New Pesticide Law Introduced in US Senate

Earlier this month, Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) introduced the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2020 (PACTPA) to the Senate. The purpose of PACTPA is to fix loopholes within the current pesticide-related legislation, and ban “some of the most damaging pesticides scientifically known to cause significant harm to people and the environment.”

According to the official PACTPA press packet, “Approximately one-third of annual U.S. pesticide use — over 300 million pounds from 85 different pesticides — comes from pesticides that are banned in the European Union. The pesticide regulation statute, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act of 1972 (FIFRA), contains many loopholes that put the interests of the pesticide industry above the health and safety of people and our environment.”

This is the main issue that PACTPA addresses: the fact that the EPA approves many pesticides deemed unsafe in other countries, and that these pesticides are still used years after it’s determined they’re unsafe. In order to correct these issues, and protect pesticide applicators and US residents alike, PACTPA proposes the outright ban of the following pesticides:

  1. Organophosphate insecticides: which are designed to target the neurological system and have been linked to neurodevelopmental damage in children.
  2. Neonicotinoid insecticides: which have contributed to pollinator collapse around the world (the European Union and Canada have significantly restricted or banned their use to protect pollinators and other wildlife) and have recently been shown to cause developmental defects, heart deformations, and muscle tremors in unborn children.
  3. Paraquat: which is one of the most acutely toxic herbicides in the world —according to the EPA, just “one sip can kill.” Science has shown that chronic exposure to paraquat increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 200% to 600%. It is already banned in 32 countries, including the European Union.

The bill also “provides protections for frontline communities that bear the burden of pesticide exposure by:”

  1. Requiring employers of farmworkers to report all pesticide-caused injuries to the EPA, with strong penalties for failure to report injuries or retaliating against workers.
  2. Directing the EPA to review pesticide injury reports and work with the pesticide manufacturers to develop better labeling to prevent future injury.
  3. Requiring that all pesticide label instructions be written in Spanish and in any language spoken by more than 500 pesticide applicators.
  4. Closing dangerous loopholes that have allowed the EPA to issue emergency exemptions and conditional registrations to use pesticides before they have gone through full health and safety review by the agency
  5. Enabling local communities to enact protective legislation and other policies without being vetoed or preempted by state law;
  6. Suspending the use of pesticides deemed unsafe by the E.U. or Canada until they are thoroughly reviewed by the EPA.
  7. Creating a petition process to enable individual citizens to petition the EPA to identify dangerous pesticides so that the EPA would no longer be able to indefinitely allow dangerous pesticides to remain on the market.

As of August 24, the bill is still waiting for a vote.


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EPA Approves New Natural Ingredient for Insect Repellent

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved a new active ingredient for use in insecticides and insect repellents. Nootkatone, discovered and developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helps repel and kill ticks, mosquitoes, and a wide variety of other biting pests. The CDC’s licensed partner, Evolva, is working with pest control companies for possible commercial partnerships, which could be available as early as 2022.

Unlike some insecticide active ingredients, nootkatone is all natural and smells good enough to eat - because it is! It’s currently a food additive and classified as “generally considered safe” by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “If you drink Fresca or Squirt, you’ve drunk nootkatone,” said Ben Beard, Ph.D., deputy director of the division of vector-borne diseases at the CDC. While nootkatone itself is food safe, eating any nootkatone-based pest control product is (obviously) not recommended. Food-grade nootkatone products will be very different from pest control ones.

Joel R. Coats, a specialist in insect toxicology at Iowa State University, said his lab found nootkatone to be “an impressive repellent but a weak insecticide.” It repels ticks better than synthetics like DEET, picaridin, or IR3535. And it is their equal at repelling mosquitoes.

Unlike citronella, peppermint oil, lemongrass oil and other repellents based on plant oils, nootkatone does not lose its potency after about an hour, but lasts as long as the synthetics.

According to The New York Times, proposed uses for nootkatone-based repellents include soaps for people in tick-infested areas and insecticide-fused mosquito nets.

What do you think of trying to implement more natural pest control ingredients? Let us know on social media!

