PRE-HARVEST INTERVAL HEARING SET FOR FUNGICIDES

Published online: Jul 16, 2007 EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs
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EPA has issued a hearing notice regarding ethylene bisdithiocarbamate (EBDC) pesticides mancozeb, maneb, and metiram - a group of fungicides used to control a broad spectrum of fungal diseases such as blight, rot, mold, or scab, in fruit, vegetable, field, and ornamental crops.  The EBDC registrants, represented by the EBDC/Ethylenethiourea (ETU) Task Force, have requested that EPA modify the regulatory decision requiring a 14-day pre-harvest interval (PHI) for the EBDCs on potatoes.  The Task Force has requested that the potato PHI be shortened from 14 days to 3 days, due to the recent spread of late blight throughout the United States. A notice of hearing is required under 40 C.F.R. part 164 subpart D when a registrant requests to modify an existing pesticide registration cancellation order.

In 1992, EPA notified registrants of EBDC fungicides that the Agency intended to cancel registrations for use on certain crops.  The Notice of Intent to Cancel stated that EPA would cancel the use of EBDCs on potatoes unless the registrants modified their pesticide product labels to reduce dietary risk.  The registrants had agreed to amend labels to extend the PHI to 14 days in most states.  For states with a higher incidence of late blight, a 3-day PHI was allowed.

In 1996 and again in 2003, the EBDC/ETU Task Force submitted a petition to EPA requesting the reduction of the potato PHI from 14 days to 3 days nationwide to address the spread of late blight disease.  Late blight is a fungal disease capable of destroying an entire potato crop in the field and in storage.  The Task Force petition includes a New Evidence Submission which provides evidence of the spread of late blight to all potato-producing states.  The Agency decided to consider the request after completing the Reregistration Eligibility Decision for the EBDCs and determining that the request to modify the existing cancellation order merits a hearing.  Reduction of the PHI to 3 days nationwide is not expected to increase the residues of EBDCs on potatoes, and the Agency has determined that the subsequent residue and exposure levels would still meet the existing tolerance and safety standard requirements under the Food Quality Protection Act.  The formal adjudicatory hearing
 will provide interested parties an opportunity to voice their concerns prior to modification of the existing order.

Further details about the hearing, including instructions on how to participate, are described in the Federal Register Notice published on July 11, www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-PEST/2007/July/Day-11/p13471.htm, and in the public docket under identification number EPA-HQ-OPP-2007-0181 www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main

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