A monthly report on pesticides and related environmental issues

Issue No. 127, September 1996

Open Forum:
In an attempt to promote free and open discussion of issues, The Agrichemical and Environmental News encourages letters and articles with differing views. To include an article, contact: Alan Schreiber, Food and Environmental Quality Laboratory, 100 Sprout Road, Richland, WA 99352-1643, ph: 509-372-7324, fax: 509-372-7460,
E-mail: ebechtel@beta.tricity.wsu.edu or aschreib@beta.tricity.wsu.edu

In This Issue

News and Notes Available Reports
Pesticide Issues Forum
Scheduled for October
WSCPR Works to Increase
Pest Control Research Efforts
IR-4 Holds 20th
Food Use Workshop
Allan Felsot
2,4-D Reregistration Studies Food Quality Protection Act
Food Quality Protection Act --
EPA's Interim Guidance
Officially Unofficial
Plastic Pesticide Container
Collection Requirements
Federal Issues

Return to WAPP Home Page

Advertisement --

Pesticide Notification Network Coordinator --
Pesticide Information Center, WSU-Tri Cities

Description/Responsibilities: The WSU Pesticide Information Center collects and disseminates a wide variety of information on agrichemicals and related subjects. The Pesticide Notification Network (PNN) Coordinator is responsible for: 1) overseeing a network which will be developed under the guidance of the Washington State Commission on Pesticide Registration. The incumbent will develop, maintain, collect and disseminate information on changes in pesticide registrations in Washington, in addition to acting as the contact point for all questions related to the PNN, and 2) developing contacts and collecting data on pesticide use patterns in Washington, as well as the crop production and protection practices for Washington agriculture. Required: B.S. degree, ability to compose oral reports, make oral presentations, written reports and the acquisition of a Washington State public consultant license within six months of hiring. Position will require significant interaction with commission groups, chemical companies, university specialists, state and federal regulatory agencies. The successful applicant must have good interpersonal skills and the ability to work in a team environment. Desired: Experience using computer database management or desktop publication programs. Rank/Salary: This is a full-time Administrative Professional level position. Annual salary is $23,000-$28,000 (commensurate with experience and education) plus benefits.Submit letter of application, resume and names of three references including phone/fax numbers and addresses. Applications may be requested from John Steele, WSU Human Resources, at 509-372-7302. Screening will begin November 1, 1996 and will continue until position is filled. For more information on this position, contact Catherine Daniels at 509-372-7492 or at cdaniels@beta.tricity.wsu.edu

Washington State University AA/EEO/ADA

News and Notes

Note: The AENews is now accessible from the World Wide Web via the Washington State Pesticide Page. The address for the page is:

Enter this address carefully, paying close attention to punctuation and spacing (no spaces between parts of the address). Some readers may experience difficulties accessing the site. These are believed to be related to the Internet and to on-line services, not the web site. If you are having a problem accessing the web page, please inform Eric Bechtel (ph: 509-372-7378, fax: 509-372-7460, E-mail: ebechtel@beta.tricity.wsu.edu

Washington grape production suffers

The Washington crop, due to freeze damage in February, is the smallest since 1986, according to a recent report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

California grape production is expected to increase 3% from last year and result in a crop of 10.8 billion pounds in 1996. The government report places grape production in 12 other states at 1.1 billion pounds, equal to 9% of total U.S. grape production but 22% less than last year. Production in Michigan and Washington is expected to decrease 11% and 52%, respectively, from 1995.

Wine sales

The first eleven months of the current marketing year (July 1995 - May 1996) have seen a 6.3 percent increase in Washington wine sales. Washington produced wines increased their sales within the state by 3.8 percent, while sales of wines from outside Washington increased 6.9 percent. As a basis for comparison, the U.S. wine market expanded by 7.6 million gallons to 460.4 million gallons, an increase of 1.7 percent, in calendar year 1995.

Table wine sales expanded by 15.9 million gallons to 381.7 million gallons. This was a 4.3 percent increase in sales for all table wines, with sales of U.S. produced table wines increasing 4.4 percent. U.S. produced table wines account for 84.2 percent of all table wine sales in the U.S.

It appears that premium table wines are leading the way to increased sales, with the better reds in high demand.

...Ray Folwell, Professor
Agricultural Economics
Washington State University

From Grape Research News. Vol. 7, Number 2, August 1996. Washington State University

Increased sales for U.S. organics

Sales of U.S. organic products in 1995 increased 22% over 1994 figures, according to a recent survey conducted by Natural Foods Merchandiser (NFM), a natural products industry journal. Organic sales increased from $2.31 billion in 1994 to $2.8 billion in 1995. This is the sixth year that the market for organic products has experienced greater than 20% growth. NFM stated that several factors contributed to the continuing growth, including a widening consumer base, expansion by natural products retailers, greater mainstream acceptance and increasing organic acreage.

