Illinois Pesticide Review
March / April 2009
In This Issue
- New Online Training Available for Retailers of Pesticides
- Which Pesticides Require a License?
- Household Hazardous Material Collection Events Scheduled for 2009
- Pyrethroid Insecticide Poisoning Study
- Major Tomato Producer Faces Record-high Penalty for Serious Pesticide Violations at New Jersey Operations
- A New Web Page Describes EPA's Plans for Use of Ag Health Study Results
New Online Training Available for Retailers of Pesticides
An online training course to help retailers work with their customers to make better pest management choices has been launched by University of Illinois Extension.
"Responsible Pest Management for Retailers" (http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/rpmr/) was developed by U of I Extension personnel George Czapar, an Integrated Pest Management educator; David Robson, horticulture educator; Martha Smith, horticulture educator; and Michelle Wiesbrook, an Extension specialist in horticultural weed science/pesticide safety education.
"Previous studies have shown that most homeowners buy pesticides from retail stores with lawn and garden centers and that store employees are often asked to make pest management recommendations," Czapar explained.
He added that he and his colleagues surveyed over 900 retail stores in Illinois to better understand how pest management recommendations are made, identify current sources of information, and assess educational needs. Significant differences in the level of employee training, resource materials used, and customer referrals were noted among lawn and garden stores, home improvement centers, hardware stores, and general merchandise stores.
While 72% of lawn and garden centers assigned specific employees to make pesticide recommendations, only 39% of hardware stores identified an employee who makes recommendations. Differences between store types were even more pronounced when asked where they refer customers if a question cannot be answered in the store. Over 80% of lawn and garden centers referred customer questions to Extension or Master Gardeners, while less than 20% of general merchandise stores made similar referrals.
"As retail store employees become more knowledgeable about Integrated Pest Management, this should improve their ability to make recommendations and ultimately reduce risk to consumers and the environment. This training will take retailers through the various aspects of Integrated Pest Management and discuss options for pest control. They'll learn how to better understand the label, make sure the display area is safe, and help customers choose the most effective pest-management controls."
Czapar added that most successful plant care programs use a combination of practices for dealing with pest problems. Pesticides are only one approach, and if they are used, they must be applied correctly and safely.
The website consists of five training components covering: Integrated Pest Management, understanding pesticides, understanding labels, human pesticide protection, and store safety.
Participants must register online and pay a fee to take the course. After successfully finishing all five modules, they will receive a certificate of completion.
This program was partially funded by a grant from U.S. EPA Region 5 in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. For more information, contact Czapar at (217) 782-6515.(Taken from a press release by Bob Sampson, 4/6/09, and adapted by Michelle Wiesbrook.)
Which Pesticides Require a License?
I was asked recently by a client if there is a list of pesticides that require a pesticide license. She also wanted to know if she could just rely on what was listed on Greenbook.net. Her understanding was that if it is on that site, then a license is required. Certainly, this is not how it works. There have been others who have been fooled into thinking this as well. To further complicate matters, she noted in her findings that Roundup was not listed on the Greenbook website. She said she was certain that a license was not required for applying this chemical. Again, she had been misguided.
There is some confusion surrounding the issue of when a pesticide applicator license is required. Whether you need a license or not depends on two things: what you are going to apply and where you are going to apply it. There is no specific list of pesticides that require a person to be licensed, except for fumigants; these all require certification. Actually, if you are applying pesticides to private land, the only time a license is required is for RUP's (Restricted Use Pesticides). There ARE lists of those and one can be found in the Illinois Agricultural Pest Management Handbook by University of Illinois Extension. But for commercial applications (meaning that the land is not owned personally by the individual making the application), a license is required for ALL pesticides, even general-use pesticides like Roundup. So in the case of Roundup, you can spray it license-free if you are treating only your own private property.
If a product makes pesticidal claims, it needs to be registered with the EPA and it will have a registration number on the label. Remember that pesticides include not only those that kill or suppress living organisms but also repellents, attractants, and products that affect growth, such as growth regulators/hormones. Some people have been fooled into thinking that a license is not required for a commercial application of, for example, rooting compounds, because nothing is being killed. However, they are still chemicals and technically (legally) they are pesticides. For safety reasons, it is in our best interest that the use of these chemicals be regulated.