 


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CTI Acquires New Jersey Business Registration Certificate

We are proud to announce the acquisition of a New Jersey Business Registration Certificate for pesticide training. Any public entities with employees that need training prior to the October 31st renewal deadline can now use Certified Training Institute’s online learning system.

Keep employees safe and socially distanced by using remote learning! All of our HD video training courses are available online from any device with an internet connection, turning any space into a classroom!

Using a Certified Training Institute Business Account gives you access to the following resources:

  • State-approved continuing education
  • Licensing assistance and exam prep
  • Safety Compliance

See how to simplify your company training with a
Certified Training Institute Business Account

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Learn the Difference Between the Asian Giant Hornets and this Texas Native Species

This month, many Texas residents mistakenly believed they encountered the Asian giant “murder” hornet. In order to stave off any future bee-related backyard BBQ freakouts, researchers at Texas A&M ArgiLife have released important details regarding these recent “murder hornet” sightings.

David Ragsdale, Ph.D., chief scientific officer and associate director of Texas A&M AgriLife research said his department has received up to 10 photos of various wasps per day from people who think they’re seeing the Asian giant hornet. But what they’re actually looking at is the Texas native cicada killer wasp, or ground hornet. Many pest management agents and specialists around the state have also received “murder hornet” related inquiries.

“Most everyone has seen the cicada killer wasp, that is very large, but has mostly been ignored in the past,” Ragsdale said. “With the most recent news of the Asian giant hornet, they are now paying attention to the native Texas insect.”

Asian giant hornet and cicada killer wasp

How to Tell the Difference

Since the cicada killer wasp and their other native Texan lookalikes are currently going through a case of mistaken identity, below are key differences between them and the Asian giant hornet.

Note: Holly Davis, Ph.D., a Texas A&M AgriLife extension service entomologist in Weslaco said it’s important to know that there have been no confirmed reports of Asian giant hornets in any other U.S. location other than the northwestern corner of Washington state.

Asian Giant Hornet

  • Is 1.5 - 2 inches long
  • Its head is as wide or wider than its shoulders
  • It’s body is a combination of bright orange/yellow and dark brown
  • It has a pinched waist with brown and orange stripes that cover the abdomen

Cicada Killer Wasps

  • All three species are between 1 - 1.5 inches long
  • Their heads are narrower than their thorax
  • Their heads and thorax are typically the same dark orange or brown color
  • They also have a pinched waist, but their abdomen stripes are jagged

Asian giant hornet and Texas native species comparison

Davis says Asian giant hornets are very protective of their nests and will sting people who they view as a threat - but cicada killer wasps are mostly solitary and usually don’t attack in great numbers. Although you likely won’t deal with any Asian giant hornets in upcoming service calls, just helping your customers understand the difference between these species can save their sanity.


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Florida Continuing Education Deadline Update

Last week, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nicole Fried signed order 2020-022. Under this order, all continuing education late fees are waived through August 22, 2020 (instead of July 2nd).

This new order was championed by the Florida Pest Management Association in an effort to further assist Florida’s pest control professionals affected by COVID-19.

If you are still unsure about anything, here are some answers to frequently asked questions:

When must I renew my license?

Florida applicators must renew their licenses every 4 years by the end of the original issue month.

Florida State Licensing Contact Information

Phone: (850) 617-7870
Fax: (850) 617-7895
Web: Florida Department of Agriculture

Who submits my Florida Pesticide Applicator continuing education to the state?

Applicators are responsible for submitting their continuing education credits to the Florida Department of Agriculture. Upon course completion, applicators will be provided with a certificate of completion as well as the required Record of Attendance form.

How do I upload my CEU records to the state?

  1. Download or scan "Record of Attendance"
  2. Visit the website: aesecomm.freshfromflorida.com
  3. Select applicable license type
  4. Click on "Upload Documents" (Not a renewal app)
  5. Type detail information and select "Document Type"
  6. Click on "Browse and Upload document" then "Save"

Are you still working on completing your continuing education?

Certified Training Institute offers online state-approved video courses that are available on any device with an internet connection. 

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Authorities Crack Down on Illegal Pesticide Trade in Europe

An investigation from the EU Observer finds that the black market pesticide trade in Europe is a multi-million dollar illegal industry that carries big potential and low risk.