Natural product stores led the U.S. organic market with $1.87 billion in sales, followed by direct farm and export sales ($714.8 million combined) and mass-market outlets ($210 million). "Natural product stores" refers to retailers specializing in natural, organic and health food items. Organics accounted for 31% of retail sales in these stores in 1995. Fresh organic produce represented approximately 25% of organic sales in natural product retailers, bringing in $402 million in sales, up 21% from 1994. Other important organic products included bulk foods, frozen foods, drinks and dairy products. According to NFM, short supplies of organic milk in 1994 led to greater production last year, and dairy sales climbed to $30 million. Organic clothing accounted for $2.5 million in sales from these stores. Organic herbs, vitamins and supplements led the organic market in terms of growth rate with a 33% increase in sales. Mainstream supermarkets have also become significant purveyors of organic products. According to the survey, mass-market organic sales reached $210 million in 1995. NFM pointed out that a 1995 survey by The Packer, a mainstream produce trade journal, found that 54% of respondents said their supermarkets sell organic produce, and that some retailers estimate supermarkets can earn 10%-15% more by selling organics.

Source: "Widening Market Carries Organic Sales to $2.8 Billion in 1995," Natural Foods Merchandiser, June 1996.

U.S. chemical companies merge

UniRoyal Chemical Corporation has signed an agreement to merge with Crompton and Knowles Corporation. The Crop Protection Division of UniRoyal Chemical expects no changes for its distributors, dealers and customers.

Growth projected in biopesticide use

Growth in annual biopesticide use from 1985-1995 averaged 20 percent per year. This growth is largely at the expense of chemical pesticide sales, which are predicted to barely keep up with inflation. Of all pesticides, the most growth in use is expected in fungicides, followed by insecticides.

The Agra Quester, May 1996.

Gene for insecticide protects poplars

The genetically engineered poplar tree produces a natural insecticidal protein from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The leaves contain far less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the Bt protein, but these levels appear to be high enough to protect the trees from the forest tent caterpillar and gypsy moth. The research is part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's College of Agricultural and Life Science's project to develop fast-growing crops, such as poplar trees, that can be cut and burned in power plants to produce electricity.

Biotech Reporter, August 1996.

EPA investigates mushroom industry

Until a recent situation at a Salem mushroom processing plant, EPA had had no pesticide use complaints regarding U.S. mushroom production, a small segment of the agricultural industry consisting of about 370 growers nationwide.

According to Chris Kirby, assistant manager in the Oregon Department of Agriculture Plant Division, the state began investigating pesticide use at the Pictsweet plant following allegations from an employee and former employee.

In a meeting with Pictsweet, company officials themselves expressed concern regarding the pesticides, Kirby said. Subsequent ODA investigation found that pesticide manufacturer representatives may have provided incorrect usage information to the company. ODA then turned to EPA for clarification on proper use. Answers, Kirby said, could have national significance.

The EPA inquiry reportedly involves many different pesticides, including fungicides for disease control and insecticides for fly control in mushroom beds. Some of the products involved are labeled for use in structures but not specifically in mushroom houses.

Apple organization changes name

The International Apple Institute has changed its name to the United States Apple Association (USAA). Changing the name is expected to help avoid confusion that has sometimes arisen in the past concerning whether the group primarily represented the U.S. apple industry or a worldwide perspective. In the future, whether testifying before Congress or working with the Administration, it will be clear that the USAA in name, as well as in fact, will be representing America's apple growers and shippers.

U.S. exports expected to increase

The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service predicts that horticultural exports will grow by $500 million to $9.8 billion during 1997. Total U.S. agricultural exports will reach a record $60 billion in 1996. Food imports are also expected to reach a record $32 billion. The leading importers of U.S. produce are Canada ($1.3 billion), Japan ($780 million), Hong Kong ($185 million), Taiwan ($165 million) and Mexico ($118 million).

Exporters eye tougher residue trials

Northwest wheat growers who export to Asia say the next industry challenge could be tougher standards for chemical residues.

Enshiro Matsuyama, chairman of the Japanese Flour Millers Association and president of Nitto Flour Milling Co., said during a recent U.S. trade visit that food safety is becoming more important among Japanese consumers.

The issue may have much to do with marketing strategy. Ray Jussaume, assistant professor of rural sociology at Washington State University, said Japanese food cooperatives can increase market share by pushing food safety.

The United States exports almost 3.4 million tons of wheat to Japan annually. Before a ship leaves a U.S. port, a grain sample is flown to testing facilities in Japan. An out-of-tolerance find can cause a major incident, according to John Oades, director of the West Coast Office of U.S. Wheat Associates.

This possibility prompted the Idaho Wheat Commission to begin its own testing five years ago. The group claims all samples were well below current residue standards. A 1994 study of Washington wheat found 52 percent of 214 samples with no discernible levels of residue. Of the remainder, only 1 percent were found to be over tolerances.

