US EPA restricts pesticides azinphos-methyl, phosmet

01 November 2001 19:44  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (CNI)--The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Thursday it is placing new restrictions on the use of two older pesticides - azinphos-methyl and phosmet - to increase protection of agricultural workers.

For azinphos-methyl, 28 crop uses are being cancelled, seven crop uses are being phased-out over four years, and eight crop uses will be allowed to continue "Time-limited" registration for another four years. For phosmet, three uses are being voluntarily cancelled, nine crops are being authorised for use under specific terms for five years and 33 crops are being approved for continued use.

The EPA said the decision also provides time for farmers to make the transition to safer alternatives for the uses that are critical for crop production.

Prior to the expiration of the four-year period on azinphos-methyl, EPA said it will conduct a scientific review of these eight crop uses to determine if it should continue to allow registration.

Azinphos-methyl is registered by Bayer AG and Makhteshim-Agan Industries.

The crop uses being phased out in four years include those for almonds, tart cherries, cotton, cranberries, peaches, pistachios, and walnuts. The crops with time-limited registration include apples/crab apples, blueberries, sweet cherries, pears, pine seed orchards, brussels sprouts, cane berries, and the use of azinphos-methyl by nurseries for quarantine requirements.

EPA said the new measures on phosmet are being implemented under an agreement with the registrant, Gowan Company.

The three voluntary cancellations include use on domestic pets, household ornamentals, and household fruit trees. However, EPA said phosmet is used infrequently for these applications.

A group of nine crops will be authorised for phosmet use for five years under specific terms: apples, apricots, blueberries, crab apples, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears and plums.

To strengthen worker protection during the phase-out and time-limited registration periods, EPA said a variety of stringent new precautions are being implemented to reduce exposure, including longer periods before a worker can enter a treated area, significantly limiting the number of applications, and prohibiting aerial application for almost all uses.

During this period, the agency said it also will require that studies on the potential health effects on workers be conducted to help ensure that they are not exposed to unacceptable levels of these pesticides.

"If new information shows unreasonable risks, the agency could take immediate action to remove any of these uses," EPA said.

Azinphos-methyl and phosmet were first registered for use in the US more than 35 years ago.

By: Glenn Hess
+1 713 525 2653

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