Journalist Staffan Dahllöf says sellers first purchase cheap, black-listed compounds from China then jack up the price when they sell to European buyers.

“A single shipment of 160 tons generates €11.2m. Tax-free and almost completely risk-free,” writes Dahllöf.

European authorities are aware of the operations and are now cracking down. Europol calls their efforts to do so “operation Silver Axe.”

In 2020, 32 countries coordinated efforts to carry out the fifth edition of the mission. Between January to April 2020, Europol seized more than 1.3 tons of illegal pesticides, enough to fill 458 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The worth is roughly valued at more than €94 million.

“Law enforcement authorities carried out inspections on land and sea borders, inland marketplaces and parcel deliveries, checking more than 3,000 tons of pesticides,” said Europol’s press release.

Highlights of this year’s mission include interceptions of non-labeled products in Poland, counterfeit pesticides in Italy, and illegal compounds headed towards Cyprus.

Europol cites studies that show as much as 14% of Europe’s entire pesticide sphere is affected by trafficked, illegal pesticides.

“Some of the organized crime groups trafficking pesticides are also involved in other illegal activities such as trafficking counterfeited cigarettes and illegally trading pharmaceuticals,” says Europol’s release.

The director of the European Crop Protection Association says these products are a risk to human and environmental health.

“This is not just an issue for our companies, whose products are being counterfeited, but more significantly poses a risk to health and the environment,” said Geraldine Kutas in the release.

Since Operation Silver Axe started in 2015, agents have recovered more than 2.5 tons of illegal or counterfeit pesticides.


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Washington State Entomologists Working to Eradicate Invasive Murder Hornets and Gypsy Moths

Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get worse, an insect known as the “Murder Hornet” has been spotted in the United States.

Entomologists in Washington state have spotted them in at least two areas.

Native to Asia, the Asian Giant Hornet is a staggering two inches long and can deliver nasty, painful stings that can cause death in humans. Unlike bees, they can sting multiple times and an attack releases pheromones that attract other hornets to come attack as well.

In Japan, dozens of people die of stings every year.

But the hornet is not on a mission to attack people. Scientists say that only happens when they’re provoked, or if an unlucky hiker nears their nest. What’s more terrifying is that the “Murder Hornet” does kill bees. Some reports show that the nasty bug rips off the heads of honeybees.

Honeybees are threatened and their population is declining world-wide. Now, scientists are working to get a grip on any predator that could decimate their numbers even more.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture is asking anyone in the public to report sightings immediately.

The department has been busy this season, as reports began to surface that invasive Gypsy Moths had also descended on the Pacific Northwest. The bug is a major threat to local crops.

The moths can fly long distances and defoliate trees and shrubs. That process weakens them and makes them more susceptible to disease.

It’s such a problem that Washington state governor Jay Inslee issued an emergency proclamation in May, saying that there is “imminent danger of an infestation…[which] seriously endangers the agricultural and horticultural industries…and threatens the economic well-being and quality of life of state residents.”

Newsweek reports that Washington state will drop more than 655 gallons of insecticide “to coincide with the Gypsy Moth caterpillar’s emergence in the spring.”

Entomologists in Washington will begin a trapping process to control the hornet’s queen population, as well.


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Journalists Discover Tennessee Officials Distributed Facemasks Treated with Dangerous Pesticide

Many pesticides come with a long warning label, advising customers and applicators to take caution when handling them. Touching, swallowing or inhaling the chemical compounds could have serious health consequences.

Now, Hamilton County Health Department officials in Tennessee are back tracking after investigative journalists discovered that they were giving out face masks treated with the chemical Silvadur.

Reporters at NewsChannel5 in Nashville uncovered documents from the Environmental Protection Agency that state that the product is, in fact, very “harmful if inhaled,” and people should “avoid breathing vapor or spray mist.”

The product is also toxic to fish.

Health officials were giving out the treated masks for free, and the covering was marketed as a “non-toxic silver antimicrobial.”

Dupont manufactures the pesticide, and says silver is a known antimicrobial agent.

“[Silver] has been shown to have a very broad spectrum of activity. Silver ions are extremely effective at controlling the growth of both Gram + and Gram – bacteria. With the controlled release of silver ions found only in the SILVADUR™ antimicrobial polymer system, all bacteria and fungi are extremely susceptible to this technology.”

