public policy

Fumigation

President Obama Signs Chemical Security Legislation into Law
(Posted January 6, 2015)
President Obama recently signed into law legislation reauthorizing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program for four years. Initial authorized in October of 2006 for a three year period, the program has since been authorized on an annual or ad hoc basis through annual or short term funding legislation. The four-year authorization will provide more certainty to both DHS and the regulated community. While the overwhelming majority of PMPs are not subject to CFATS, fumigators that possess certain amounts of phosphine or aluminum or magnesium phosphide are covered by the program and must submit Top-Screens and other information to DHS.

Government Funding Law Contains Directive on Fumigation Tax Rulemaking
(Posted December 23, 2014)
The explanatory statement accompanying the government funding legislation for Fiscal Year 2015 that President Obama signed into law last week directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to meet with pest management professionals and other stakeholders impacted by a proposed rulemaking increasing and establishing new Agricultural Quarantine Inspection (AQI) fees including a $375 fee for overseeing import fumigations. Specifically, APHIS officials are directed to meet with stakeholders within 30 days of enactment of the funding legislation.

NPMA has joined with many other groups to push back against the AQI fee increase rulemaking including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, American Trucking Associations, Cruise Lines International Association, American Association of Port Authorities and about 20 other organizations. NPMA worked with these groups to include a provision about the rulemaking in the government funding legislation.

Corporate-Wide Settlement with Lowe's Protects Public from Lead Pollution During Home Renovations
(Posted April 22, 2014)
The US Justice Department and EPA entered a settlement with Lowe's to resolve multiple violations of the federal Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule. The government complaint alleged that Lowe's failed to provide documentation showing that specific contractors had been certified by EPA, had been properly trained, had used lead-safe work practices or had correctly used EPA-approved lead test kits at renovation sites. Additionally, EPA's investigation found that Lowe's had also failed to ensure that work areas had been properly contained and cleaned during renovations at three homes. Lowe's agreed to adopt a corporate compliance program at its 1,700 stores and the payment of a $500,000 civil penalty. Click here for more information.

President Obama Signs NPMA Spearheaded Legislation into Law
(Posted February 11, 2014)
President Barack Obama signed legislation into law Friday, Feb. 7, that retains the food uses for the fumigant sulfuryl fluoride. The measure is part of the much larger, 950-page plus Farm Bill Conference Report. The enactment of the sulfuryl fluoride provision represents a monumental legislative victory for NPMA - one that would not have been possible without NPMA members lobbying their federal lawmakers about the importance of retaining sulfuryl fluoride's food uses.

The legislation effectively reverses a proposed order revoking or withdrawing sulfuryl fluoride's food tolerances that U.S. EPA put forward in January of 2011 under the threat of activist group litigation. The activists claimed that sulfuryl fluoride's tolerances were not permissible because the "risk cup" for sulfuryl fluoride was already filled with fluoride in drinking water and dental care products.

Congratulations to NPMA members on a big legislative triumph!!!

US Senate Passes Legislation Retaining SF's Food Uses
(Posted February 4, 2014)
The U.S. Senate today approved legislation retaining the food uses for the fumigant sulfuryl fluoride. The measure is part of the much larger, 950 page plus Farm Bill, which overwhelmingly passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week. The Farm Bill now goes to President Obama for his signature. The passage of legislation preserving sulfuryl fluoride's food tolerances is a significant public policy victory for NPMA.

The provision effectively reverses a proposed order revoking or withdrawing sulfuryl fluoride's food tolerances that EPA put forward in January of 2011 under the threat of activist group litigation. The activists claimed that sulfuryl fluoride's tolerances were not permissible because the "risk cup" for sulfuryl fluoride was already filled with fluoride in drinking water and dental care products.

EPA Opens Fumigant Registration Review Dockets for Public Comment
(Posted October 1, 2013)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently initiated the registration review process for a number of soil, structural, commodity, and antimicrobial fumigants including methyl bromide, aluminum phosphide, magnesium phosphide, and phosphine. EPA kicked off the process by opening public dockets for all of the fumigants. The dockets include preliminary work plans for each fumigant included in the group and supporting documents that outline anticipated risk assessment and data needs available. These documents highlight the issues that may be considered during the course of registration review, which is the EPA's periodic reevaluation of all registered pesticides to ensure that products in the marketplace can still be used safely. The agency is seeking comments on these documents and requesting information on the use parameters, or where and how these fumigants should be used. The comment period closes on November 25, 2013. Click here to access the docket and all of the documents.

House Passed Farm Bill Contains Pesticide Provisions
(Posted July 30, 2013)
The Farm Bill that barely cleared the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month contains language exempting pesticide applications from Clean Water Act permitting requirements as well as provisions related to the fumigant sulfuryl fluoride and the Endangered Species Act.

Thanks to a 2009 federal court decision, Clean Water Act permits are now required for certain pesticide applications directly to or near bodies of water. The provision in the House passed Farm Bill would reverse the court's decision and restore the longstanding policy of Democratic and Republican administrations of not requiring such permits for lawful pesticide applications.