I am not aware of an all-inclusive list of every pesticide out there. The US-EPA should have a database of all products that are registered with them. Keep in mind that applicators often find Greenbook.net quite helpful in many circumstances, but their database does not include all products – only the ones that pay to advertise with them.
Household Hazardous Material Collection Events Scheduled for 2009
It's spring, finally. It's time for the plants to grow and for the pests to grow, too. It's also time to clean up your chemical storage area and get rid of any old or unwanted pesticides. The household hazardous material collection schedule has been released to the public. More information can be found below. Here are a few options you have for disposing of your old or unwanted pesticides:
1. Use them up. You can usually apply them to a labeled-use site regardless of whether or not pests are present. Be sure to read and follow all label directions. Sometimes pesticides are taken off the market, or certain uses are removed from the label. In those cases, existing stocks can typically still be used. Rarely does US–EPA order a stop-use on the product. However, it is illegal to apply old stocks of chlordane or 2,4,5-T. To learn about the registration status of your product in question, you can contact the manufacturer or the Illinois Department of Agriculture, (217)785-2427.
2. Give them away. Fellow neighboring gardeners may be interested in your castoffs. It's not recommended that you sell unwanted pesticides. To sell a pesticide legally, it must still be in the original packaging with the complete label. If the pesticide is restricted use, you must be licensed in order to sell it. If the product registration has been cancelled, selling is illegal.
3. Take them to a hazardous waste collection event. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) has scheduled 6 household hazardous waste (HHW) collection events to be held across Illinois this spring. See below for the schedule.
For a list of household hazardous waste materials that are acceptable or unacceptable at these collections, please visit the Illinois EPA's Web site at http://www.epa.state.il.us/land/hazardous-waste/household-haz-waste/hhwc-acceptable.html.
If in doubt, it may be best to first contact the Waste Reduction Unit of the IEPA at (217)785-8604.
There are special hazardous material collection events for other non-household types of pesticides:
• Agricultural pesticides are collected at various scheduled "Agricultural Pesticide Clean Sweep" events. Contact the Illinois Department of Agriculture, (217)785-2427, for more information.
• Structural pesticides (those used by professional applicators to control pests in and around structures) are collected at "Structural Pesticide Clean Sweep" sites. Contact the Illinois Department of Public Health, (217)782-4674, for more information.
4/25/09, Shelbyville, Shelby County
Rte 16, Walmart Parking Lot, NE corner
Sponsored by: Shelby County Health Department & Shelby County U of I Extension
5/9/09, Elk Grove Village, Cook County
Elk Grove Pavilion, 1000 Wellington Avenue
Sponsored by: Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC) & Elk Grove Village Park District
5/16/09, Carmi, White County
1104 Martin Drive, Carmi
Sponsored by: Egyptian Health Department
5/30/09, Belleville, St. Clair County
Belleville Township High, 4063 Frank Scott Parkway West
Sponsored by: St. Clair County & City of Belleville
6/6/09, Bartlett, Cook County
Hanover Township, 250 South Rte 59
Sponsored by: Hanover Township
6/13/09, East Peoria, Tazewell County
East Peoria Festival Bldg, 2200 E. Washington Street
Tazewell County Health Department
One-day collections are open from 8 am to 3 pm on the above scheduled Saturdays. In addition, the following long-term facilities are available for disposal of HHW. Please phone ahead to determine availability and open hours.
City of Chicago
Household Chemicals and Computer Recycling Facility
1150 N. North Branch on Goose Island
For more info: City of Chicago
Phone: 311 or for general info: 312-744-7672
Rock River Reclamation District
1971 Brookdale Rd.
Fire Station #4
The Solid Waste Agency of Lake
County (SWALCO) currently operates a long-term household chemical waste collection program. Information and a collection schedule can be found on the SWALCO Web site or by calling 847/336-9340.
For questions concerning the IEPA's one-day or long-term collections, please call the Waste Reduction Unit at (217) 785-8604. (Michelle Wiesbrook)
Pyrethroid Insecticide Poisoning Study
There has been a recent study published on the incidence and severity of pyrethrin and pyrethroid insecticide illnesses. The study covers reported illnesses from 2001 through 2005 in the states of Oregon and Washington. Pyrethroid insecticides are perhaps the most commonly used insecticides inside and outside buildings by both professionals and homeowners. These results provide insight into pesticide illness throughout the nation.
