Attendees get course on using pesticides
HARRINGTON, Del. — Kerry Richards of the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension returned to Delaware Farm Bureau’s Delaware Ag Safety Conference March 6 for the second year to talk about pesticides.
Her presentation was on reducing pesticide exposure, but first she offered updates on some chemicals farmers use.
By e-mail, Richards later forwarded the most recent information from EPA, incorporated here. The EPA release was issued March 6.
One sip of Paraquat can kill, and there is no antidote, Richards said.
The EPA, citing a “disproportionately high number of deaths resulting from accidental ingestion” of the herbicide, has taken several actions to prevent poisoning, including making label changes, restricting the use of all paraquat products to certified applicators only, and requiring closed-system packaging for all non-bulk (less than 120 gallon) end use product containers of paraquat.
Richards noted the closed-system packaging requirement would not be in place this growing season.
Certified applicators must now take paraquat-specific training before use, to emphasize that the chemical must not be transferred to or stored in improper containers.
The training also covers paraquat toxicity, new label requirements and restrictions, consequences of misuse, and other important information.
Richards explained, “EPA is allowing the sale of paraquat that is already in the channels of trade, so some paraquat sold this growing season may not have the new training requirement on the label. If the new training requirement is listed on the label of the product they purchase, they must complete the training.
“Growers who currently have a supply of paraquat that does not have the new labeling listing the required training are not required to complete the training.
“The best advice remains follow the directions on the label of the product you are using.”
For more information on this latest EPA action, visit https://www.epa.gov/pesticides/epa-takes-action-prevent-poisonings-herbicide.
Richards said, “he easiest URL that links to the training is usparaquattraining.com.
In her talk, Richards said Paraquat may no longer be applied by uncertified persons, even if working under someone else’s supervision.
Dicamba’s registration has been extended for two years for “over-the-top” use to control weeds in soybean fields genetically engineered to resist dicambra.
Registration includes label updates that add protective measures to further minimize potential for offsite damage.
Federal registration of chlorpyrifos remains in place and use according to label instructions may continue, as permitted by state law, while awaiting a re-hearing in Ninth Circuit court of a petition to revoke all use.
A regularly scheduled registration review of glyphosate began in 2009. One report from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Cancer Research, which is now said to be “the result of a flawed and incomplete summary of the experiment evidence evaluated,” concluded glyphosate “is probably carcinogenic to humans.” However, several human health and ecological risk assessments before and since then have concluded that “glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic.” The EPA is currently reviewing 250,000 public comments.
“There were a lot of questions about glyphosate at Commodity Classic,” Richards said. For more information, visit http://npsec.us/psep-sla-portal. “My job is to help you find all the information I can to help you make informed decisions,” she added.
Richards also noted that, as of Jan. 28, 2019, the EPA has withdrawn the proposed revisions to the 2015 Worker Protection Standards and is no longer considering changes to the designated representative or minimum age requirement.
New training materials on WPS are required and are available through Delaware Department of Agriculture. It is the responsibility of the farmer to ensure that anyone working on the farm is trained. For contract labor, she said, farmers must have documentation that all have been trained.
As for reducing risk from pesticide exposure, Richards offered the following formula: Risk equals toxicity/hazard times exposure.
She explained the meaning of LD 50 values as the lethal dose lethal dose of a substance required to kill 50 percent of the test population.
There are four categories of warnings that appear on hazardous products:
• “Danger/Poison” must appear with skull and crossbones on labels of highly toxic chemicals.
• “Warning” is for moderately toxic chemicals.
• “Caution” is for slightly toxic substances, where there is concern for mild skin, eye or respiratory irritation.
The word “Danger” must go on Hazard Class I materials because the product is highly toxic based on corrosive or irritant potential. Contact with the material may cause permanent or severe skin, eye or respiratory damage.
Richards stressed that organics and non-synthetic pesticides are not necessarily safer, regardless of the name of the product.
There are four routes of exposure to pesticides: through skin; through eyes by splashing or contact with contaminated hands; by inhalation, usually when using fine dusts and mists or when mixing and loading concentrates; and orally, typically due to improper storage in other than original container.
The best way to avoid a pesticide poisoning, Richards concluded, is to read and follow the label; choose the lowest toxicity pesticide when possible; and to wear personal protective equipment.
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