EPA Proposes New Pesticide Labeling to Control Spray Drift

Published online: Nov 12, 2009 EPA
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WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has rolled out proposed guidance for new pesticide labeling to reduce off-target spray and dust drift. The new instructions, when implemented, will improve the clarity and consistency of pesticide labels and help prevent harm from spray drift. The agency is also requesting comment on a petition to evaluate children's exposure to pesticide drift. "The new label statements will help reduce problems from pesticide drift," said Steve Owens, the assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. "The new labels will carry more uniform and specific directions on restricting spray drift while giving pesticide applicators clear and workable instructions." The new instructions will prohibit drift that could cause adverse health or environmental effects. Also, on a pesticide-by-pesticide basis, EPA will evaluate scientific information on risk and exposure based on individual product use patterns. These assessments will help the agency determine whether no-spray buffer zones or other measures - such as restrictions on droplet or particle size, nozzle height, or weather conditions - are needed to protect people, wildlife, water resources, schools and other sensitive sites from potential harm. In addition to the draft notice on pesticide-drift labeling, EPA is also seeking comment on a draft pesticide drift labeling interpretation document that provides guidance to state and tribal enforcement officials. A second document provides background information on pesticide drift, a description of current and planned EPA actions, a reader's guide explaining key terms and concepts, and specific questions on which EPA is seeking input. These documents and further information are available in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0628 at www.regulations.gov. In a second Federal Register notice, EPA is also requesting comment on a petition filed recently by environmental and farm worker organizations. The petitioners ask EPA to evaluate children's exposure to pesticide drift and to adopt, on an interim basis, requirements for "no-spray" buffer zones near homes, schools, day-care centers, and parks. EPA will evaluate this new petition and take whatever action may be appropriate after the evaluation is complete. For further information and to submit comments, please see docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0825 at www.regulations.gov. More information: www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/spraydrift.htm