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Settlement Agreement Regarding Azinphos-methyl and Phosmet

UFW v. Johnson, Case No. 04-0099 (W.D. Wa.)

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January 31, 2006

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached a settlement with the United Farm Workers and the other public interest plaintiffs who brought a lawsuit against the Agency in January 2004 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington regarding the pesticides azinphos methyl (AZM) and phosmet. The suit alleged that the AZM and phosmet Interim Reregistration Eligibility Decisions (IREDs) were inconsistent with the requirements of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) because EPA did not appropriately consider the risks and benefits of these pesticides. The settlement agreement effectively stays the legal challenge pending EPA's reconsideration of the "time limited" uses of these pesticides, scheduled for reevaluation later in 2006. Prior to finalizing the agreement, EPA took public comment. The only comment submitted was in support of the agreement.

This fact sheet contains general information about these pesticides and the agreement.


Azinphos-methyl (AZM) and phosmet are organophosphate (OP) insecticides first registered in 1959 and 1966 respectively. They are currently used in agriculture on orchard fruits, berries, nuts, and other crops. In connection with the FIFRA reregistration and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) tolerance reassessment processes, EPA issued IREDs for both azinphos-methyl and phosmet in October 2001.


In the azinphos-methyl IRED (PDF) (146 pp, 651 KB, About PDF) the Agency concluded, based on evaluation of the risks and benefits of the use of AZM, that 35 uses should either be immediately canceled or phased out over a four-year period. The remaining ten time-limited AZM registrations (almonds, apples/crabapples, highbush and lowbush blueberries, Brussels sprouts, cherries, nursery stock, parsley, pears, pistachios, and walnuts) were eligible for reregistration (pending completion of the cumulative assessment) for a period of four years, after which EPA would accept and evaluate applications for renewal of the registrations, taking into consideration, among other things, additional data EPA required the registrants to submit. As provided in the IRED, if the AZM registrants wished to extend the life of the registrations beyond four years, they could apply for amendments to their registrations to do so. In July 2004, the AZM registrants submitted applications to extend the AZM registrations for the ten uses. EPA is now in the process of considering those applications.


In the phosmet IRED (PDF) (131 pp, 417 KB, About PDF), EPA determined that three uses should be canceled and that 33 uses were eligible for reregistration (pending development and review of additional data related to worker exposure and the completion of the OP cumulative assessment). EPA made a time-limited determination for nine uses (apples, crabapples, peaches, pears, nectarines, apricots, plums/prunes, grapes, and highbush blueberries) and would complete reconsideration of those uses in 2006. The IRED provided that this reconsideration would involve a determination whether the restricted-entry intervals (REIs) for workers that were imposed as a result of the IRED should be maintained indefinitely or whether longer “default” REIs, or other appropriate REIs, should be adopted. EPA is now in the process of conducting its reevaluation of these nine uses.

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Settlement Agreement:

By entering into the Settlement Agreement, the plaintiffs and EPA have agreed upon an equitable solution to the litigation. The Settlement Agreement does not constitute an admission or adjudication of any fact, wrongdoing, misconduct, or liability on the part of the United States, EPA, or its officials. The settlement agreement between EPA and the plaintiffs effectively stays this challenge pending EPA's reconsideration of the "time limited" uses of these pesticides.

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Agreement Deadlines:

The Settlement Agreement establishes a time frame in which EPA will propose decisions on the re-evaluation of the ten azinphos-methyl time-limited uses and the nine phosmet time-limited uses as follows:

April 3, 2006:
August 3, 2006:

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