Organophosphate Insecticides Ban? Comment Period to EPA is Sept. 25

Jim Rogers Environment

By Clint Thompson

Specialty crop producers are reminded that Sunday, Sept. 25 is the deadline to submit a comment to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the ramifications of the potential cancellation of multiple organophosphate pesticides.

organophosphate pesticides

Growers would lose the last broad spectrum soil insecticide in vegetables in diazinon if the cancellation goes through. It would also impact different areas of production, including the management of tomato spotted wilt virus in peanuts and defoliation of cotton.

Chris Butts, executive vice president of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, expressed concerns over the potential cancellation.

organophosphate pesticides
Chris Butts, Executive Vice President of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association

“One of our larger concerns is just the load that the EPA has got in making sure that all these chemistries are up to date on their reviews and registrations. But often what we see happen in those cases, is they’re well intentioned and trying to do what is right, but sometimes we take one step forward and two steps back if we ban a chemical that’s under a chemistry that’s been replaced by two or three,” Butts said. “If it’s the best treatment option that a grower has and we take that away and now it’s replaced by two or three different chemistries, have we really done any good? I would offer that often times we’ve taken a step back. Trying to get them the resources that they need to keep on top of all of that is our biggest concern.

“Our growers deserve to have the best tools and technologies that we can have. If that technology is out there, we need those agencies to process those and keep those available to our folks in a timely manner.”

Stormy Sparks, University of Georgia (UGA) Extension vegetable entomologist, noted in the UGA Extension Vegetable Blog that the EPA has been petitioned to revoke all tolerances and cancel all associated registrations for food uses of multiple (pretty much all) organophosphate pesticides.

The EPA recently revoked tolerances for chlorpyrifos for all commodities. Sparks said that the petition to the EPA is based on the approach that since all organophosphates have the same mode of action, all should be cancelled. The carbamates, which include Lannate and Vydate, also share this mode of action.

“We’re grateful for Stormy and others as we try to keep our finger on the pulse of everything that affects growers, that’s the reason why we’re here. (Farmers) don’t have time to keep up with all of that. That’s our role, to keep up with all of that and keep our guys informed, and we’re grateful for the partnerships that help us do that,” Butts said.

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