Azinphos Methyl Risk Management Decision
August 2, 1999
On this page:
- Summary of Risk Reduction Measures
- Is it Safe to Eat Fruit?
- Additional Protection for Workers
- Ecological Protection
- Can Farmers Sell Treated Crops?
- Timing for Risk Mitigation Measures
- For Additional Information
EPA has accepted voluntary measures to reduce both dietary and worker risks from azinphos-methyl, an organophosphate insecticide used on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. As it is currently registered, azinphos-methyl poses an unacceptable dietary risk to children ages one to six years. It also poses risks of concern to agricultural workers.
Azinphos-methyl, an organophosphate, can over stimulate the nervous system causing nausea, dizziness, confusion, and at high exposures, respiratory paralysis and death. EPA's risk assessment showed that azinphos-methyl could not meet the safety standard of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) as the pesticide is currently registered. The acute dietary risk from food alone is unacceptable for nursing infants and children age one to six. In addition, the limited surface and ground water data available indicate that drinking water will further contribute to acute dietary risk. The risk from occupational exposure to azinphos-methyl is greatest for workers reentering treated fields and orchards, although risk to mixers, loaders and applicators also is of concern.
- Reduce Use on Pome Fruit (Apples, Pears, Quinces and Crabapples): Establish a maximum seasonal use rate and increase the time between application and harvest. Lower the tolerance for pome fruit from 2.0 ppm to 1.5 ppm now and to 1.0 ppm in 2001. (The registrant must demonstrate with comparative residue data that these measures achieve the expected reductions in exposure or additional actions will be taken.)
- Cancel Cotton East of the Mississippi River and All Sugarcane Use: These uses appear to be a major factor contributing to drinking water exposure. The registrants also have committed to ground and surface water monitoring programs in sensitive areas.
- Cancel Ornamental, Christmas Tree, Forest Tree, and Shade Tree Uses: These cancellations will reduce exposure to affected ecosystems.
- Cap Production of Product Available in the U.S.: The cap is intended to prevent use of other pesticides shifting to azinphos-methyl as a result of other actions, such as the cancellation of many uses of methyl parathion.
- Reduce Worker Exposure: Increase the length of time that workers must wait before entering a treated field or orchard. All application with hand-held equipment is prohibited. Closed mixing/loading systems and enclosed cabs are required, as is additional worker exposure testing.
Yes. The food supply is safe; this action just makes it safer. Parents should continue to feed their children a balanced and nutritious diet including fruits like apples, peaches, and pears. EPA's action is focused on reducing risks for the next growing season. It is designed to ensure that the food supply has the extra margin of safety required by the tough new Food Quality Protection Act.
Azinphos-methyl is hazardous to workers - people who handle or apply the pesticide as part of their occupation, and people who work in fields to harvest treated crops. Most of the risk results from dermal exposure. Estimated risks remain unacceptable despite the use of additional protective clothing, equipment, and engineering controls. Post-application risks to reentry workers greatly exceed EPA's level of concern. Documented incident data support our occupational exposure and risk estimates. To achieve acceptable exposure levels for post-application workers, field reentry intervals must be significantly increased in length. These increases may affect the efficacious use of azinphos-methyl on many crops.
Azinphos-methyl also poses unacceptable risks to birds, aquatic invertebrates, fish, and terrestrial mammals. It poses a very high risk to aquatic organisms, perhaps the highest among all the organophosphate pesticides. Azinphos-methyl is also one of the most persistent of the organophosphates applied foliarly. The voluntary risk reduction measures should help reduce many of these risks.
Yes. To ensure transition for growers and avoid any disruption to commerce, FQPA includes a "safe harbor" provision that allows legally treated commodities to remain in domestic and international trade.
The risk mitigation measures for azinphos-methyl will be in place for the 2000 growing season.
Contact EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs at (703) 305-5017, or visit our website.