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Yes, EPA Pesticide Loophole is a Mess: GAO Report Confirms NRDC Findings on Conditional Registrations

Mae Wu

Posted September 9, 2013

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The alarm keeps sounding. Today, six months after we released our report on EPA’s misuse of the conditional registration process to get pesticides to market, the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, confirmed what we found: EPA needs to improve its oversight of conditionally registered pesticides.

In our report, we presented case studies of two pesticides – clothianidin and nanosilver – highlighting how the pesticide program has let pesticides to market improperly. The GAO report identified two more pesticides – foramsulfuron and acetamiprid – that were conditionally registered with poor follow-through by the agency. In the case of foramsulfuron, the pesticide company was given two years to submit studies on the effects on plants, but ten years later, nothing had been submitted. The other pesticide - acetamiprid is part of the neonicitinoid pesticide family, which has recently been implicated in bee kills. While the pesticide company did submit the data on honeybees as requested, ten years later, EPA still had not reviewed that data.

Unfortunately, the GAO report falls short on calling EPA out on these failures. Instead, it focuses on improving EPA’s database on conditional registrations, guidance to train its employees on how to enter data into that database, and improving EPA’s communications to the public about conditional registrations. While these changes will help with some of EPA’s problems, much more is needed.

First, EPA should cancel all conditionally registered pesticides that are missing toxicity data like clothianidin and nanosilver. Pesticides should be kept off the market until the data show that they can be used without causing any adverse impacts to the environment or to human health.

Second, going forward, EPA should limit how it uses the conditional registration process and only conditionally register pesticides when there is a pressing public health crisis requiring that pesticide. In the case of nanosilver, a dangerous chemical missing toxicity data is being allowed to flood the market to keep clothes, shoes, and other textiles from smelling bad. We do not deserve to be treated like guinea pigs for such a purported public health benefit.

The GAO offers some good first steps, but EPA still needs to do more.

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Sand TrendSep 10 2013 04:28 AM

Henry Waxman was contacted in July of 2009 concerning:

1. Serious questions should be raised as to the EPA expedited timetable in relation to the registration, re-registration and conditional registrations in the biotechnology arena specifically, pesticides, insecticides, fungicides, mycocides and fertilizers.

2. Question of whether biological products may be contributor to  contamination of food as well as bee death. (referenced  U. S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pesticide Programs; Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division Form 8570-6 concerning the 'conditional registration' of a biological control product in which honey bees (but not limited to) were killed by two batches which were sent to the EPA by the 'company'.
Stated: Honey bee Dietary toxicity/ pathogenicity: "All test concentrations showed treatment related mortality. MRID 4456519-17 is supplemental due to the short test duration and the lack of determination as to whether mortality was due to toxicity only or whether pathogenicity contributed."

Still, the EPA gave the 'company' 1 - 2 years to correct "this" problem. SEE page 3 of 4 page form sent to the 'company' by the EPA:
(you may need to decrease your screen size)

President Obama was contacted in an open letter; dated January, 11, 2010 per the White House contacting the USDA's proposed rule to revise its GE organisms - biotechnology regulations (Docket No. APHIS-2008-0023)
*Please note the address on the letter is no longer valid as I have since moved.

Sandi TrendSep 10 2013 04:32 AM

Additionally, I believe you may be interested in the following (if not, you should be advised):

Professor Anne K. Vidaver 2006 presentation, "Cross-Infective Microbes from Plants to Humans" during 3 day workshop held in Washington, D.C. before CDC, NIH, several divisions of United States Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency to name a few. She tries to educate the participants as to the human health effects of bacterial/fungal diseases of plants crossing over to humans causing desease/s. She additionally talks about some of them being used in bio-control products. [IGNORED by all]


This shows the connections to plant, soil and insect pathogens being used as the "active ingredient" in biological control products and the human health relationship; TITLE:


This is Professor Vidaver's chapter in Biological Safety ; Principles and Practices

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