Illinois Pesticide Review
May / June 2012
In This Issue
- CHEMTREC – A Valuable Resource When Dealing with Chemical Spills
- Making Pesticide Applications in School/Community Gardens
- EPA Denies Petition on 2,4-D Pesticide
- New Pest Management Guide from U of I Extension
- Interpreting Application Area on Pesticide Labels
- Diagnostic Tools for Pest Identification
- Safe Use of Pesticides Around Pets
CHEMTREC – A Valuable Resource When Dealing with Chemical Spills
The Chemical Transportation Emergency Center (CHEMTREC) is a response organization established by the US chemical manufacturers association to provide chemical hazard related information on a 24-hour basis to firefighters, law enforcement, and other emergency responders. According to their website (http://www.chemtrec.com), CHEMTREC's Operations Center receives about 350 calls a day in reference to about 125 incidents, on average.
CHEMTREC celebrated its 40th anniversary last year and now offers its services globally, taking calls worldwide, and providing translation in over 180 languages. In addition to providing assistance with handling of chemical emergencies such as fires, spills, leaks, or exposures, they also provide a cost-effective resource for shippers and manufacturers to meet certain hazardous materials regulations imposed by governments in various jurisdictions around the world.
CHEMTREC has a fully staffed operations center that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800-424-9300. Their Emergency Service Specialists are fully trained and ready to provide guidance and information in the event of a major hazardous materials spill. They are linked to an extensive network of chemical, medical, toxicological, and hazardous materials experts. They can put first responders who are at the scene in direct communication with these experts. CHEMTREC states that they go to great lengths to ensure that the information they share is both timely and accurate. They maintain an expansive collection of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). Shared information originates from this collection as well as information databases, emergency contacts, and medical and chemical specialists. In the event of a medical exposure, staff can contact physicians and toxicologists who can provide critical information to emergency medical technicians and physicians treating patients exposed to hazardous materials.
In an article by James daSilva, CHEMTREC's managing director G. R. "Randy" Speight says, "There are no typical incidents — each presents its own unique challenge. The gravity of the situations in which CHEMTREC is called to assist ranges greatly — from liquid dripping from a tank truck to a multi-car train derailment. With the product information and guidance that CHEMTREC provides, responders on scene can determine the appropriate steps to take. In parallel, CHEMTREC notifies the manufacturer or shipper that the incident has occurred and the details so that follow-up action can be taken. CHEMTREC personnel are trained to deal with each incident in a calm and thorough manner, because every caller considers his incident to be an 'emergency'."1
CHEMTREC services are free of charge to local responders and the general public. Registration is required of shippers who wish to use the emergency telephone number on shipping documents. Registration is encouraged of those who think they may one day have an incident requiring CHEMTREC's services so that the best and quickest assistance can be provided. There is, however, a fee associated with registration. The customer service representative I spoke with gave me a ballpark figure of $675/yr for a farmer to register his business. She went on to say that CHEMTREC works similar to a hospital. If medical assistance is needed and you don't have insurance, they can't turn you away. However, your treatment can be more efficient if they have all of your information ahead of time. Registering with CHEMTREC would be advantageous for pesticide users, but I'm not sure there are many small businesses and producers who are willing to gamble that much money on a potentially hazardous-spill free year. Again, their emergency services are free of charge and always available to anyone needing assistance.
In the event of a hazardous materials spill, please be aware that calling CHEMTREC does not exempt you from having to notify the appropriate federal, state or local authorities. CHEMTREC will not notify them for you. For major spills, remember that IEMA (Illinois Emergency Management Agency) must be contacted (800-782-7860). For more information on how CHEMTREC assists emergency responders, please visit their website at: http://www.chemtrec.com/responder/services/Pages/HowCHEMTRECAssistsEmergencyResponders.aspx. Their customer service line (non-emergency) is 1-800-262-8200 (within the USA) or +1 703-741-5500 (from anywhere in the world). Take a minute to add their emergency number (800-424-9300) to your cell phone so you have it in case you need it.