About three years ago, Lynn Brown, then manager of the Federal Grain Inspection Service in Washington, said customers may soon be asking for chemical residue-free wheat. Oades said nonresidue wheat may be a future niche market, but if customers want a quantity of quality wheat, acceptable chemical tolerances must be part of the bargain.

Washington State Grape Society Meeting

Nov. 20-21, 1996

Contact: Judy McDonald


Return to Table of Contents

Pesticide issues forum
scheduled for October

Washington State University is holding a symposium on regional pesticide issues October 17, 1996, at the Pasco Red Lion.

The all-day symposium, titled Pacific Northwest Pesticide Issues, is intended as education for individuals working with pesticide issues. These include, in particular, consultants, agrichemical industry representatives, grower associations, pest management associations, environmental organizations, educators, and regulators. Certification credit will be available.

Registration is from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. Adjournment is at 4 p.m.



Registration & Welcome

Carol Ramsay
Pesticide Educ.

Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-6382


Human and Wildlife Health:
Endocrine Disruptors
and Hormone Mimics

Allan Felsot
Environmental Toxicologist

Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-6382




Regulatory Status
of the Endocrine/
Hormone Issue

Marie Jennings

US EPA, Region X
Pesticide Programs
Seattle, WA


Toxicology and Testing

Sheldon Wagner, MD
Professor Clinical Tox.

Oregon State University
Dept. Of Ag. Chemistry
Corvallis, OR 97331-7301


Cholinesterase Testing: Practicalities

Mike Gempler
Phil Hull

WA Growers League
406 W. Chestnut
Yakima, WA  98902




Genetically Modified
Plant Protectants

To Be Announced
and Alan Schreiber
Pesticide Coord.

Washington State University
Food & Environmental Quality Laboratory
Richland, WA 99352-1643




Food Quality
Protection Act

Alan Schreiber

More information may be obtained from Washington State University Pesticide Education at phone: 509-335-9222, fax: 509-335-1009.

Registration is $35 per person to cover lunch, beverages and speaker costs. Checks should be made payable to Washington State University and mailed to Washington State University, Pesticide Education, P.O. Box 646382, Pullman, WA 99164-6382. Enclosed with registration checks should be information including the name(s), company and address of the person(s) wishing to attend. Room reservations at Red Lion are available by calling 1-800-Red-Lion. Government employees must request rooms three weeks in advance, to receive the state rate.

Return to Table of Contents

IR-4 holds 20th food use workshop

Representatives from USDA, universities, IR-4, chemical companies and commodity groups met in Orlando, Fla. recently to prioritize minor use pest control needs for vegetables. Earlier teleconferences had been held to prioritize pest control needs for tree fruit, small fruit, tropical fruit, herbs and spices. A recurring problem for IR-4 is the selection of the most needy uses for the limited amount of resources available.

Workshop participants reviewed all researchable requests for assistance and placed them in one of four categories: A, B, C or D. If categorized as an A, IR-4 would do everything possible to begin the project in 1997. If categorized as a B, there would be about a 50% chance the project would make the cut for initiation in 1997. If placed in the C category, there would be little chance of the project being acted upon in 1997. A project categorized as a D would be placed on hold for 1997.

Considerable debate and discussion occurred during the course of the three one-day meetings; each day was devoted to discussion of plant pathology, weed science and entomology/vertebrate control. The primary criterion for a project receiving an A or B categorization was the degree of pest control needed for the crop in question. Other criteria used for giving a project an A rating included such factors as whether a Section 18 was involved, the availability of alternatives, the number of A or B projects for the crop, and the likelihood of severe damage from the pest.

The A list
(some 1997 IR-4 projects
of interest to the Northwest)

metolachlor (Dual) -- carrots
glyphosate (Roundup) -- garlic
aciflurofen (Blazer) -- lima beans
bentazon (Basagran) -- blueberry
clethodim (Prism) -- asparagus
diphenamid -- onion (dry bulb)
chlorfenapyr (Alert) -- onion (dry bulb)
bifenthrin (Brigade) -- lima beans
dimethoate -- peas (dry, green)
pirimicarb (Pirimor) -- hops
diflubenzuron (Dimilin) -- pear
tebucanazole (Elite) -- hops
tebucanozole (Elite) -- cherry
tebucanozole (Elite) -- peach

Those attending the sessions could not help but come away with some sense of awe regarding the U.S. food production system. The U.S. is said to have the most diverse food supply and food production system of any country in the history of the world. It is simply amazing what we grow, how much of it we grow and where we grow it.

