that 1.8 billion people worldwide use pesticides in their occupation. Research also indicates that everyone in the United States is exposed at least indirectly to pesticides. Of the pesticides and their components, only arsenic and dioxin are listed as known human carcinogens. The National Agricultural Health Study was initiated in 1993 to determine the incidence of cancer and other health problems associated with pesticides, other agrichemicals, and agricultural practices in the United States
The National Agricultural Health Study is a federally funded, long-term study focusing primarily on cancer rates among farmers. However, a large portion of the participants from Iowa are professional agricultural pesticide applicators; and many of the results are applicable to landscape applicators. The 89,658 participants in the study are all agricultural workers, their spouses, and their children–from North Carolina and Iowa.
Many studies of the effects of agricultural chemicals and other practices rely primarily on the long-term memory of the participant or surviving family members to determine exposures. As a result, these backward-looking studies have some inherent problems in the data that they collect, causing some concerns about the conclusions that are drawn from that data. The Agricultural Health Study relies on memory for the practices of participants prior to 1993, but since then has been tracking agricultural practices and health effects as they occur. Included in some of the studies has been the collection of genetic, urine, and blood samples, as well as on-site observations of the agricultural activities of the participants. The study is expected to continue at least through 2013. All of the participants are interviewed every 5 years. Their third interviews have just been completed and provide some interesting information.
It was determined that 14% of pesticide applicators have had an acute exposure to pesticides in their lifetime. Concerning chronic exposure to pesticides, it was determined that there is a 66 to 75% reduction in pesticide exposure to applicators who wear chemical-resistant gloves. There is a 33 to 51% reduction in pesticide exposure when using a broadcast boom sprayer, compared to using a hand sprayer. This survey exposure information was verified through measurements of pesticides in urine samples, exposure patches on the skin, and air measurement during application.
Personal practices were also surveyed. After using pesticides, 37% take a shower or bath, whereas 63% do not. Of those surveyed, 5% wear the same clothing that they wore on the previous day when they applied pesticides without it being washed; 95% wear clean clothing the next day.
Other studies have shown that a major source of contamination indoors is due to tracking in pesticide residues on shoes. In this study, 78% take off their work boots before entering their home; 21% do not. Clothes worn during pesticide application are washed separately by 74%; 26% do not wash pesticide contaminated clothes as a separate laundry load. Agricultural or commercial pesticides were stored in the home by 13%
of the applicators; 87% do not.
Studies in the past have shown that exposure to pesticides during application is greatly reduced if the applicator is in a tractor cab or is similarly protected. In this study, 64% of the applicators were in an enclosed cab during pesticide application; 36% did not use an enclosed cab. Almost all, 93%, of the applicators repaired their own pesticide application equipment; 7% did not repair their own equipment.