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Daily News Archive
From November 8, 2001

Restrictions Placed on Phosmet and Azinphos-Methyl

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it has developed new restrictions on the use of two agricultural organophosphate pesticides, azinphos-methyl and phosmet, to increase protection of agricultural workers, yet allowing some use to continue. Environmentalists are cautious to applaud any agreement that does not immediately ban all uses of a dangerous product.

For azinphos-methyl, 28 crop uses are being canceled, 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. Prior to the expiration of the four-year period, EPA will conduct a 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 registrations 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.

For phosmet, three uses are being voluntarily cancelled, nine crops are being authorized for use under specific terms for five years, and 33 crops are being approved for continued use. The new measures on phosmet are being implemented under an agreement with the
registrant, Gowan Co. The three voluntary cancellations include use on: domestic pets, household ornamentals, and household fruit trees; phosmet, however, is used infrequently for these applications. For phosmet, a group of nine crops will be authorized for use for
five years under specific terms: apples, apricots, blueberries, crab apples, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears and plums/dried plums.

"The new measures announced today on azinphos-methyl and phosmet will help decrease pesticide exposure and provide additional health protection for agricultural workers," said Stephen L. Johnson, EPA Assistant Administrator for Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances. EPA plans to enhance protection of agricultural workers during the phase-out and time-limited registration periods, through a variety of 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.

The Interim Reregistration Eligibility Documents (IREDs) for both azinphos-methyl and phosmet are now being issued, since extensive risk assessments for these pesticides have been completed. EPA will accept comments for 60 days on these IREDs, which will be available soon on EPA's web site at: www.epa.gov/pesticides.