You can watch a short video on YouTube that explains quite well what CHEMTEC does at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SlAaAMWKXU.
Making Pesticide Applications in School/Community Gardens
Nothing tastes better than produce you have grown. Before you can harvest and share your bounty, you may have to manage pests that can reduce your yields. Insects, diseases, and weeds can be controlled by various methods.
Pesticides are an important tool in pest management; in order to use pesticides legally and safely, there are a few things you must know. You may need to obtain a license to apply pesticides from the Illinois Department of Agriculture per the Illinois Pesticide Act. This fact sheet will help guide you to determine if you need one.
Is a license needed?
Whether you need a license or not depends on two things: what type of pesticide you are applying and where you are applying it.
If you are applying pesticides on land that you do NOT own such as a school or park, you must have a license. If you own the land or if you rent/lease the land such as a community garden plot, you need a license only if the pesticide you apply is a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP). Restricted Use Pesticides will be clearly marked at the top of the product label on the container; you must be licensed to buy RUP products.
General Use Pesticides (GUP's) such as most of the products sold in garden centers or home improvement stores do not require a license unless they are applied to someone else's property.
What about organic pest killers?
These products are still classified as pesticides by the US-EPA. If a product makes pesticidal claims, it needs to be registered with the EPA and will have a registration number on the label.
Certain minimum risk pesticides do not require Federal registration. EPA's "25b list", which includes garlic and garlic oil, can be found at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/biopesticides/regtools/25b_list.htm.
Illinois has the right to require registration of these products regardless of whether the US-EPA has required registration. If it does, you may still need a license to apply depending on where it is applied. You can search for active ingredient registration at http://www.agr.state.il.us/Environment/Pesticide/productsearch.php or call the Illinois Department of Agriculture (numbers given below).
What about home remedies?
While home remedies may sometimes work, many have not been tested for effectiveness or safety. They commonly cost more than labeled, registered pesticides that have been tested for human health and environmental safety. To avoid potential problems, stick to approved pesticide products.
What about fertilizers?
Fertilizers are not pesticides and do not require any type of license to be applied. Keep in mind that weed and feed products contain herbicides, which are pesticides.
What type of license is needed?
Below are some situations:
• If you own the land, a private license is needed only if you apply a restricted-use product.
• If you do not own the land and pesticides are applied for hire (the exchange of money), a commercial license is needed.
• Where no money is exchanged for application, a commercial "not-for-hire" license is needed; this probably is the case for most community gardens.
Licenses are tied to a specific type of application, or category. For example, someone could have a commercial not-for-hire license to apply pesticides to vegetable crops. These types or categories are explained later in this factsheet.
Why is licensing needed?
It is necessary to demonstrate to the public that you know how to apply pesticides safely and effectively. Plus, it's the law.
Do I need to get a license or can someone else do it?
Many municipalities, schools, and park districts already have personnel licensed for landscape or indoor pest control and they might be willing to add the appropriate category to their license. If there is any question about who can legally spray a garden or the areas around it, contact the Illinois Department of Agriculture for clarification.
How do I get licensed?
You will need to take the General Standards exam (100 multiple-choice questions) and score at least a 70%. This will qualify you to become licensed as a pesticide "operator". Once you qualify, you must submit a completed license application form along with the appropriate licensing fee.
However, at least one person from your school or community garden will need to go one step further and become licensed as a pesticide "applicator". Operators work under the direct supervision of the applicator. An operator can become an applicator by scoring at least a 70% on an appropriate category exam (50 multiple-choice questions) and applying for licensure.
There are various categories including Turfgrass, Ornamentals, Fruit, Vegetables, and Rights-of-Way; each is a separate exam. Because your entire range of pesticide use must be covered by the categories on the applicator's license, this could mean taking several exams.