NewsChannel5 says the state contracted with a North Carolina manufacturer to buy 5 million of them and they had plans to give them out at regular intervals.

WRCBtv obtained a statement from the Hamilton County Health Department, and a representative said “only trace amounts of Silvadur are applied to the fabric and that amount will continually diminish with each wash. Until more data is made available…the public is asked to refrain from using and distributing the masks.”

NewsChannel 5 interviewed a board member of Beyond Pesticides, who shared his skepticism about the face mask product.

"I wouldn't wear one,” said Dr. Warren Porter. "Nobody wants to breathe in COVID, but I wouldn't want to be breathing in something that I also knew could be poisoning my body in a relatively short period of time and might be having multi-year effects on my health."


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India Phasing Out Use of Highly Toxic Pesticides

The Indian Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers is taking steps to stop using highly toxic chemicals including pesticides and insecticides.

The list of potentially banned substances includes Captan, Oxyfluorfen, Deltamethrin, Pendimethalin and others.

Many of the substances have known health effects and have been banned by countries around the world, but some nations continue to use them for widespread applications, leading to the direct and indirect health consequences.

Let’s break down why some of these chemicals are so dangerous:

  • Captan
    • Use: Controlling plant disease, improving appearance of some fruits and vegetables
    • Health Effects: The EPA classifies it as a carcinogen
    • Is it used in the U.S.?: Yes, it is used to control fungal diseases like downy mildew
  • Oxyfluorfen
    • Use: Can be used to grow rice, peanuts, vegetables and more
    • Health Effects: Inhalation at high doses can cause irritation; it’s also likely to bioaccumulate in the body
    • Is it used in the U.S.?: Yes, it is still used for many broad-leaf plants
  • Deltamethrin
    • Use: It is a broad-spectrum insecticide
    • Health Effects: The NPIC says it is low in toxicity when “touched or breathed in” but could cause gastrointestinal damage in high doses
    • Is it used in the U.S.?: Yes, it is used in many public spaces like golf courses to keep greens beautified and tidy

Phys.Org reports that India uses some of these compounds in high-volume situations, and there are also problems with runoff, which leads to human health hazards.

"Given that pesticide poisonings, accidental or deliberate, account for an average of 20,000 annual deaths in this country, the government notification of a plan to phase out 27 extremely or highly hazardous farm chemicals should be welcomed by all," says Devinder Sharma, to Phys.Org.

The article further explains that in India, banning dangerous chemicals has been a long time coming, because the decision-makers need to consider other ways farmers could eliminate disease and pests while still doing it affordably if some pesticides were to become banned.


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India Mounts Massive Pesticide Attack on Destructive Locust Swarms

Locusts are on their way to India after devastating vegetation and villages in Africa and Pakistan.

The country has already had to battle them this year, with Fortune reporting that a January attack killed more than 61,000 acres of vegetation including fields of potatoes and cumin. It was apparently one of the worst swarms in more than 25 years.

Now, officials are spraying pesticides in at least four provinces spanning more than 100,000 acres.

The Hindustan Times reports that they’re spraying Malathion 96 and Chlorpyrifos, which are organophosphate pesticides. Both are very powerful, the former is considered carcinogenic and has been associated with lymphoma diagnoses, while the latter can cause weakness, vomiting, and even paralysis.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says the influx of locusts could be declared a plague if it reaches certain levels.

Their movements are “associated with strong westerly winds from Cyclone Amphan in the Bay of Bengal…several successive waves of invasions can be expected until July.”

Officials are bringing out the big-guns so to speak because it’s the only effective way to eradicate them. In an interview with the times, one officials says there are consequences to their application:

“These pesticides will drift and residue will remain. They will definitely disturb the ecological balance of the area and kill natural enemies—pests which can counter other crop pests. So, we can expect outbreak of other pests,” said the executive director at the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture.

He added that the locusts have a short life cycle but they can return to their breeding sites because they can fly long distances.

The FAO adds that locust invasions in East Africa, including Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia, are an “unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods.” Ground and aerial operations continue in those areas.


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