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Azinphos-Methyl IRED Facts

October 31, 2001

Action and Rationale
EPA is releasing its Interim Reregistration Eligibility Decision (IRED) for azinphos-methyl, which includes a determination to cancel, phase out, or continue under time-limited registrations the crop uses of this pesticide. An organophosphate insecticide first registered in 1959, azinphos-methyl is widely used in agriculture and provides important pest control benefits to growers of orchard fruit, nut, and other crops. However, azinphos-methyl also poses a high degree of risk to agricultural workers, as well as significant acute ecological risks. The Agency's actions address both the high risks and benefits associated with current agricultural uses of azinphos-methyl. EPA will publish a notice of availability of this IRED, which will include a 60-day comment period.

Worker and Ecological Risk Reduction
To improve worker safety and lessen ecological risks, EPA's actions for azinphos-methyl include:
28 crop uses will be cancelled without phaseout since safer pest control alternatives are available
7 crop uses will be phased out over 4 years, allowing time to shift to safer pest control alternatives; and
8 crop uses will be issued time-limited registrations for 4 years, allowing time to develop safer pest control alternatives.

Time-Limited Registrations
The Agency has taken the approach of a time-limited registration for some uses of azinphos-methyl because both the risk to reentry workers and the benefits of the use on crops like apples and sweet cherries are high. "High benefits" means that the withdrawal of azinphos-methyl from the market would result in significant economic impacts on the fruit industry. These effects are largely determined by the lack of alternative methods to control pest pressure effectively and economically.

Protections for Workers
To protect agricultural workers during the phase-out and time-limited registration periods, a variety of new and stringent precautions would be implemented. These include longer intervals before workers may re-enter treated areas, reducing the amount of pesticide that may be applied, limiting the number of applications, and prohibiting most aerial applications.

EPA's Review Process
The Azinphos-methyl IRED concludes EPA's review of this individual pesticide through the organophosphate pilot public participation process. Through this process, EPA exchanged information on azinphos-methyl's uses, risks, and benefits with stakeholders and the public, and obtained significant input from interested parties. This input helped the Agency determine whether azinphos-methyl is eligible for reregistration and meets the safety standard set by the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996. A final reregistration decision will be issued following completion of the cumulative risk assessment for the organophosphate pesticides.

EPA previously issued decisions and risk reduction measures for azinphos-methyl after Agency risk assessments showed that the pesticide could not meet the safety standard set by the FQPA. Those earlier actions, initiated in August 1999, effectively reduced dietary risks to children and others, and began reducing worker and ecological risks.

Risk Mitigation
The following mitigation is necessary for continued use of azinphos-methyl under the phase-out or time-limited registration:

To Reduce Worker Risks....
• increase restricted entry intervals (REIs)
• increase pre-harvest interval (PHI)
• require closed transfer systems
• require enclosed cabs or maximum personal protective equipment (PPE) for applicators
• registrants must conduct studies and provide data comparing exposure to airblast applicators with enclosed cabs, chemical resistant suits, or other PPE; monitoring cholinesterase levels of harvesters; and glove feasibility
• limit application frequency and amount

To Reduce Ecological Risks...
• prohibit most aerial applications
• add spray drift language to labels
• keep buffer zones for surface water
• add language for inward spray nozzles
• limit application frequency and amount

To Reduce Consumer Risks....
• "Pick Your Own" operations may use azinphos-methyl only early in the growing season or must increase pre-harvest interval

To Encourage Use of Safer Alternatives....
• encourage development of Pest Management Strategic Plans
• issue time-limited registrations

Provisions of the Azinphos-methyl IRED

Action: Cancellation
Date: Following Federal Register publication
Beans (succulent and snap)
Birdsfoot trefoil
Caneberries (blackberries, boysenberries, loganberries, raspberries): foliar application only
Melons (honeydew melon muskmelon/canteloupe, watermelons, other melons)
Nursery stock (quarantine use)
Plums/dried plums
Onions, green
Potatoes Celery
Onions, dry bulb

Action: Phaseout
Date: Over a 4 year period
Cherries, tart

Action: Time-limited Registration Date: Period of 4 years
Crop: Apples and crab apples Blueberries, lowbush and highbush
Cherries, sweet
Nursery stock, quarantine use
Southern pine seed orchards
Brussel sprouts: application to soil at transplant
Caneberries (blackberries, boysenberries, loganberries, raspberries): applications to canes and soil

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