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Pesticide News Story: EPA Soliciting Public Comments on 22 Bt Corn Plant-Incorporated Protectant Registrations and Proposed Biopesticides Registrations Action Documents

For Release: August 4, 2010

Today EPA is opening a docket and initiating a public comment period on our preliminary decision to amend the terms of twenty-two (22) expiring Bt Corn PIP (Plant Incorporated Protectant) registrations to extend the expiration dates. We have conducted comprehensive assessments of each of these registrations, considering all toxicity and environmental effects data, data from insect resistance monitoring, and insect resistance refuge compliance reports, since the last comprehensive evaluation of these products in 2001. Based on our comprehensive assessment, we have concluded that Bt corn PIPs have had a positive environmental impact, and we are proposing several actions to strengthen the insect resistance management requirements to ensure continued success in the prevention of the evolution of resistance in target pests.

Since the commercialization of Bt crops, there have been a significant number of published field studies that, combined with the post-registration field studies required by EPA, have demonstrated that non-target invertebrates are generally more abundant in Bt cotton and Bt corn fields than in non-transgenic fields managed with chemical insecticides. These published and registrant-produced studies demonstrate that, not only are the Bt crops not causing any unreasonable adverse effects on the environment, but arthropod prevalence and diversity is greater in Bt crop fields. Although no effects have been observed in the environment, the Agency is requiring additional aquatic invertebrate data in light of published laboratory studies showing reduced growth in shredding caddis flies exposed to Cry1A protein corn litter.

To strengthen insect resistance management of these corn PIPs and to address reports that compliance with the mandated refuge requirements has been decreasing, EPA is proposing to require enhanced compliance assurance programs and a phased requirement for seed bag labeling that clearly shows the refuge requirements. Also, given the increasing variety of PIP products and combinations and the differing risk of resistance evolution that the various products represent, we are proposing to grant registrations for the corn PIP products for different timeframes, based on assessments of their likelihood of forestalling the evolution of insect resistance. We are registering differing categories of products for differing time periods to reflect the assessed level of risk of resistance posed by the various corn PIP products. The scheme that we propose to follow will include registration periods generally of five, eight, and 12 years; with the possibility of a 15- year registration period for products that are demonstrated to meet specified criteria. We retain, however, the discretion to register products for time periods differing from these defaults where circumstances warrant.

The Agency's comprehensive assessments of the 22 expiring registrations may be accessed at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/regulating/registration-status.html under the heading Plant Incorporated Protectants in Corn. Comments on these documents will be accepted through September 3, 2010

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