Gathering Information for Reassessment and Transition
Note: This information is provided for reference purposes only. Although the information provided here was accurate and current when first created, it is now outdated.
Committee to Advise on
Reassessment and Transition
Paper # 23
Importance of gathering information related to reassessment and transition
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for evaluating the potential health risks posed by pesticides to ensure that they meet a specific standard of safety with respect to human health.
- EPA must make a finding of reasonable certainty of no harm before it registers or reregisters a pesticide, and before it establishes or completes a reassessment of an existing tolerance (pesticide residue limit).
- Because risk is a function of toxicity and exposure, information about how pesticides are used is an essential part of risk assessment.
Sources of information
- EPA obtains pesticide use data from a variety of sources for both agricultural and non-agricultural pesticide use sites. The use data are obtained in a variety of ways including:
- Agreements with other government agencies for data that are generally publically available (e.g., USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), USDA National Agricultural Pesticide Impact Assessment Program (NAPIAP), and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CalDPR).
- Purchases from firms who are in the business of collecting and selling pesticide use data. Such data must be bought under proprietary agreements, and data are not available to those who have not entered into agreements with the provider.
- In addition to the types of sources listed above, EPA has the following information:
- QUA傍he Quantitative Usage Analysis (QUA) is a report prepared by Agency economists that summarizes estimates of use of individual pesticides on both crop and non-crop sites.
- QUA+傍he Qualitative Usage Assessment Plus information is grower- and registrant-generated information specifically about OP insecticides provided to answer questions about typical use. This information includes typical usage rates, descriptions of alternatives and their limitations, as well as expanded information about application methods and pest pressures.
- State Recommendations傍he State Recommendations (Staterecs) are pest control and crop and livestock management recommendations for farmers and ranchers published by each state's agricultural extension office. These publications present the views of the agricultural science community in each state about such issues as which pesticide products are most likely to work in their area.
- USDA Crop Profiles傍he USDA crop profiles are being generated by State Liaison Representatives and other entities, and capture information in narrative format about crop production, cultural practices, and pesticide use.
- LUIS傍he Label Use Information System (LUIS) is a database of use patterns found on the labeling of currently registered pesticide products, in other words, the legal limits on how the product may be used. It contains detailed information on registered sites, application methods (type, timing, and equipment), application rates, and limitations on the use of pesticides (e.g., preharvest intervals, reentry intervals). LUIS captures only information specified on the approved label for a pesticide product.
- The Biological and Economic Analysis Division of EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs analyzes the available data and compiles tables, or matrices, that display information, crop by crop, about the amount of each OP pesticide used, what critical pests it is used to combat, and, where available, information about regional differences in use patterns. The draft matrices are posted to the Internet to allow public access.
Use of information in risk assessment and risk management
- During the risk assessment process, EPA conducts an exhaustive search for the highest quality information to ensure our analyses are as accurate as possible. In most cases, EPA begins the risk assessment process with a relatively straightforward, quick, "screening-level" or Tier 1 assessment, based on simplifying assumptions such as that the entire crop is treated with the pesticide and that residues are present at tolerance levels. Information on the percentage of the crop that is treated with the pesticide is used if readily available. If this assessment shows unacceptable risks, BEAD provides additional information about actual use patterns to help refine exposure assessments. This can include:
- Refined estimates of percent crop treated
- Use of the crop, e.g., fresh versus processed
- Percent of the crop that is imported
- Information about regional differences
- Example: In the chlorpyrifos dietary risk assessment, BEAD's analysis found that use on tomatoes was limited to the imported fruit, rather than tomatoes grown domestically, thus resulting in a more realistic risk assessment.
- When risk managers are exploring risk mitigation options, BEAD evaluates the potential effects of the options.
- Example: For chlorpyrifos, BEAD provided information on 1) the number of homes and types of structures treated with chlorpyrifos to help determine potential exposure and 2) alternatives and their efficacy for residential and termiticide uses. This information enabled risk managers to make more informed decisions in the final evaluation.
For more information:
- More information about gathering and use of information in pesticide risk assessment and management is available on the Internet at http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/use-related.pdf.