Examples of the diverse food production system abound. Who would have thought Delaware is the second largest producer of lima beans? Have you heard of meadowfoam production in Oregon (it is an edible oilseed crop)? Have you tried upland cress from Tennessee? They grow purslane as a food crop in Wisconsin. There were two requests for assistance in developing an insecticide to control the purslane sawfly, which is the bane of purslane growers. (I asked if we could import the purslane sawfly from Wisconsin to Washington.) Speaking of eating weeds, dandelion is grown as a food crop in Florida and Texas, and both states want herbicides to control weeds in dandelion fields.

Requests for assistance came from almost every state ( I do not remember anything coming from Alaska). Despite the diversity of crops, pest control needs and opinions, there was one thing that all of the states and all of the crops had in common &emdash; they all needed help from IR-4 to address unmet critical pest control needs.

2,4-D reregistration studies

EPA has completed reviews of several 2,4-D residue and processing studies submitted by the IR-4 Project. IR-4 submitted studies for several minor crops in order to support continued use of 2,4-D on these crops.

The submitted data were adequate to fulfill the guideline requirements for those crops on which the studies were submitted. Following are some of the changes in 2,4-D use patterns recommended by EPA:

stone fruit - continued registration of amine salt and acid formulations; reduce tolerances from 0.2 ppm to 0.05 ppm.

apricots - since there are no registrations on apricots, revoke the current tolerance of 5 ppm.

asparagus - amend amine salt registrations to expand PHI to three days.

potatoes - amend registrations to specify a 45-day PHI.

apple and pears - amend registrations to specify a 14-day PHI.

filberts and pecans - will require additional data to establish a tree nut crop group tolerance.

sweet corn and cranberries - no change.

strawberry - amend use directions to prohibit applications in California and Florida.

Following are the numbers of 2,4-D products registered on some of the aforementioned crops: apple (8), blueberry (2), asparagus (1), cranberry (2), filbert (8), pear (7), pecan (8), potato (9), strawberry (3) and sweet corn (27).

Return to Table of Contents

Available Reports

Return to Table of Contents

WSCPR works to increase
pest control research efforts

The Washington State Commission on Pesticide Registration met twice this month in Ellensberg, Wash. The WSCPR met September 6 for a regular meeting and held a special meeting on September 17 to develop an effort to encourage private sector laboratory and field researchers to become involved in minor crop research.

The WSCPR also voted to fund a position at Washington State University to conduct minor use pest control research. This decision was based on commissioners' belief that there is a need to rebuild pest control research capacity within WSU. The individual filling the position will conduct field research projects and work with pesticide user groups to develop proposals. The position is scheduled to be filled by the end of the year.

Four positions on the commission end in September, and new nominations are sought from the following sectors: vegetable and seed, forest protection industry, professional pesticide applicators and agricultural chemical industry-manufacturer. For more information on nominations, contact Alan Schreiber at 509-372-7324.

Based on preliminary budget projections, the WSCPR expects to have close to $400,000 in funds available through June of 1997 to support research proposals. The WSCPR will release a formal request for proposals by the end of November, although the commission will accept proposals at any meeting. The next meeting of the WSCPR is scheduled for November 20 in Federal Way.

Twelve proposals on nine crops were funded by the commission at the September 6 meeting. The 12 proposals were as follows:

Cranberry. An insect efficacy trial was funded to screen candidate compounds for control of black vine weevil, blackheaded fireworm and cranberry girdler on cranberry. Emphasis is being placed on screening compounds that pose reduced risk to human health and the environment. The WSCPR grant was for $9,820, with a $15,500 match. The proposal was submitted by the Cranberry Institute and Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc, on behalf of Washington cranberry growers.

Honey Bee. An efficacy and bee injury screening trial was funded to examine the effect of botanical oils on tracheal mites in honey bees. The WSCPR grant was for $19,000, with a $18,520 match. This is a companion project to the following honey bee/varroa mite project.

Honey Bee. An efficacy and bee injury screening trial was funded to examine the effect of botanical oils on varroa mites on honey bees. The WSCPR grant was for $20,877, with a $20,820 match. Both honey bee projects were submitted on behalf of the Washington State Beekeepers Association.

Dry Pea. A GLP field and laboratory research project was funded to expand the number of dimethoate applications from one to three, increase the rate of application and decrease the pre-harvest interval. This effort will support a Section 18 request in 1997. The WSCPR grant was for $18,000, with a $11,124 match. The proposal was submitted on behalf of the U.S. Dry Pea & Lentil Council.

Green Pea. A GLP field and laboratory research project was funded to expand the number of dimethoate applications from one to three, increase the rate and decrease the pre-harvest interval. This is a companion project to the dimethoate/dry pea project. The WSCPR grant was for $18,000, with a match of $10,624.

Dry Pea, Chickpea and Lentils. A non-GLP study was funded to examine herbicide efficacy in conventional and no-tillage dry pea, chickpea and lentil farming systems. The WSCPR grant was for $26,959, with a $14,935 match. The proposal was submitted on behalf of the U.S. Dry Pea & Lentil Council.

