Daily News Archive

EPA To Restrict Popular Pesticide, Major Uses Will Continue
(Beyond Pesticides, July 9, 2003)
On June 30, 2003, EPA completed its assessment of the pesticide carbaryl, also known by its trade name Sevin, one of the most widely-used insecticides in the U.S., controversial because of its neurotoxic, cancer and teratogentic properties. According to the EPA, carbaryl poses risks of concern from uses in and around the home, to occupational handlers who mix, load, and apply the pesticide in agricultural sites, and to workers who may be exposed upon re-entering treated agricultural areas. Stemming from the agency's evaluation in carbaryl's Interim Re-registration Eligibility Decision (IRED), EPA is requiring new measures in order to better protect homeowners, agricultural workers and the environment from exposure to this pesticide. Although many uses will remain, EPA's proposed actions will help reduce potential exposures from esidential users and children to this pesticide by eliminating most pet care and aerosol products, as well as liquid lawn care applications.

According to the EPA, carbaryl is the seventh most common pesticide active ingredient used by homeowners, with 2-4 million pounds used in 1999. As stated in the IRED, a member of the n-methylcarbamate class of pesticides, carbaryl can cause cholinesterase inhibition in humans, meaning that it can overstimulate the nervous system causing nausea, dizziness, confusion, and at high exposures, respiratory paralysis, and death. Carbaryl is classified as a likely human carcinogen based on vascular tumors in mice.

EPA's Mitigation Measures on Carbaryl Pesticide Products

-- Residential lawn care liquid broadcast applications will be voluntarily canceled effective July 1, 2004, pending the outcome of data that the registrant is voluntarily generating to refine post-application risks. (Liquid broadcast use on sod farms, golf courses, commercial landscape areas, and cemeteries may continue.)
-- All liquid residential lawn care products must be packaged in pint-sized ready-to-use hose-end sprayers, and residential use of these products is limited to spot treatments (less than 1000 square feet) only.
-- Home garden/ornamental dust products must be packaged in ready-to-use shaker can containers, with no more than 5 lbs. active ingredient per container.
-- Certain uses and application methods will be canceled:
- All pet uses (dusts and liquids) except collars;
- Aerosol products for various uses;
- Belly grinder applications of granular and bait products for lawn care spot treatments;
- Hand applications of granular and bait products for ornamentals and gardens.

To address handler risk concerns:
-- Wheat use, pet uses (except pet collars), broadcast applications using liquid formulations on residential lawns and turf, applications by hand, spoon, and bellygrinder will be canceled;
-- Maximum application rates are reduced for mosquito control, citrus, and asparagus.
-- Aerial applications are prohibited for wettable powder formulations, granular and bait formulations applied to corn (field, pop, and sweet), grain sorghum, alfalfa, rice, and sunflowers.
-- Additional personal protective equipment (PPE) and engineering controls are to be utilized for aerial/chemigation and ground airblast applications, and for use of granular and bait, liquid, and
wettable powder formulations.

To address post-application worker risk concerns:
-- Current 12-hour restricted entry interval (REI) for carbaryl is being extended for most crop uses;
-- Maximum application rates are reduced for citrus (including California citrus and Florida 24(c) registration) and asparagus (including both pre-harvest and post-harvest applications);
-- For brassica crops, leafy vegetables, and table beets and turnips when harvested for greens, use is restricted for applications only within 30 days of crop emergence/ transplanting.

-- To address toxicity concerns for honey bees, a bee precaution statement must be added to the
Environmental Hazards section of carbaryl product labels, as follows: "This product is highly toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment or residues on blooming crops or weeds. Do not apply this product or allow it to drift to blooming crops or weeds if bees are visiting the treatment area."
-- Several mitigation measures required to address residential and occupational risks, will also address risks to terrestrial and aquatic organisms, including: reducing maximum application rates for mosquito control, citrus, and asparagus; canceling use on wheat; canceling liquid broadcast applications to home lawns; prohibiting certain aerial applications.
-- Oyster growers in Washington State who use carbaryl to control burrowing shrimp on oyster beds in tidal mudflats have agreed to phase out this use over the next decade.

Registrants may distribute and sell products bearing old labels/labeling for 26 months and persons other than the registrant may distribute or sell such products for 50 months. However, according to the IRED, existing stocks time frames will be established case-by-case, depending on the number of products involved, the number of label changes, and other factors.

EPA's next step under the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 (FQPA) is to consider the cumulative effects of the carbamate pesticides, which have a common mechanism of toxicity. The interim decision on carbaryl will not be final until carbamate risks have been considered. The carbamate cumulative assessment may result in further risk mitigation measures for carbaryl.

A Federal Register notice announcing the beginning of a 60-day public comment period on the above mentioned mitigation measures is expected be published soon. The "Interim Re-registration Eligibility Decision" for carbaryl is available at: http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/carbaryl_ired.pdf. A fact sheet summarizing the EPA's review of carbaryl is available at http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/factsheets/carbaryl_factsheet.pdf.
For more information contact David Deegan at 202-564-7839, [email protected], or Tony Britten at 703-308-8179, [email protected].

Beyond Pesticides submitted comments on the Revised Risk Assessments for the Carbamate Pesticide Carbaryl in June, as well as signed on to comments submitted by the Farmworker Justice Fund. For more information, contact Beyond Pesticides.