Also, consider having several gardeners licensed as applicators. If one applicator is out of town or not available, the operator/s may not legally apply pesticides. You must be in daily contact with each other. In essence, the applicator must be able to arrive at the scene in a timely fashion should an accident occur.
What's this going to cost?
There is no charge to take any exam; however, study materials and training clinics, which can aid in passing the exams, are offered by University of Illinois Extension for a fee. There are fees for the actual license. For more information, please visit www.pesticidesafety.illinois.edu or call 800-644-2123 (commercial) or 877-626-1650 (private).
There is no online testing. You can take tests in Springfield at the Illinois Department of Agriculture's building (800-641-3934) or their Dekalb office (815-787-5476). You must call ahead to arrange for an appointment to take any tests. Testing is also offered at training clinics. Testing is required every three years. There is a license fee of approximately $15-30, depending on license type, for the actual license. Private licenses cover a three-year period while all others are annual licenses.
The costs of applying without a license are much greater: expensive fines, potential risks to your health and the environment, tarnished reputation for you and your organization, and mistrust from the ones you are feeding. Get licensed and demonstrate that you know how to handle and apply pesticides safely.
Commercial License Categories
This can appear complicated because it depends on what areas or crops you are applying the pesticide. Depending on how the garden is configured, the Applicator may need more than one category.
These areas fall under the Fruit and Vegetable categories. The Applicator would need to pass the General Standards test and either the Fruit or Vegetable Category test, whichever applies.
Grassy Area around the Garden
These areas fall under the Turfgrass category. The Applicator would need to pass the General Standards test and the Turfgrass Category test. Flagging (posting) that a pesticide application has occurred is required by Illinois law.
Flower Garden, Native Prairie Garden or Ornamentals
These areas fall under the Ornamentals category. The Applicator would need to pass the General Standards test and the Ornamentals Category test.
Sidewalks, Playgrounds, Parking Lots, Walking Paths
These areas fall under the Rights-of-way category. The Applicator would need to pass the General Standards test and the Rights-of-way Category test.
Safety in the Garden
Pesticides used within an Integrated Pest Management Program can be an important tool for pest control. Caution should be used anytime pesticides are applied to produce being consumed by others, particularly produce donated for programs such as "Plant-a-Row". It is always wise to check with your insurance company to determine the right coverage for the activities occurring in the garden. Currently, flagging (posting) an area treated with a pesticide is only required for lawns, but is a good idea for any public garden.
Community Garden Policies
Those working in Community Gardens are encouraged to review their lease agreements to address pesticide applications. Lessors managing their garden plots can apply GUP pesticides to their plots. However, issues of pesticide drift onto neighboring plots or runoff from one plot to another can occur if applications are not made correctly. Some Community Gardens have a licensed Applicator make all pesticide applications within the entire garden.
For further information
Contact the Illinois Dept. of Agriculture for questions concerning testing and licensing or check out their website at www.agr.state.il.us/Environment/Pesticide/training/commappl.html.
Study materials are recommended and can be ordered by calling the University of Illinois Pesticide Safety Education Program office at 800-644-2123 or 217-244-2123. To learn more about study options, license categories and requirements, go to www.pesticidesafety.illinois.edu and click on "training schedule."
Submitted by the PSEP team with Ellen Phillips.
EPA Denies Petition on 2,4-D Pesticide
In a petition filed on November 6, 2008, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) requested US-EPA cancel all product registrations and revoke all tolerances (legal residue limits in food) for the pesticide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, or 2,4-D, sold in more than 600 products including Weed-B-Gon, WeedDone and others for broadleaf weed control.
2,4-D has been a staple for homeowners and lawn care companies controlling dandelions and other broadleaf weeds in turf. Misuse can lead to drift and damage to tomatoes, grapes, redbuds and other susceptible plants.
After considering public comment received on the petition and all the available studies, EPA is denying the request to revoke all tolerances and the request to cancel all registrations.