Hops. A GLP field and laboratory research project was funded to obtain a Section 3 registration for tebuconazole (Elite) on hops for control of mildew. The WSCPR grant was for $15,000, with a $15,000 match.

Hops. A GLP field and laboratory research project was funded to obtain a Section 3 registration for pirimicarb (Pirimor) on hops for control of aphids. An additional mode of chemistry is sought for a hop aphid resistance management program. The WSCPR grant was for $10,000, with a matching grant of $10,000. Both proposals were submitted by the Washington Hop Commission.

Asparagus. A GLP field and laboratory research project was funded to obtain a registration for pirimicarb (Pirimor) on asparagus for control of asparagus aphid. The WSCPR grant was for $14,937, with a $14,937 match. The proposal was submitted by the Washington Asparagus Commission.

Canola. A GLP canola processing study was funded to obtain a Section 3 registration for benomyl (Benlate) on canola. Funding was currently available for the field and laboratory analysis, but support was needed for a processing study. The WSCPR grant was for $3,500, with approximately $75,000 already committed to the project by the IR-4 Project. The project was submitted by InterMountain Canola-Cargill.

Rhubarb. A second year's funding was provided to screen fungicides, alone and in mixtures, to control Ramularia leaf and stalk spot of rhubarb. The first year's work identified two potential candidates; the second year will look at additional compounds in more realistic field conditions. The WSCPR grant was for $7,500, with a $7,500 in-kind matching grant. The proposal was submitted on behalf of the Washington Rhubarb Growers Association.

Mint. A GLP laboratory analytical study was funded to obtain a Section 3 registration for sulfentrazone (Authority) on mint for control of weeds, particularly redroot pigweed. The WSCPR grant was for $16,000, with a match of $14,000. Additional match was provided by outside support for the field trials. The proposal was submitted by the Mint Industry Research Council.

The September 17 meeting resulted in the following outcomes: 1) the WSCPR will develop a list of private sector service providers capable of carrying out commission funded projects, 2) the WSCPR will keep these service providers apprised of commission activities, 3) selected projects will be circulated to providers for bid and 4) the WSCPR will work with private sector service providers and pesticide user groups to develop proposals to submit to the commission. (Back to WSCPR story)

Washington State Commission on Pesticide Registration

Next meeting: November 20
at the Weyerhaeuser Technical Center

Federal Way, WA

Agenda: rewriting of the Request for Proposals to make it more assessible to the private sector.

Passes are required for those wishing to attend the meeting. These must be obtained by November 1 from Catherine Daniels (509-372-7492 or cdaniels@beta.tricity.wsu.edu)

Return to Table of Contents

Those old nitrate blues

...Allan Felsot

While recently giving a presentation about agricultural chemicals in the news over the last year, I remarked that the issues have not changed over the last several decades. Newspaper headlines from 20 years ago could have been written today. In March 1996, our local paper, the Tri-City Herald proclaimed in bold letters "Nitrate levels excessive in some Tri-City wells". In February 1979, an article ran with the headline "Nitrate tests continue on wells at Burbank." Both stories concerned the same issue &emdash; findings of nitrate above the Safe Drinking Water health standard (also known as the maximum contaminant level, MCL).

So what's new? Actually nothing. What's old is that private wells occasionally have nitrate concentrations that exceed the MCL of 44.5 milligrams per liter of water (mg/L). This amount of nitrate (chemically symbolized as NO3) is usually expressed as a proportion of the nitrogen (N) content in the molecule, which makes the 44.5 mg/L equivalent to 10 mg of nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N) per liter of water (N makes up 22.6% of the weight of a molecule of NO3).

The U.S. Geological Survey reported in Open-File Report 95-445 that 19% of sampled wells in Washington's Central Columbia Plateau have NO3-N concentrations exceeding 10 mg/L. But the proportions of sampled wells exceeding the standard vary by land use. In the dryland agriculture of the Palouse subunit, only 6% of wells were above the water quality criteria, but 28% of wells in the heavily irrigated Quincy-Pasco subunit had excessive nitrate.

Why all the fuss about contamination that we've known about for a long time? Are people getting sick from nitrate? After all, isn't nitrate natural? While it is true that nitrate occurs naturally in all soil, water and plants and that our own bodies make nitrate, ground water levels have increased measurably along with an increased use of nitrogen-containing fertilizers since the mid-1950s. Whereas groundwater might naturally contain NO3-N concentrations below 3 mg/L, this level is often exceeded in intensively farmed regions. In 1945, H. H. Comley reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association that consumption of well water containing more than 10 mg NO3-N/L caused a cyanotic condition (bluish color) in infants. This condition, known as methemoglobinemia or blue baby syndrome, only strikes infants under six months of age.

