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EPA glyphosate update

by Angela Hartmann | Jun 03, 2019

GCSAA regularly participates in meetings of the EPA Pesticide Policy Dialogue Committee, which meets biannually in Washington, D.C. The PPDC, a broadly representative federal advisory committee, meets with EPA to discuss pesticide regulatory, policy, and program implementation issues. The last PPDC meeting was held on May 8-9, 2019, and here is the latest update from EPA regarding glyphosate.

Background

  • Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum non-selective herbicide registered for use on many agricultural crops, in non-crop areas, in residential areas, for aquatic weed control, and in commercial settings. It is also registered for use on glyphosate-resistant crop varieties including corn, soybean, canola, cotton, sugar beets and wheat.
  • EPA initiated registration review for the widely used herbicide glyphosate (RoundUp) in 2009.
  • In 2015, an International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) report classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans". All other international fora, including all regulatory bodies, have concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to be carcinogenic.
  • As part of registration review, EPA released draft human health and ecological risk assessments for glyphosate in December 2017. EPA’s assessment concluded that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic
  • In March 2018, EPA opened a 60-day public comment period on draft human health and ecological risk assessments with supporting documents for glyphosate.
  • EPA received 250,000 public comments on the draft assessment. The majority of comments are from mass mailing campaigns; approximately 200 are distinct substantive comments being reviewed.
  • EPA announced the proposed interim registration review decision in late April 2019. The proposed interim registration review decision outlines proposed mitigation measures to reduce potential ecological risks.
  • Under a settlement agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity, EPA is scheduled to complete a biological evaluation on glyphosate by 2020 and, if necessary, initiate an Endangered Species Act consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service by 2020.

Overview of Health Findings

  • The assessment found no meaningful risks to human health when the product is used according to the pesticide label.
  • The agency’s scientific findings are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by a number of other countries as well as the 2017 National Institutes of Health Agricultural Health Survey.

Overview of Proposed Interim Decision

In its 2019 proposed interim decision for glyphosate, EPA is proposing the following mitigation and label changes:

  • Spray drift management measures (e.g., release height, droplet size and wind speed restrictions) to reduce off-site exposure to non-target wildlife.
  • Weed resistance management labeling (e.g., information on mode of action, scouting instructions, and reporting instructions for weed resistance).
  • Label consistency measures including updating the presentation of maximum application parameters, updating the environmental hazards statement for aquatic use, and clarification on rotational crop timing.
  • EPA is committed to protecting pollinators, including the monarch butterfly, from pesticide exposure. As with all other herbicides, EPA has updated the label language for these pesticides to raise awareness of their potential effects to pollinator habitat and direct users to instructions on minimizing spray drift. EPA’s strategy to protect the monarch butterfly also includes collaborating with federal, state, and other stakeholders on conservation efforts and promoting best management and integrated pest management practices to reduce spray drift and help preserve pollinator habitat.