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June 12, 2012

State FIFRA Issues Research & Evaluation Group Meeting

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

On May 30-31, 2012, the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials (AAPCO)/State Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Issues Research and Evaluation Group (SFIREG) Pesticide Operations Management (POM) Working Committee (WC) held its semi-annual full committee meeting in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 offices in Chicago, Illinois. Through a cooperative agreement in 1978, EPA and AAPCO created SFIREG, an AAPCO committee with EPA funding, to promote information exchange and cooperation between the states and EPA in the development of pesticide policies and regulations. More information about SFIREG and its committees is available online. A copy of the meeting agenda is available online.

Issues of potential interest discussed during the meeting included the following, each of which is discussed below:

  • Phase 2 Soil Fumigant Labels and Related Requirements
  • Revised Rodenticide Risk Mitigation Decision for Professional Use Rodenticides
  • Pyrethroid Label Changes
  • Non Cropland Use Site Issue Paper and Comments
  • Distributor Labels Enforcement Initiative Coordination
  • Other Topics

Phase 2 Soil Fumigant Labels and Related Requirements

John Leahy, EPA Pesticide Re-evaluation Division (PRD), Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), provided the POM WC with an update on fumigant product reregistration issues, including Phase 2 label revisions. According to Leahy, EPA will complete review of the Phase 2 label revisions by December 1, 2012, so that the labels can be reviewed by the states and ready for the 2013 growing season.

Representatives of industry task forces provided a demonstration of certified applicator online training program materials and associated testing features. The training materials are organized in two parts: general fumigant training and active ingredient (AI)-specific training and testing. One question raised and discussed by State Lead Agency (SLA) representatives is how states can verify that certified applicators have been trained.

J. Patrick Jones, North Carolina (NC) Department of Agriculture, commented that in NC, there has been difficulty in identifying adequate respirator fit training and medical evaluation providers in rural areas. Jones also commented that many growers are considering no longer conducting soil fumigation because the requirements have become too difficult to meet.

Revised Rodenticide Risk Mitigation Decision for Professional Use Rodenticides

Laura Quackenbush, Colorado Department of Agriculture, discussed a February 20, 2012, EPA PRD memorandum (subsequently revised on March 14, 2012, to include language for agricultural products), forwarded with a March 12, 2012, letter to the Georgia Department of Agriculture, regarding the requirement in the 2008 Risk Mitigation Decision (RMD) for Ten Rodenticides that all outdoor commensal rodenticide products must be placed within 50 feet of the buildings. Issues raised by this requirement include the following:

  • Many structures other than buildings are vulnerable to rodents.
  • Some places vulnerable to rats such as dumpsters and other garbage receptacles are placed further than 50 feet from buildings.
  • In urban areas, rat infestations often can be more than 50 feet from buildings, such as in parks and green spaces.

The letter and memoranda discuss the revisions to the 2008 RMD, which includes extending the area in which the product may be applied to within 100 feet of man-made structures. These documents are available upon request from B&C.

Pyrethroid Label Changes

John Peckam, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, led a discussion regarding the following reregistration label language that restricts the outdoor residential uses of pyrethroid products:

All outdoor applications must be limited to spot or crack-and-crevice treatments only, except for the following permitted uses:
(1) Treatment to soil or vegetation around structures;
(2) Applications to lawns, turf, and other vegetation;
(3) Applications to building foundations, up to a maximum height of 3 feet.

SLAs raised the issue that there are desired residential exterior surface applications that do not appear to be strictly crack-and-crevice treatments, such as treatment in eves or soffets. During discussion, concern was expressed that the Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) document label table language severely limits residential treatment options, particularly in light of the wide-spread infestation of the brown marmorated stink bug. Discussion participants expressed a desire to consider what could be done to adjust the EPA risk decisions to allow more exterior building surface treatment. The POM WC agreed to create a subcommittee to solicit comments and compile suggestions.

Non Cropland Use Site Issue Paper and Comments

Rose Kachadoorian, Oregon Department of Agriculture, provided background on the issue paper published by EPA in October 2011, on which comments were due by December 31, 2011. In the issue paper, EPA posed three specific questions for public comment:

  • Should EPA allow the use of “non-crop” terms on pesticide labels or should the Agency require more specific use sites?
  • What should EPA and/or other stakeholders do to prevent misinterpretation of “non-crop” terminology?
  • What should be the focus of Agency risk assessments and what data requirements should be applied to products that use the term “non-crop” on the label without any further limiting language?

Comments on the issue paper, including extensive comments by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, are posted online. Comments touched on various issues, including vagueness of terms and consequent difficulties for enforcement. Kachadoorian raised for discussion what the next step(s) should be. The POM WC discussed how common use sites might be better defined but identified no clear follow-up action.

