Chlorpyrifos Food Tolerance Cancellation Rapidly Approaching

On February 28, 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) food tolerances for chlorpyrifos are set to expire. This means growers will not be allowed to apply chlorpyrifos to any food crop after this date. Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate used to manage insects in a number of fruit and vegetable crops. It has been on the market since the 1960s under trade names such as Lorsban, Dursban, Eraser, Govern, Hatchet, Whirlwind, and numerous others.

Chlorpyrifos products have been helpful in managing tough-to-kill insects in fruit and vegetable crops since the 1960s. Due to health concerns, its food crop uses are coming to an end.

Corteva ceased production of chlorpyrifos products in 2020, though it is still available from numerous other manufacturers. Since the EPA is revoking the food tolerances but not actually canceling chlorpyrifos, it will still be available for a limited number of uses, such as Christmas tree and sod production.

A summary of the EPA’s ruling can be found here.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the ruling can be found here.

Updated Paraquat Safety Measures

In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a number of new safety measures to reduce the risks of paraquat exposures to applicators. This includes:

  • Changing labels and other supplemental warning materials to emphasize paraquat toxicity.
  • Requiring training (every three years) for paraquat users.
  • Restricting the use of all paraquat products to certified applicators only.
  • Requiring closed system packaging for all non-bulk (less than 120 gallons) end use product containers of paraquat.

Earlier this year, additional changes to the paraquat label were released, including:

  • Requiring limitations on aerial applications, including a residential buffer.
  • Prohibiting pressurized handgun and backpack sprayer applications.
  • Requiring enclosed cabs or respirators for groundboom applications.
  • Increasing the Restricted Entry Interval (REI) for several crops.

The following document from the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials (AAPCO) provides an excellent summary of the new rules (including the bullets above) and answers frequently asked questions about the rules.

Just as a reminder, applicators must complete an online training every three years if they plan to apply paraquat. In addition, every applicator applying paraquat must have a pesticide applicator’s license.  Applicators may no longer apply paraquat under the supervision of another certified applicator.  Use this guide for step-by-step instructions on how to complete the training.

EPA Revokes Chlorpyrifos Tolerances

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a ruling in August to revoke all tolerances for chlorpyrifos, the active ingredient in Lorsban, following a lengthy review and legal battle.

The summary of the ruling states, “On April 29, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered EPA to issue a final rule concerning the chlorpyrifos tolerances by August 20, 2021. Based on the currently available data and taking into consideration the currently registered uses for chlorpyrifos, EPA is unable to conclude that the risk from aggregate exposure from the use of chlorpyrifos meets the safety standard of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). Accordingly, EPA is revoking all tolerances for chlorpyrifos.”

Chloripyrifos has been used to manage insect pests in fruit and vegetable crops since the 1960s. This ruling is bringing its use to an end. According to the ruling, “This final rule is effective October 29, 2021. The tolerances for all commodities expire on February 28, 2022.”

We are still learning how this will affect the fruit and vegetable industry, but as of right now it appears growers will be able to use existing stock through the 2021 season.

SC DPR Releases Statement on Recent Dicamba Cancellations

This week, the SC Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released a statement regarding the EPA’s cancellation of three dicamba products following a Federal Court of Appeals decision to vacate their registrations. The three products (Xtendimax, Engenia, and FeXapan), labeled for use with tolerant soybean and cotton varieties, have been a hot button issue since their initial registration in 2016. Concerns of off-target damage due to drift and volatilization have been at the center of this contention.

According to DPR, “Pesticide dealers in South Carolina who have existing stock of these products should stop all sales immediately and contact their dealer representative to facilitate a return to the registrant or other legal disposal. The EPA final cancellation order allows for Commercial and Private applicators who have possession of existing stock of these products to lawfully use them until Friday, July 31, 2020. After this date no legal uses of these products will be permitted and existing stock must be disposed of in a legal manner.”

Read the full DPR news release here.

Read the full EPA cancellation order here.

The Court of Appeals ruling and subsequent cancellations do not affect other formulations of dicamba.