26 April 2007 22:31 [Source: ICIS news]
SAN FRANCISCO (ICIS News)--California's agency regulating pesticide use said on Thursday it is mulling new restrictions on metam-sodium and metam-potassium as soon as the third quarter this year, which could have an impact on business in the state by limiting where the chemicals can be used.
Spokesman Glenn Brank of the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) said the fumigants are used to destroy weeds and other pests in vegetable fields before planting takes place, and that they break down into a volatile gas, methyl isothiocyanate, which has been found to cause eye and respiratory irritation after brief, low-level exposure.
The department will field public comment on the matter in May and June.
More than 13m pounds of metam-sodium and 1.9m pounds of metam-potassium were used in California in 2005, and several major drift incidents involving the chemicals have occurred in recent years, he said.
The proposed new controls, he said, include extending buffer zones between crop fields and residential communities by a half-mile; a requirement to notify "sensitive" sites such as schools, homes, hospitals and farm-worker housing concentrations in advance of spraying; and English- and Spanish-language signs warning workers in adjacent fields.The DPR plans to hold two workshop and hearing sessions on May 30 in the rural community of Tulare, and is accepting written comments on the proposed rules through June 30, Brank said.
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