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Federal and state pesticide issues update

by Angela Hartmann | Jul 22, 2019

On July 19, the EPA announced its denial of objections to its March 29, 2017, order denying a 2007 activist petition to revoke all tolerances and cancel all registrations for chlorpyrifos. In its announcement, the agency said it would expedite the Registration Review of chlorpyrifos. EPA reviews each registered pesticide at least every 15 years to determine whether it continues to meet the FIFRA standard for registration. 

Chlorpyrifos has been used as a pesticide since 1965 in agricultural and non-agricultural areas. The largest agricultural market for chlorpyrifos in terms of total pounds of active ingredient is corn. Non-agricultural uses include golf courses, turf, green houses and on non-structural wood treatments such as utility poles and fence posts.  It is also registered for use as a mosquito adulticide, and for use in roach and ant bait stations in child resistant packaging.

Corteva issued the following statement:

"We support the Environmental Protection Agency determination regarding chlorpyrifos as well as the Agency's decision to expedite the Registration Review process that is currently underway. Completion of Registration Review will provide needed certainty to growers who rely on chlorpyrifos and needed reassurance for the public that labelled uses will not pose unacceptable risk to public health or the environment. It is common for the federally-mandated Registration Review process to result in impactful label changes, which could include elimination of select product uses. We are committed to working with the Agency as it seeks to make an accurate assessment and, if necessary, reduce potential exposures, while also ensuring that growers for whom chlorpyrifos is a critical tool can continue to use the product safely."

More information about the EPA's decision is available in the pre-publication copy of its decision. The official version will appear in the Federal Register soon.

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In Maryland, the state Court of Appeals upheld Montgomery County's 2015 Healthy Lawns Act, which prohibits most pesticide use on public and private property for cosmetic purposes. The court said local governments have the right to restrict the use of lawn care pesticides more stringently than the state.

Maryland's Court of Appeals denied a petition from RISE (Responsible Industry For a Sound Environment) seeking judicial review of the Court of Special Appeals May 2 decision that upheld Montgomery County's ban on most pesticide use on private lawns and landscapes. After a nearly six-year effort with a coalition of dedicated county- and state-based partners, all legal options have been exhausted to challenge Montgomery County's expansive pesticide ban on state preemption grounds.