EPA Pyrethroid Review Vital for Many Reasons
By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director
David Haviland is a UC Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor based in Kern County, and he’s focused on etymology. He spoke to California Ag Today about the current review by the EPA on the pyrethroid class of crop protection materials. He noted that the EPA is concerned about the material making its way to waterways.
“It’s a legitimate concern in that pyrethroids can bind to sediment, and if that sediment was just hypothetically say, worst case scenario, what if you sprayed a product into a orchard or a field right next to a river on the day before it rained?” Haviland asked.
“We don’t do that, but hypothetically if you did that and that sediment washed from that orchard out into a stream, yes, those pyrethroids can affect aquatic invertebrates and of course little tiny organisms. These little invertebrates are the basis for food chains in the stream systems,” Haviland said.
“Just like if you’ve got a household cleaner, it says, ‘Store out of reach of children.’ So yeah, there’s a risk of that product, and you mitigate or solve that risk by only using it where it’s appropriate, storing it where somebody can’t get it,” Haviland said. “The same is true with pyrethroids. If you read the label, there’s very specific use instructions on where you can and can’t use the product as well as other details about waterways and buffer zones and things like that,” he said.
All that is taken into account to make sure that any risk that may occur doesn’t turn into an actual real problem. “That’s part of the review, for the EPA to look over that label,” Haviland said.
The EPA review is to make sure that any mitigations on the label and use patterns adequately take into account any risks that may be real. “I expect it will be done scientifically and prudently and based on that, I hope pyrethroids are in the tool box for a long time,” Haviland said.