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Pesticide News Story: New Pesticide Registration Notice Informs Registration Applicants about Agricultural Task Force that Develops New Exposure Data

For Release: October 5, 2007

EPA has issued Pesticide Registration (PR) Notice 2007-3 to inform pesticide registrants, applicants, and other interested parties about the Agricultural Handlers Exposure Task Force, L.L.C. (AHETF). This industry task force is developing data to support pesticide registrations, and registrants may wish to join. Specifically, AHETF is comprised of pesticide registrants who wish to cost share in the generation of mixer, loader, and applicator (“handler”) exposure data for pesticides used in agricultural settings. Formed in December 2001, the AHETF shares resources for the design, evaluation, and development of proprietary agricultural handler exposure data for use in regulatory risk assessment. EPA expects the data generated by the task force to provide the Agency with significantly better information for assessing handler exposure than the data routinely used at this time.

EPA requires registration applicants to submit pesticide handler exposure data to assess occupational risks of pesticides. Historically, a registrant would conduct active ingredient-specific exposure studies for workers handling pesticides in order to provide information to the Agency. It has become widely accepted, however, that handler exposure is not simply a function of the active ingredient used, but rather depends on other factors such as pesticide formulation, the amount of pesticide used, handler activity, and personal protective equipment and engineering controls used.

Through industry and government efforts, the Pesticide Handler Exposure Database was created in the early 1990s to estimate handler exposure to pesticides. Companies contributed the data without compensation for the benefit of all registrants. Although these data still represent the best available information for assessing handler exposure, the database does not cover all handler exposure scenarios. Some of the existing data also may not be fully representative of current exposures due to changes in work practices, formulations, and equipment. A January 2007 Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel meeting confirmed the need for new exposure data and endorsed the Agency’s proposed methods to generate the data. Over the next four to six years, the AHETF intends to conduct additional field studies that will meet current scientific and ethical standards. Only AHETF members will have proprietary rights to the data, and others who wish to use the data will be required to compensate AHETF or generate their own data.

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