Pesticide Air Monitoring Shows Low Numbers

2018 Air Monitoring Shows Most Pesticides Below Health Screening Levels

News Release

 The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released air monitoring results indicating that most of the pesticides monitored in the DPR air monitoring network in 2018 were found below levels that indicate a health concern.

However, data from a separate two-year study of the pesticide 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D), a known carcinogen, shows air concentrations in Parlier (Fresno County) will require further action.  1,3-D is used to fight pests that attack a wide range of crops, including almonds, grapes, strawberries, and sweet potatoes.

“Air quality is fundamental for all Californians, and the latest data from DPR’ s air monitoring network shows levels of agricultural pesticides in most communities that are well within our public health standards,” said Val Dolcini, DPR acting director. “In many cases, the amount of pesticide in the air was negligible, but our scientists will continue to use this data to help DPR develop plans to reduce the presence of 1,3-D in the future.”

In 2018, DPR, with assistance from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Santa Barbara County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office, monitored air concentrations of 31 pesticides and 5 pesticide breakdown products in eight agricultural communities. The monitoring stations are in Shafter (Kern County), Santa Maria, Cuyama (Santa Barbara County), Watsonville (Santa Cruz County) and Chualar (Monterey County), Lindsay (Tulare County), Oxnard (Ventura County) and San Joaquin (Fresno County).

The air-monitoring network, which began in 2011, was established to help expand DPR’s knowledge of the potential long-term exposure and health risks from pesticides in the air. California is the only state that monitors air as part of its continuous evaluation of pesticides to ensure the protection of workers, public health, and the environment.

The 2018 air monitoring report shows that of the 36 pesticides and breakdown products measured at the monitoring sites, most did not exceed screening levels or regulatory targets.

Other highlights include:
  • 8 pesticides were not detected at all and
  • 17 pesticides were only detected at trace level.

In January 2018, however, the air monitoring results showed that the pesticide 1, 3-D had a 13-week average concentration in Shafter of 5.6 parts per billion (ppb), which is significantly above the short-term (13-week) screening level of 3.0 ppb. A screening level is a level set by DPR to determine if a more detailed evaluation is warranted to assess a potential health risk.

DPR, along with the Kern County ag commissioner, investigated this detection and determined that it largely arose from a single application of 1,3-D made during this 13-week period. While this reading was not high enough to indicate an immediate health threat, DPR is consulting with other state agencies on next steps to reduce the exposures to 1,3-dichloropropene.

 

List of communities in the Air Monitoring Network

communities in air monitoring 2018 table.JPG

 

In addition to the 2018 annual air monitoring results mentioned above, DPR conducted a two-year air monitoring study of 1,3-D in Parlier (Fresno County) and Delhi (Merced County) from 2016 to 2018. The measured air concentrations in Parlier also exceed DPR’s screening levels and indicate that more mitigation is needed to reduce the exposures of this pesticide.

 These findings will be discussed at the next Pesticide Registration and Evaluation Committee (PREC) on July 19. The meeting will be live webcast.

Read the full 2018 air monitoring report here 

California Shows Decreased Use of Most-Hazardous Pesticides

There Was a Big Decline of Hazardous Material Used in 2017

News Release

The amount of pesticides used statewide declined in 2017 according to new data from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.  This includes a drop in many of the most hazardous chemicals, including pesticides that are carcinogens, and those with the potential to contaminate groundwater and air.

According to the 2017 Pesticide Use Report, the overall amount of pesticides used in California dropped to about 205 million pounds in 2017. That was a decrease of 2 percent from the previous year.  Agriculture use, which accounts for the greatest pesticide use in California, dropped by 3.7 million pounds (1.9 percent) from 2016. Pesticide use in other applications, including landscaping and structural pest control, also decreased in 2017. 

“This report demonstrates that California’s farmers continue to lead the way when it comes to using more sustainable pest management tools and techniques,”said Val Dolcini, Acting Director of DPR. “DPR looks forward to continuing its collaboration with growers, community groups, and other interested citizens to ensure that these pesticides are used in the safest manner possible. “

California produces nearly half of American grown fruits and vegetables, and the amount of pesticides used varies annually depending upon pest problems, weather and other factors.