Data were collected from the pesticide illness surveillance systems of the Washington Department of Health and the Oregon Public Health Division. Both systems are operated under the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) guidelines. Both systems utilize mandatory physician reports, reports from poison control centers and other state and local agencies, and reports from individuals.
Illness cases were assigned to four categories as follows:
1. Low severity illness or injury resulting in three or fewer missed days from work or normal activity. These cases commonly do not require treatment.
2. Moderate severity illness or injury that is not life-threatening, but that results in some time lost from work, usually less than five days.
3. High severity illness or injury that usually requires hospitalization and loss from work or normal activities for more than five days.
4. Death due to exposure to one or more pesticides.
There were 407 cases of pyrethrin and pyrethroid insecticide illness that were reported in the five year time period. Each state had almost the same number of cases. The largest number of cases occurred during the summer. Sixteen percent of these cases were deemed as being definitely caused by pyrethrin or pyrethroid insecticides, 11% were deemed as probable, and 73% were classified as possible. Approximately one-fourth of these cases were work-related. Slightly more females (55%) were reported than males. Almost all (92%) were in the low severity illness or injury category, with 8% in the moderate and high severity illness or injury categories. There was one death reported due to pyrethrin or pyrethroid exposure.
There are three categories of these insecticides. The percentage of illness and injury cases in this study are given in parentheses.
1. Pyrethrins (32%) are extracts of the flowers of chrysanthemum and are usually designated in the active ingredient statements on pesticide labels as pyrethrins. They have the lowest toxicity to mammals of the three categories. They are short-lived, typically lasting only a few days.
2. Type I pyrethroids (41%) have a cyclopropane carboxylic acid structure. Their chemical name in the active ingredient statement on pesticide labels usually ends with the word cyclopropane. In this study, type I pyrethroids reported in illness and injury cases included permethrin 16%), tetramethrin (9%), allethrin (6%), bifenthrin (4%), phenothrin (4%), imiprothrin (2%), prallethrin (<1%), and resmethrin (<1%).
3. Type II pyrethroids (26%) have an alpha-cyano group attached to the benzylic carbon, which enhances the insecticidal properties. They are also more toxic to mammals, and are involved in most clinical cases of human poisoning due to pyrethrin and pyrethroid insecticides. Their chemical name in the active ingredient statement on pesticide labels includes alpha-cyano, commonly being the first part of the name. In this study, Type II pyrethroids reported in illness and injury cases included cypermethrin (7%), cyfluthrin (5%), deltamethrin (4%), esfenvalerate (4%), lambda-cyhalothrin (3%), tralomethrin (2%), fenvalerate (<1), and fenpropathrin (<1%).
All three groups accounted for approximately the same percentage of low severity cases with pyrethrins at 33%, Type I pyrethroids at 39%, and Type II pyrethroids at 27%. Type I pyrethroids were more often involved with moderate severity cases at 63%; pyrethrins and Type II pyrethroids each were at 19%. There were only four high or fatal severity cases with two involving Type I pyrethroids (permethrin, bifenthrin), and one each involving pyrethrins and Type II pyrethroids (esfenvalerate).
The only death occurred in an elderly woman with a history of heart disease who entered her home three and one-half hours after an interior crack and crevice treatment of esfenvalerate and pyrethrins and an exterior application of permethrin. She experienced acute respiratory symptoms and cardiac arrhythmia. Resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful and she died at the scene.
Another severe case involved a 53-year-old man with a history of reactive airways disease and allergies to common therapeutic drugs. He sprayed his car with an aerosol home and garden insecticide containing phenothrin and allethrin. He left the car with the windows up until the following day, driving it without thoroughly ventilating it or cleaning interior surfaces.
He reported that breathing difficulties developed within an hour, progressing to coughing and respiratory congestion. After out-patient treatment, he was admitted to the hospital ten days after exposure. He was treated in the hospital with intravenous steroids, antibiotics, bronchodilators, and oxygen supplementation and discharged after three days in stable condition with a diagnosis of severe asthma exacerbation.
(Phil Nixon. Source: Walters, J.K., et al. 2009. Pyrethrin and Pyrethroid Illnesses in the Pacific Northwest: A Five-Year Review. Public Health Reports, Vol. 124: 149-159).
