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Phosmet IRED Facts

October 31, 2001

Action and Rationale
EPA is releasing its Interim Reregistration Eligibility Decision (IRED) for phosmet, which includes a determination to voluntarily cancel certain uses, continue registered uses with additional risk reduction, or continue uses under time-limited registrations with interim risk mitigation. An organophosphate insecticide first registered in 1966, phosmet is widely used in agriculture and provides important pest control benefits to growers of orchard fruit, nut, and other crops. However, some uses of phosmet also pose risks to agricultural workers, as well as ecological risks. The Agency's actions address both the risks and benefits associated with current agricultural uses of phosmet. EPA will publish a notice of availability of this IRED, which will include a 60-day comment period.

Worker and Ecological Risk Reduction
To eliminate phosmet exposure in residential settings, improve worker safety, and lessen ecological risks, EPA's actions for phosmet include:
3 uses will be canceled immediately – since safer pest control alternatives are available;
9 crop uses would be eligible for time-limited registrations for 5 years if the registrations are amended to require additional risk reduction measures;
33 uses would continue with additional risk mitigation measures.

Time-Limited Registrations
The Agency has taken the approach of a time-limited registration for some uses of phosmet because both the risk to reentry workers and the benefits of the use on crops such as apples and blueberries are high. "High benefits" means that the withdrawal of phosmet 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.

To protect agricultural workers during the time-limited registration period, 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, and in some cases limiting the number of applications.

EPA's Review Process
The phosmet IRED concludes EPA's review of this individual pesticide through the organophosphate pilot public participation process. Through this process, EPA exchanged information on phosmet's uses, risks, and benefits with stakeholders and the public, and obtained significant input from interested parties. This input helped the Agency determine whether phosmet 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.

Risk Mitigation
EPA's phosmet decision includes the following measures to reduce risks to workers, consumers, and the environment:

To Reduce Worker Risks....
• increase Restricted Entry Intervals (REIs)
• increase Pre-Harvest Interval (PHI) where appropriate
• require closed transfer systems
• require enclosed cabs or maximum personal protective equipment (PPE) for applicators
• registrants must conduct studies and provide data on monitoring cholinesterase levels of field workers; on the feasibility of using gloves; and update benefits information

To Reduce Ecological Risks...
• add spray drift language to labels
• add language for inward nozzle spray
• limit application amount
• prohibit application during bloom period

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

Provisions of the Phosmet IRED

Action: Voluntary Cancellation
Date: Following Federal Register publication
Use: Domestic pets

Household ornamental

Household fruit trees

Action: Time-limited Registration
Date: Over a 5-year period
Blueberries, highbush

Action: Continued Registration with New Requirements

Beech nut
Brazil nut
Blueberries, lowbush
Cattle (except high-pressure hose application)
Cherries, tart
Cherries, sweet

Chinquapin nuts
Christmas trees
Evergreen trees
Fire ants
Hickory nuts

Macadamia nuts
Ornamental nursery stock
Peas, dry
Peas, fresh
Pine seed orchards
Pine seedlings
Sweet Potatoes


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