You can see a short video at https://youtu.be/QKgExqdRpNM

Other highlights of the 2017 Pesticide Use Report data include:

  • The use of carcinogenic pesticides decreased by 5.6 percent to 41.7 million pounds, compared to 44.2 million pounds in 2016.
  • The use of fumigant pesticides decreased by 5.8 percent to 39.5 million pounds, compared to 41.9 million pounds the previous year.
  • The use of pesticides that are toxic air contaminants decreased by 6.4 percent to 43 million pounds, compared to 45.9 million pounds in 2016.
  • The use of pesticides with the potential to contaminate ground water decreased by 25.3 percent to 0.4 million pounds compared to 0.5 million pounds in 2016.
  • The use of pesticides identified as cholinesterase inhibitors, which can affect the nervous system, decreased by 2.6 percent to 4.2 million pounds compared to 4.3 million pounds in 2016. The pesticide chlorpyrifos is included in this category. In 2017, the use of chlorpyrifos increased by 5 percent to 946,000 pounds, compared to 903,000 pounds in 2016. However, overall use of chlorpyrifos has been decreasing for the last decade, and last month, DPR announced plans to  cancel the registration of this pesticide.
  • The use of biopesticides, which have been identified as likely to be low risk to human health and the environment, increased to approximately 8.1 million pounds. This is a 5.5 percent increase from 7.7 million pounds used in 2016.

The pesticide-use data, which has become more comprehensive in the decades since such information started being collected in the 1950s, helps support DPR in its regulatory and enforcement mission.  It can be viewed online: http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/pur/purmain.htm.

George Soares on How DPR Sees Cannabis

Soares: DPR Interpretation of Cannabis is Wrong

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

George Soares, a partner in Kahn, Soares, and Conway, a law firm based in Sacramento, recently spoke about the issues surrounding cannabis. He is managing partner of the firm and represents several agricultural commodity and trade groups in Sacramento.

He spoke at the recent California Associations of Pest Control Advisors (CAPCA) annual meeting in Anaheim. He touched on the fact that the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is not thinking of the public in their handling of crop protection materials on cannabis.

“The people of California have decided that cannabis can be consumed by the public,” Soares said. “The question is how to grow the cannabis under the regulation.

Currently, the chemicals and fertilizers used to grow the cannabis are all illegal.

“So far, the solution is that we make it legal by stretching the interpretation of the law,” he explained.

By law, pesticides have to be labeled for use, and eligible crops must be on the label.

“The pesticides being used are being interpreted in ways to make it legal to use on cannabis,” Soares said. “Think about the damage that is doing to the legal structure of what we all adhere to.”

“DPR would never let a pesticide be used off-label, but when it comes to cannabis, it looks like the government is willing to let it slide,” he said.

MRLs and Crop Protection Materials are Improving but Complicated

MRLs and Crop Protection Materials are Improving but Complicated!

By Laurie Greene, Editor and Patrick Cavanaugh, Associate Editor

Rachel Kubiak, Environmental & Regulatory Affairs director with the Western Plant Health Association, based in Sacramento, commented that crop protection materials are improving. They target specific pests and they are set to maximum residue levels (MRL’s) when sold domestically or internationally. Yet, they are quite complicated.

“The materials are getting better,” Kubiak said, “but I would say that there is a large component that I don’t believe the activist community understands,” noted Kubiak.

Richard Cornett, director of communications for WPHA, blogged, “What most people are unaware of is that there is a highly integrated and multi-layered process of safety procedures to assure that pesticides are accessed for their safe use around humans and in the environment.”

U.S. EPA (a) scientifically reviews all pesticides for safety before registration, (b) involves EPA scientists at the Office of Pesticide Programs, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, as well as other departments, (c) guarantees that any pesticide used in the U.S. has been accessed and is safe and (d) applies tolerances only to produce grown in or imported into the United States.

In California, the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) enforces EPA tolerances by sampling produce for pesticide residues from throughout the channels of trade, both domestic and imported, including wholesale and retail outlets, distribution centers, and farmers markets.

“There are complications in making those products available to our growers,” Kubiak said, “because so much of what we produce in California is exported to other countries, and this MRL issue complicates things.”

Foreign countries follow an international standard called CODEX Alimentarus which contains a list of pesticide MRLs. EPA tolerances and International Codex MRLs are not harmonized; residue on an imported commodity can trigger a no-tolerance-established assessment and removal by California DPR while being a legal residue in other countries.

“I think this is a large area in which we could do better. Educating those who don’t live in our world on the difficulties in bringing new products to market isn’t as simplistic as they like to make it seem,” said Kubiak.