By way of background, in 2005, as part of the regulatory process to ensure pesticides meet current regulatory standards, EPA completed a review on the current registration and on the safety of the tolerances for 2,4-D.
US-EPA determined that all products containing 2,4-D are eligible for re-registration, provided certain changes were incorporated into the labels and additional data were generated and submitted to the EPA for review.
EPA evaluated all the data cited by NRDC and new studies submitted to EPA in response to the reregistration decision. Included in the new studies is a state-of-the-science extended one-generation reproduction study that provides an in-depth examination of 2,4-D's potential for endocrine disruptor, neurotoxic, and immunotoxic effects on the human body. This study and EPA's comprehensive review confirmed EPA's previous finding that the 2,4-D tolerances are safe.
EPA also carefully reviewed NRDC's request to cancel all 2,4-D product registrations. Based on studies addressing endocrine effects on wildlife species and the adequacy of personal protective equipment for applicator, the agency concluded that the science behind our current ecological and worker risk assessments for 2,4-D is sound and there is no basis to change the registrations.
All pesticides are frequently and continually re-evaluated by US-EPA for safety and effectiveness. Pesticides can be removed quickly by the EPA if health or environmental issues become problematic.
New Pest Management Guide from U of I Extension
Pest Management for the Home Landscape Cover
University of Illinois Extension has published the new Pest Management for the Home Landscape guide (C1391-12), a quick and easy reference for insects, weeds and diseases.
The 184-page manual is geared toward the homeowner who wants to control pests outdoors and indoors. Chapters relate to managing insect pests, controlling weed in the landscape and garden, managing diseases in the landscape and garden, and dealing with pest control in fruit plantings.
Nonchemical controls are coupled with chemical recommendations. A chapter on Integrated Pest Management provides guidelines using cultural, mechanical and biological practices before reaching for the chemicals.
The guide retails for $24.95 and can be ordered online at pubsplus.illinois.edu or by calling 800-345-6087. Many local Extension offices should also have copies of the new publication for sale.
Interpreting Application Area on Pesticide Labels
There have been numerous questions and concerns about the interpretation of insecticide label information associated with emerald ash borer. Insecticides labeled for emerald ash borer, as well as other pesticides applied to trees and shrubs, have active ingredient per acre restrictions.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) published the fact sheet "Emerald Ash Borer Insecticides: Label Guidance for Use Limits" in February 2012 which can be found at http://www.mda.state.mn.us/plants/pestmanagement/~/media/Files/chemicals/pesticides/eablabelguide.ashx. Following are some of the highlights of that publication, along with my own suggestions.
One concern is what is included in acreage when determining whether the per-acre rate of imidacloprid or other pesticides has been reached. The intent of the law in the case of pesticide application refers to acreage over which the applicator or client has control. It should not include a neighbor's property because that would remove the neighbor's right to apply the same pesticide to his property. The acreage includes paved areas, buildings, and bodies of water within the boundaries of the treated area. Do not include large areas of property beyond where the trees are growing.
Right-of-Way areas include street areas if applied by or for the municipality. In these cases, the shape of the acreage is long and narrow and includes the street, sidewalks, and adjacent right-of-way areas owned by the municipality. It includes both the street areas and homeowner property if the homeowner is applying the pesticide or having the pesticide applied through an agreement with the municipality.
However, in this case only the street area abutting the homeowner's property to the middle of the street should be included. Any more area would infringe on the rights of the municipality or homeowners adjacent to or across the street from the homeowner treating the trees.
If the area is less than one acre, then the maximum amount applied should be same percentage of the acre rate as the acre percentage. The above information and the MDA fact sheet are not to be interpreted as being legal in Illinois, but they provide reasonable guidelines. The state lead agency on pesticides, Illinois Department of Agriculture, is the regulatory agency on these issues in Illinois.
Diagnostic Tools for Pest Identification
The University of Illinois has a great diagnostic tool available to businesses and homeowners with insects, weeds, disease, or plant identification problems. It's called DDDI – short for Distance Diagnostic through Digital Imaging.