Major Tomato Producer Faces Record-high Penalty for Serious Pesticide Violations at New Jersey Operations
In late January 2009, New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection announced that a corporate tomato grower (Ag-Mart Produce Inc.) faces an unprecedented penalty of more than $931,000 for misusing pesticides and jeopardizing the health and safety of workers in its New Jersey farm fields and packing houses.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) reported that the grower had hundreds of violations that included denying state environmental inspectors access to facilities, losing track of a highly toxic insecticide, failing to properly ventilate areas during pesticide use, failing to post important pesticide-safety information for workers, careless recordkeeping and using forbidden mixtures of pesticides.
Ag-Mart Produce widely markets its tomatoes under the brand name "Santa Sweets," and employs 700 people throughout 17 farm locations in New Jersey. Ag-Mart also owns and operates other produce farms in North Carolina, Florida and Mexico.
According to the Department of Environmental Protection, "Ag-Mart has repeatedly shown a stunning disregard of laws and regulations intended to protect the workers who harvest their tomatoes, the people who consume them and New Jersey's environment." "Ag-Mart's pesticide violations are the most serious DEP inspectors have ever uncovered. We have imposed a record-high penalty not only to hold Ag-Mart accountable for their failure, but to make sure it doesn't happen again."
Both the $931,250 fine and the accompanying DEP orders to fully comply with all pesticide laws stem from a series of inspections at Ag-Mart farm properties during 2005, 2006 and 2007, and a review of corporate records plus interviews with Ag-Mart management and employees. In May 2006, for example, Ag-Mart Produce barred a DEP investigator from inspecting facilities and forced the state investigator to wait several hours before finally allowing access only to a portion of a packing house that was not at issue.
"Deliberately denying DEP inspectors the right to enter and inspect their agricultural operations is a notably bad offense because it impedes our ability to protect employees and the public from pesticide misuse," New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner said.
The DEP's Compliance and Enforcement inspectors' investigation of the corporate farm and its operations revealed a host of significant offenses including Ag-Mart Produce's failure to keep under lock and key a highly toxic insecticide known as Monitor. Ultimately, Ag-Mart could not account for the 2.5 gallon container of the insecticide. Other violations outlined in the DEP's enforcement action include: applying pesticides more frequently than allowed by law and failing to provide proper ventilation for chlorine vapors in the tomato packing house – an incident which affected three New Jersey DEP inspectors during a site visit.
Further, DEP inspectors found that on 17 occasions the company prematurely harvested pesticide-treated tomato crops, potentially exposing consumers to illegal pesticide residues in the marketplace. Inspectors also discovered the company failed to adequately and accurately document pesticide use in its fields. After poring over records from 2004 and 2005, DEP inspectors found documents were missing critical information such as the correct times pesticides were applied and employees could be allowed to safely re-enter treated areas as well as the name of the pesticide applicator and the size of the treated areas.
(Slightly modified by Jim Schuster from an EPA press release. )
A New Web Page Describes EPA's Plans for Use of Ag Health Study Results
In past issues (July 2004 and September 2007) of this newsletter, we have featured articles about the Agricultural Health Study (http://aghealth.nci.nih.gov/). Recently, the US-EPA developed a new Web page that describes information that the Agricultural Health Study (AHS) is providing to EPA about the possible health effects of pesticide exposure on farmers and their families. It also discusses how EPA is using this information to improve its understanding of the potential risks of pesticides and to strengthen regulatory programs.
The AHS began in 1993 as a collaboration among federal agencies. Designed as a large, long-term, prospective epidemiological study, the AHS collects and analyzes data on the health and work practices of licensed pesticide applicators in Iowa and North Carolina.
The study focuses particularly on the farmers' exposure to 50 chemicals, including many of the most widely used pesticides. The study also collects information on other possible agricultural exposures and many lifestyle factors.
EPA intends to use the information from the AHS in its regulatory processes. As EPA scientists survey the overall AHS findings, they will consider the results of the studies in the course of regularly scheduled registration reviews (at http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/registration_review/) and take appropriate regulatory action using the Agency's established public participation process. EPA's Web page is available at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/ag-health.html.
Adopted slightly by Michelle Wiesbrook from a press release sent by Julia Storm, Agromedicine Information Specialist, NC State University on 4/13/09.