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ACTION ALERT — Speak out against EPA rule on spray drift

February 5, 2010

The U.S. EPA is seeking public comment of their draft Pesticide Registration (PR) Notice on Pesticide Drift Labeling. 

They have proposed to add a general spray drift statement that is vague and excessively broad and sets an unachievable zero drift standard. 

Preventing every molecule of a crop protection product from drifting is technically impossible and may open up farmers to enforcement actions and frivolous lawsuits.  Individual comments or letters to U.S. EPA from farmers will be helpful in ensure U.S. EPA understands the full impact of its actions.

Go to this website to comment on the proposed rule.

Talking Points

  • Protecting human health for adults and children is best accomplished through a Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) approved and enforced label for the pesticide product, which includes Directions for Use based upon a risk assessment and that incorporates mitigation and application techniques designed to minimize drift.
  • Vague language such as “could cause” or “may cause adverse effects” does not belong on a pesticide label because it is NOT in accordance with FIFRA risk-based standard of ‘no unreasonable adverse effects’ and it forces state regulators into the role of risk assessor to determine what ‘may or could’ cause an effect, which they are not trained to do and is the role of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • EPA’s guidance on how to enforce the proposed drift label language sets an unachievable zero drift standard and sets the stage for frivolous tort lawsuits and enforcement actions against farmers.

We ask EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs to do the following:

  • Do NOT impose unnecessary buffers that would reduce cropland available for American agriculture;
  • Develop a bystander exposure scenario for the risk assessment in the pesticide registration process;
  • Develop risk-based tolerances for non-target property;
  • Maintain the FIFRA risk-based standard of “no unreasonable adverse effects”;
  • Acknowledge that some small level of pesticide drift is unavoidable (in some cases) and does not pose an “unreasonable adverse effect”;
  • Acknowledge that the mere detection of a pesticide off-target does not pose an unreasonable adverse effect and is not a violation of FIFRA that requires an enforcement action;
  • Remove the new hazard-based standard of “harm” from the Drift Pesticide Registration Notice; 
  • Remove the vague, unenforceable, and unmanageable concepts of “could cause” or “may cause” adverse effects or “harm” from the Drift PRN.
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