In short, every county Extension office in the state has an electronic system for taking pictures or uploading digital images, entering contact and information about the problem, and sending the pest or plant ID out over the internet for an educator or specialist to identify and provide control recommendations. Most DDDI samples are identified within 24 hours.
For those with pest problems, or a puzzling plant ID, this might be a quick method to get an answer. You can bring your own images, but remember that the internet does not make an out-of-focus picture any better. Quality pictures and pertinent information really makes diagnosing the problem faster and easier.
Safe Use of Pesticides Around Pets
According to an American Pet Products Association survey, there are more than 70 million pet owners in the United States. The pets within these homes count on humans for their care and well-being. Unfortunately, our daily activities and household maintenances may sometimes put our pets at risk.
Some of the more dangerous chores involve pesticides, which by their nature are designed to be toxic. Hazards arise when these toxic pesticides are used improperly or in a poorly planned manner that allows exposure to pets. After all, the hazard of a pesticide is a combination of the extent of exposure and the product's toxicity.
That said, those who apply pesticides to residential sites have likely been asked, at one time or another, whether or not the products are safe for pets. Pesticides that are labeled for residential use have the potential to be dangerous, but when properly applied according to label directions should be safe.
Some additional precautions, beyond those printed on the label, will further reduce a pet's exposure to the pesticide. Regardless of the circumstances, the label should be read before each application. Reviewing the label will ensure that the applicator has not missed any precautionary statements that may apply to the specific treatment site.
All labels should include a statement identifying hazards to human and domestic animals. They should also include a statement on the amount of time people and pets should be restricted from the application site, such as, for example, "Keep people and pets off treated areas until spray solution has dried."
This restriction can be found within the precautionary statements section of the label, specifically under the Non-Agricultural Use Requirements. Restricting pets from the application site is the most effective way to reduce their exposure to the pesticide.
Additional steps pesticide applicators could take to reduce the hazard of pesticide around pets include:
• Recommend mechanical and cultural control alternatives.
• For chemical controls, choose the pesticide that is the least toxic.
• Prior to application, remove any toys, water bowls and food bowls from the treatment area.
• Advise owners to discourage pets from licking, chewing, and consuming treated materials. Toxic residues may remain on treated surfaces even after sprays have dried.
Concerned pet owners should be prepared in the event of a pet's poisoning. They need to be aware of the possible warning signs that may result from a pet's exposure to pesticides. These signs include:
• abnormal behavior
• difficulty breathing
• tremors and convulsions
If an owner witnesses any of these symptoms or suspects pesticide poisoning, they should contact their veterinarian immediately. The veterinarian will require the following information:
• The species, breed, age, sex, weight and number of animals involved.
• The animal's symptoms.
• Information regarding the pesticide and exposure.
Homeowners may find it easiest to simply take the pesticide container and attached label containing the EPA registration number to the veterinarian. However, a container will likely not be available if a lawn is professionally treated with a pesticide. Fortunately, much of this important information is still made available to homeowners. In Illinois, The Lawn Care Products Application and Notice Act requires that turfgrass applicators for hire share the following information with their customers at the time of application:
• brand name
• type of fertilizer & pesticide
• reason for use
• concentration of product
• any special instructions
• business information (business name, applicator's name, applicator's telephone)
For more information about this Act, please see: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1597&ChapAct=415%A0ILCS%A065/&ChapterID=36&ChapterName=ENVIRONMENTAL+SAFETY&ActName=Lawn+Care+Products+Application+and+Notice+Act%2E.
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center provides phone-based consultation. There is a fee for this service. They will request similar information as listed above and can be contacted at the following telephone number: (888) 426-4435. For emergency situations, those with pets displaying serious symptoms, they suggest telephoning ahead and immediately taking your pet to a veterinarian or emergency veterinarian clinic.
A proactive approach to pet safety around pesticides will likely keep your clients happy and their pets healthy!