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UPDATE BRIEFING PAPER #17

ALUMINUM AND MAGNESIUM PHOSPHIDE

STAKEHOLDER PROCESS

EPA has completed a review of aluminum and magnesium phosphide under the Agency's pesticide reregistration program, including a reassessment of these pesticides' human health and environmental effects. The Agency has identified risks that must be reduced for these pesticides to become eligible for reregistration and proposed measures to reduce these risks in a recent Reregistration Eligibility Decision document (available on the Internet at http://www.epa.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs).

EPA is seeking public input on how to reduce risks associated with aluminum phosphide and magnesium phosphide, two pesticide fumigants primarily used to control insects and rodents in facilities where agricultural food commodities are stored. EPA believes that protective measures in addition to current use restrictions are needed to protect bystanders in residential and occupational settings, as well as pesticide applicators, from exposure to the highly toxic phosphine gas that is created when these pesticides are used. The Agency has proposed a broad range of preventive measures to reduce these hazards. Through stakeholder meetings and other forums, EPA is inviting farm groups, food distributors, and other interested parties to provide comment and suggest additional or alternative options for reducing risks.

To identify the best ways to reduce the risks associated with aluminum and magnesium phosphide, EPA is initiating an extensive public and stakeholder involvement process, including:

  1. publishing the Agency's risk mitigation proposals in a Federal Register notice with a 90-day public comment period,
  2. holding two or more open stakeholder meetings and
  3. consulting with the Phosphine Task Force, a group of scientists assembled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), through its Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP), has convened a Phosphine Task Force to develop possible alternative risk mitigation measures and to consult with EPA on matters regarding the reregistration of aluminum and magnesium phosphide. The USDA OPMP Phosphine Task Force is composed of experts from Land Grant Universities and USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists with expertise in commodity storage pest management systems. EPA will work closely with the Phosphine Task Force throughout the public comment period and stakeholder participation process.

The public comment period on the risk mitigation proposals ends March 23, 1999. Public meetings are planned for Kansas City, Missouri, Sacramento, California, and possibly Atlanta, Georgia in June-July 1999.


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updated February 24, 1999