Human dietary exposure to nitrate is unavoidable. Water normally accounts for only 3% of our daily exposure to nitrate. The vast majority of the U.S. average exposure comes from our food (97%), with certain crops like celery, spinach, lettuce, beets, radishes, turnip greens, rhubarb, and melon contributing particularly high amounts. Nitrate produced in the body makes up about 45% of the total nitrate humans are exposed to. But when the water supply is contaminated with NO3-N exceeding the natural background levels of less than 3 mg/L, as much as 69% of dietary exposure comes from water. Interestingly, the National Academy of Science has calculated that, in terms of the total weight of nitrate exposure, an average vegetarian diet contains more nitrate than does a diet including water rich in nitrate.

Although exposure to nitrate is not extraordinary, infants have a distinct disadvantage when compared to adults in how they process nitrate. Nitrate is converted to nitrite (NO2) by bacteria in saliva and in the gastrointestinal tract, and it is nitrite (NO2) rather than nitrate that actually causes methemoglobinemia. The stomach pH of adults is too low to support nitrate-converting bacteria; conventional wisdom holds that infants have a higher stomach pH and can support the growth of these bacteria. Thus, nitrite in infants is produced in the stomach and absorbed into the blood, whereas nitrate in older children and adults is largely absorbed from the stomach before it is transferred to the small intestine for conversion to nitrite. Nitrite is absorbed by red blood cells and binds with the oxygen carrying pigment called hemoglobin, changing it into methemoglobin. Children and adults have an enzyme that can transform the methemoglobin back to the normal hemoglobin, but infants have very little of this enzyme. Methemoglobin cannot hold on to the oxygen, decreasing the ability of the red blood cells to transport it around the body. Infants normally have a small amount of methemoglobin, but when levels rise too high, they essentially suffocate for lack of oxygen.

The cause of blue baby syndrome may be more complicated than just the enhanced ability of infants to synthesize and absorb nitrite from the stomach. According to a 1995 publication from the National Academy of Science's National Research Council (Nitrate and Nitrite in Drinking Water), the infant stomach may actually lack many of the bacteria that convert nitrate to nitrite. If generally true, other factors may play a role in causing methemoglobinemia. One hypothesis is that diarrhea, indicative of a microbiological borne infection, causes the body to synthesize nitrate that is then converted to nitrite. Methemoglobinemia has been observed in the absence of high nitrate concentrations in drinking water but has been associated with the presence of infantile diarrhea.

Regardless of whether methemoglobinemia is caused solely by excessive dietary nitrate or in combination with bacterial infections and diarrhea, a 1951 epidemiological study by G. Walton published in the American Journal of Public Health led to the development of the current health standard of 10 mg/L NO3-N. Walton reported that methemoglobinemia did not occur when drinking water contained 10 mg/L NO3-N or less. The EPA considers this concentration to be a no-observable-effect level (NOEL), and adopted it as the standard. In its 1995 review of the standard's validity, the National Research Council (NRC) stated, "Infection is the major contributor to methemoglobinemia from nitrate exposure; the incremental contribution of drinking water is negligible." Despite this finding, the NRC concluded that "in view of the uncertain quality of historical data and the absence of current data &emdash; the absence of which might be due in part to the lack of requirements for reporting cases of methemoglobinemia &emdash;" it was prudent to maintain EPA's current standard.

Given that the nitrate standard is unlikely to be relaxed, and wells in intensively irrigated regions have historically had levels of NO3-N elevated above 3 mg/L, what can we do to reconcile the need for crop nutrient inputs with protection of human health? Research at Washington State University (WSU) points the way toward agronomic management that will reduce available nitrate without sacrificing yield. Dr. William Pan in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences has shown that winter cover crops sown the fall before potato planting and plowed during the spring soak up excess nitrogen. The decaying cover crops also synchronized release of nitrogen with potato uptake needs, thus suggesting that fertilization rates could be reduced correspondingly. Further efforts by WSU researchers to improve agronomic efficiency should help chase away those water quality blues.

Allan Felsot is the environmental toxicologist at the Food and Environmental Quality Laboratory.

Return to Table of Contents

Food Quality Protection Act

...Alan Schreiber

In the weeks following passage of the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, information is beginning to emerge regarding the potential impact of the new legislation. Following are various bits of information that I have collected from a variety of sources. See Food Quality Protection Act -- EPA's interim guidance for EPA's interim assessment of the impact of the legislation.

The head of the Office of Pesticide Programs has stated that EPA will need 60 to 90 days to determine what will be required to comply with the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 (FQPA). EPA stopped working on tolerances (read registrations), Section 18s and many other bread and butter functions of the agency. There are 57 Section 18s pending, and several of them will not be issued until after the need for the exemption is over. Lynn Goldman, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances, has asked registrants to not submit any petitions for tolerances in the near future.