Distributor Labels Enforcement Initiative Coordination

David Stangel and Don Lott, EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA), and Cary Giguere, POM WC Chair, led a discussion of how the states and EPA can coordinate on an enforcement initiative that targets misbranded distributor products. The discussion alluded to a circulated draft document, but because of its status as “Enforcement Confidential,” the discussion was limited. Lott stated that EPA has an implementation strategy for this initiative. Based on statements in prior public meetings, this initiative likely involves focus on all distributor products for a registrant for whom there have been identified issues with individual distributor product labels that suggest a lack of oversight by the registrant. Lott clarified that EPA is not requesting states to collect additional information, but as states separately register distributor products, states may have non-compliance-related information from these registration activities as well as from inspections. Lott stated a mechanism for states to provide this information to EPA is under development. In response, SLA representatives commented that they would like to see an improved communication mechanism that will allow EPA to inform states what actions have taken place in response to submitted information.

Other Topics

  • OPP Update: Jim Roelofs, EPA OPP Field and External Affairs Division (FEAD), reported on various OPP activities, including ongoing efforts to update the Label Review Manual, which are expected to be complete by the end of FY 2012, as well as the online Pesticide Labeling Consistency Questions and Answers guidance. Prompted by survey results from a recent Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE) label workshop, Roelofs also led a general discussion about how to address perceived problematic label issues, including preparation of issue papers for review and comment to organize change and/or a process in which SFIREG POM or others might be engaged to comment on draft labels.
  • OECA Update: Stangel reported on various OECA activities. Stangel stated that an updated FIFRA Inspector’s Manual should be available by July 2012, and that improvements to inspector training are ongoing.
  • Insect Repellency Mark: Rose Kyprianou, FEAD, discussed a voluntary program for registrants of skin-applied insect repellent products to adopt an EPA-developed graphic to provide standardized information about how long the product repels ticks and/or mosquitoes. The program is under development, including an efficacy guidance document that Kyprianou stated would be shared with SFIREG POM; EPA intends to launch the program in early 2013. During discussion, concern was expressed by participants by the potential adoption of the mark by FIFRA Section 25(b) products and how supporting efficacy for these products could be confirmed.
  • Regulatory Issues with Supplemental Labels: Kachadoorian raised the issue that supplemental product labels sometimes remain on the market even after the master label has been amended to, e.g., remove a crop, and that an expiration date is not a requirement for the supplemental labels. The POM WC agreed to develop a paper that outlines the issues and makes suggestions that could be forwarded to EPA.
  • PPE Garment White Paper 2012: Carol Ramsey, Washington State University, discussed ongoing efforts by various groups, including the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, to review pesticide label personal protective equipment (PPE) statements for adequacy. Ramsey expressed concern about the vagueness, imprecise terms, specified PPE availability, inconsistencies between labels, and lack of supporting data related to PPE specified on pesticide product labels. Ramsey stated she wished to raise the issue so the POM WC could consider whether and how it may wish to participate in this discussion. After discussion, the POM WC agreed to consider the issue, noting that various AAPCO working committees have participants with industrial hygiene backgrounds.
  • Methomyl Poison Bait Misuse Issue Paper: The POM WC reviewed the methomyl issue paper, circulated at the December 1, 2011, SFIREG meeting by EPA Region 5 states and forwarded to the POM WC, regarding the widespread off-label use of methomyl-containing products for non-target species. A copy of the paper is available online. The POM WC voted to send the issue paper, with its recommendation that EPA classify all methomyl-containing products as restricted use, back to the full SFIREG for a vote to forward to EPA.
  • Hot Compost: In response to the discovery of pesticide residues in compost, some product label instructions try to address parties downstream of the applicator to effectuate product stewardship, but these provisions raise enforcement issues. POM is in the early stages of developing an issue paper to address such label provisions.
  • Pollinator Protection Label Language: POM has received two issue papers addressing potential changes to/expansion of current recommended pollinator protection label statements, one from the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee (PPDC) Pollinator Protection Workgroup and the other developed by Erik Johansen, Washington Department of Agriculture. After discussion about how it should engage on this issue, POM agreed it should query SLAs and provide comment to the PPDC.
  • Program Assessment, Grant Guidance and Template, Cooperative Agreements: The second day of the meeting was dominated by discussions of the respective roles and responsibilities of EPA Headquarters, Regional Offices, and SLAs, and how all parties can best coordinate. Ongoing efforts include the development of guidance for improving and expediting grants and cooperative agreements and streamline associated reporting processes.