The sulfuryl fluoride provision, authored by Congressmen Austin Scott of Georgia and Kurt Schrader of Oregon, directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to, in conjunction with the Secretary of Agriculture, submit to the House Agriculture Committee within two years of the passage of the Farm Bill a report on the potential economic and public health effects of the loss of the food uses of sulfuryl fluoride. The measure is in response to a January 2011 EPA proposal canceling sulfuryl fluoride's food uses. The Endangered Species Act provision would prohibit EPA from modifying or canceling a pesticide registration based on the Biological Opinions of the agencies charged with implementing and administering ESA - the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and the National Marine Fisheries Service - until an unbiased, external scientific peer review is conducted on these ESA-required BiOps.

Lastly, the House-passed Farm Bill contains language requiring the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to conduct a "scientific and economic analysis" of Food Safety Modernization Act regulations before they can move forward, a requirement that would likely delay implementation of the regulations. None of the aforementioned provisions are included in the Farm Bill the Senate passed in early June. The two bodies now have to reconcile the differences between their respective versions of the legislation and come up with one, final bill for the chambers to vote on.

Click here to read the House passed Farm Bill.

Hazmat Registration Program Fees Reduced for 2013-2014
(Posted May 14, 2013)
A final rule published in the Federal Register on April 19, 2013 lowered registration fees for the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration's (PHMSA) Hazmat Registration Program for 2013-2014. The revised Fee Table from the Department of Transportation for the year beginning July 1, 2013 and ending June 30, 2014 is provided here. After the 2013-2014 registration year, the fee schedule will return to previous levels.

PHMSA's Hazmat Registration Program requires certain carriers, shippers, and other offerors of hazmat to register and pay a fee for each registration year during which they engage in any of the covered activities. Please view the letter NPMA received from PHMSA for additional information on the fee reductions. Further information is also available on the Hazmat Registration Program's homepage.

BACKGROUND ON THE UPCOMING CHANGES TO FUMATOXIN® and PHOSTOXIN® LABELS
(Posted April 17, 2010)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced new restrictions on the use of products containing aluminum and magnesium phosphide. Outlined in detail below, the product's use will be strictly prohibited around single and multi-family housing but still permissible under certain conditions at athletic fields, parks and recreational areas, golf courses, cemeteries, airports, rights-of-way, earthen dams, and other non-residential institutional or industrial sites.

The additional restrictions were triggered by a February incident in which the alleged misapplication of Fumatoxin by a Utah applicator treating a residential property for voles claimed the lives of two young girls. EPA's announcement of the restrictions came on the same day the Utah Medical Examiner's Office reported that the girls had "elevated levels of phosphorus" in their bodies and also had "lung damage consistent with inhaling a harmful substance."

Representatives of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the product manufacturer met with and communicated with EPA officials on a regular basis since late February about EPA's concern regarding the use of Fumatoxin in residential areas and prospective label language. EPA had previously proposed setting a 100-foot buffer zone for the treatment of rodent burrows when the product was being reevaluated in the late 1990s and early 2000s to ensure that the product's use met contemporary health and safety standards. NPMA was almost solely responsible for preserving the residential rodent burrow use at that time.

Below is a brief overview of the upcoming label revisions:

  • Use is strictly prohibited around all residential areas, including single and multi-family residential properties, nursing homes, schools (except athletic fields, where use may continue), day care facilities, and hospitals.
  • The products must only be used outdoors for control of burrowing pests, and are for use only on agricultural areas, orchards, non-crop areas (such as pasture and range land), golf courses, athletic fields, parks and recreational areas, cemeteries, airports, rights-of-way, earthen dams, and other non-residential institutional or industrial sites.
  • Products must not be applied in a burrow system that is within 100 feet of a building that is or may be occupied by people or domestic animals. This buffer zone for treatment around non-residential buildings that could be occupied by people or animals has been increased from 15 feet to 100 feet.
  • When this product is used in athletic fields or parks, the applicator must post a sign at entrances to the treated site containing the signal word DANGER/PELIGRO, skull and crossbones, the words: DO NOT ENTER/NO ENTRE, FIELD NOT FOR USE, the name and EPA registration number of the fumigant, and a 24-hour emergency response number. Signs may be removed two days after the final treatment.
  • When this product is used out-of-doors in a site frequented by people, other than an athletic field or park, the applicator shall post a sign at the application site containing the signal word DANGER/PELIGRO, skull and crossbones, the name and EPA registration number of the fumigant, and a 24-hour emergency response number. Signs may be removed two days after the final treatment.

Fumigant management plans must be written before all applications of phosphine products, including all burrowing pest fumigations. A fumigant management plan is a written description of the steps designed to plan for a safe, legal and effective fumigation. The certified applicator and owner of the property to be fumigated must characterize the area to be treated and include all safety requirements in the plan before application.