EPA wanted a so called "bright line" on what was and was not a minor crop. The new definition is that any crop produced on fewer than 300,000 acres is a minor crop. This means that all but 37 crops are considered minor. However, if other criteria can be met, other use patterns on the 37 crops can be considered minor use patterns.

The beginning of the end of pesticide reregistration was here, until passage of FQPA. Now that reregistration of pesticides has become institutionalized, it will never end. Every pesticide will have to go through the process every 15 years.

The FQPA creates a revolving fund within USDA that grower groups can access for assistance with pest control needs. (Sounds similar to the Washington State Commission on Pesticide Registration.) The biggest problem is that while this part of the legislation was passed, no money has been appropriated for it.

Several time-limited tolerances will expire during the next few months, resulting in immediate loss of several registrations.

EPA plans to release an interim guidance document around the end of September on how to prepare Section 18s. Until the new guidelines go into effect, the existing guidelines will be used.

It will be easier for EPA to remove products from the market that it believes pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment under revamped emergency suspension rules.

The greatest impact is expected to be on the older classes of compounds, particularly the organophosphates, organochlorines, carbamates and triazines. Some have speculated that many, if not most, compounds from these classes will largely be removed from food uses.

EPA will be holding informational meetings on the FQPA in Washington, D.C. on September 26, October 22, 23, November 14 and 15 and on December 4. The meetings are open to the public.

Return to Table of Contents

Food Quality Protection Act --
EPA's interim guidance

(Note: This document was released by EPA in mid-September 1996.)

For a limited period necessary to ensure compliance with the new law's provisions to protect against pesticide uses which may pose unacceptable risks to children, EPA will:

Decisions and work will continue on the following requests for new food uses that, on further evaluation, clearly meet the new statutory standard of reasonable certainty of no harm, especially as it applies to special populations such as children:

Decisions and work will also continue on:

During this period, EPA will:

In addition, EPA will continue to work on:

The agency has established as very high priority the development of these new policies quickly and with input from stakeholders. EPA will provide registrants and applicants early guidance on necessary changes to their pending and future tolerance petitions.

Finally, as key policy decisions are made and guidance is developed, the agency will publicly communicate them and resume processing of additional registration and reregistration actions. This will allow:

Return to Table of Contents

Officially Unofficial

...Alan Schreiber

"Officially Unofficial" is a regular feature that may include information considered inappropriate by some.

Return to Table of Contents

Plastic pesticide container
collection dates, requirements

Container requirements

1. Must be multiple rinsed, so that no residues remain.

2. Must be clean and dry inside and out, with no apparent odor.

3. Hard plastic lids and slip on lids must be removed.

4. Glue-on labels may remain.

5. The majority of the foil seal must be removed from the spout.
A small amount of foil remaining on the container rim is acceptable.

6. Half pint, pint, quart, one and two-and-a-half-gallon containers will
be accepted whole.

7. Five-gallon containers will be accepted whole if the lids and bails
are removed.

8. Special arrangements must be made for 30-gallon and 55-gallon
containers, by calling (509) 457-3850 prior to the collection.

Containers not meeting above specifications will not be accepted.

WPCA container collection dates





8-11 a.m.


Western Farm Service
John Massey


1-4 p.m.


Western Farm Service
John Massey




Western Farm Service
John Massey


9-2 p.m.

Snipes Mtn.

Yakima County
Mark Nedrow

509-574-2457 Cardboard accepted

Terrace Hts.
Yakima County
Mark Nedrow

509-574-2457 Cardboard accepted


Windflow Fert.,

Windflow Fertilizer
Mauri Worgum


For more information about plastic pesticide container collection, contact: Steve George
WPCA Recycling Coordinator
31 High Valley View St.
Yakima, WA 98901
(509) 457-3850
or the WAPP web site at http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~ramsay/wpca.html

Return to Table of Contents

Federal Issues


The following tolerances were granted by EPA since the last report (August 1996). These data do not mean that a label has been registered for this use. These pesticides must not be used until a label is registered with EPA or a state department of agriculture.

A=adjuvant D=desiccant D/H=desiccant, herbicide F=fungicide
FA=feed additive FM=fumigant G=growth regulator H=herbicide
I=insecticide N=nematicide P=pheromone V=vertebrate repellent

(IN) 1,1-Difluoroethane (I) Fenpropathrin
Chemical* Petitioner Tolerance (ppm) Commodity
(H) Norflurazon Sandoz 3 alfalfa, forage
5 alfalfa, hay
0.1 alfalfa, seed
0.25 liver: cattle, goats, hogs, horses, sheep
0.1 mybp (except liver): cattle, goats, hogs, horses, sheep
Dupont exempt when used as an inert ingredient in aerosol pesticide formulations used for insect control in food & feed handling establishments and animals
(I) Cyfluthrin Bayer 300a aspirated grain fractions
5a fat: cattle, goats, hogs, horses, sheep
15a milkfat (reflecting 0.5 ppm in whole milk)
5a sorghum, fodder
2a sorghum, forage
4a sorghum, grain
Valent 1 cattle, fat
0.1 cattle, meat and mbyp
0.05 eggs
1 fat: goats, hogs, horses
0.1 meat and mbyp: goats, hogs, horses
2 milkfat (reflecting 0.08 in whole milk)
20 peanut, hay
0.01 peanut, nutmeat
0.05 poultry, fat, meat, mbyp
(I) Cypermethrin FMC 2 brassica head and stem
14 leafy brassica
a Time limited tolerance expires Nov. 15, 1997

