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Pesticide News Story: EPA Encourages States to Use Portal for Reporting Ecological Incidents

For Release: April 23, 2010

In April of 2010, EPA mailed to State government agencies a letter announcing the availability of the Ecological Pesticide Incident Reporting Portal at www.npic.orst.edu/eco.exit EPA  Launched in October 2009, this online application was developed to facilitate the reporting of ecological incidents from States and other organizations involved with the investigation and documentation of ecological incidents. In addition to State agencies, Federal Government organizations, tribes, academia, wildlife rehabilitation centers, conservation societies, and beekeepers are welcomed to make use of this reporting portal.

Information related to ecological incidents submitted via the portal will be imported into a database for use by risk assessors and risk managers in EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs and considered the next time risks are assessed for the pesticide(s) involved in the incident report. More complete data on ecological incidents will allow the Agency to make better informed regulatory decisions, write better label statements, and impose better risk mitigation measures. Additionally, incident data serve as early warning information and can assist the Agency in discovering trends, which if left unnoticed, could create problems.

Ecological incident data have been used in a variety of ways, including to justify, modify, and/or refine precautionary statements on product labels; to support implementation of risk mitigation strategies (e.g., spray drift buffers, spatial and/or temporal use restrictions); to determine whether pesticides are being misused; to support enforcement actions; to discover faulty pesticide containers; and to suspend or cancel product registrations.

In 2008, EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) formed the Incident Data Workgroup to improve the collection, management, and use of incident data by EPA in registering and re-evaluating pesticides in the United States. As part of this effort, the workgroup is working to collect more and better incident information. One type of incident on which the workgroup wants to collect improved information is ecological incidents, which is defined as occurrences of adverse field effects on nontarget wild animals and plants that are known or suspected to be caused by pesticide use. Included in this definition are bird, fish, and bee kills, and nontarget crop damage incidents.

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