Reregistration Notifications

acephate (Orthene), imazalil (Fungaflor), iprodione (Rovral), triadimefon (Bayleton) -- The USEPA is revoking six food additive tolerances for acephate, imazalil, iprodione and triadimefon. The agency is revoking three raw food tolerances for triadimefon. The six food additive tolerances are for acephate in food handling establishments, imazalil in citrus oil, iprodione in dried ginseng and raisins, and triadimefon in barley and wheat milled fractions. Four of these food additive tolerances are being revoked because they violate the Delaney clause and the other two (imazalil in citrus oil and triadimefon in barley milled fractions) because they are not needed to prevent adulterated food. The three raw food tolerances are for triadimefon on barley grain, forage and straw. The use of triadimefon on barley was canceled in 1993 and the sale of existing stocks was allowed until May 1995; therefore, the USEPA feels the tolerances on barley are no longer needed. In consideration of the Food Quality Protection Act, enacted 8/3/96, these actions are being reconsidered and the date for filing comments is being extended to 9/27/96. Comments should be identified with the docket number OPP-300360B and sent to the Hearing Clerk at EPA. The effective date for this rule is 10/28/96.

For information, contact:                         Send comments to:
Ms. Jean M. Frane                                  Hearing Clerk (1900)
EPA, Policy & Special Projects             EPA, Room M3708                     
Phone: 703-305-5944                             401 M Street, SW
Fax: 703-305-6244                                 Washington, DC  20460
frane.jean@epamail.epa.gov                   opp-docket@epamail.epa.gov

maneb -- The USEPA has announced that, pursuant to a 2/1/96 Settlement Agreement, the fungicide, maneb, can now be used on collards, mustard greens and turnips, but only in the states of Georgia and Tennessee. This is the result of a Notice of Intent to Cancel the use of EBDCs on these crops and others published in the Federal Register (57 FR 7484) on 3/2/92 and reported by the Reregistration Notification Network on 2/24/92. Interested parties filed a hearing request to that notice, entered negotiations with EPA, proposed reduced rates, and developed new scientific data. The 2/1/96 Settlement Agreement is the result of those negotiations.

For additional information, contact:
Ms. Amy Porter                        -or -          Mr. Christopher Davis
EPA, Special Review Branch                    Elf Atochem North America
Phone: 703-308-8054                                215-419-7147
Fax: 703-308-8041                                    215-419-7243

trichlorfon (Dylox) -- Bayer plans to delete livestock uses from their labels of trichlorfon and those of their formulators, due to the cost of reregistration. The company will maintain the uses of this insecticide on farm premises, ornamentals, and nonagricultural sites. Bayer will also be maintaining the tolerances for meat and associated products, to allow the import of meat products treated with trichlorfon outside the U.S.

For additional information, contact:
Mr. Terry McNamara
Bayer Corporation
Phone 913-268-2588
Fax 913-268-2541

The source for this information, the Reregistration Notification Network, is a cooperative effort of USDA-NAPIAP, Interregional Project No. 4 (IR-4), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), and the American Crop Protection Association (ACPA).

For additional information on any reregistration notification, contact the individual(s) listed or contact:

Alan Schreiber
WSU Pesticide Coordinator
100 Sprout Road
Richland, WA 99352-1643
Phone: 509-372-7324
Fax: 509-372-7460


In the August issue of the Agrichemical and Environmental News, we stated that Zeneca received a 24(c) registration for Diquat on potatoes for control of late blight. It should have stated that the 24(c) registration was for desiccation of potatoes.

Return to Table of Contents

Contributors to the Agrichemical and Environmental News:

Alan Schreiber, Allan Felsot, Catherine Daniels, Mark Antone, Carol Weisskopf, Eric Bechtel

If you would like to include a piece in a future issue of the Agrichemical and Environmental News, please contact Alan Schreiber. To subscribe to the newsletter, please contact Eric Bechtel.

Contributions, comments and subscription inquiries may be directed to: Food and Environmental Quality Laboratory, Washington State University, 100 Sprout Road, Richland, WA 99352-1643, ph: 509-372-7378, fax: 509-372-7460, E-mail: ebechtel@beta.tricity.wsu.edu.

Return to Table of Contents

This page has been accessed times since September 24, 1996.