A Chemical and Food Safety Alert
Northwest Horticultural Council
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Policy To Mitigate The Acute Risk To Bees From Pesticide Products
January 31, 2019
Summary: In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed mandatory pesticide label restrictions to protect pollinating insects on crops in which bees are present under contract. The EPA finalized approach to mitigate acute risk to bees may be found here. In general, the EPA will use its Tier 1 acute risk assessment to determine if products trigger concerns about acute pollinator risks and whether label restrictions will be required to mitigate these risks. The EPA’s Tier 1 acute risk assessment is a quantitative analysis that relies upon conservative exposure values and chemical-specific hazard information (the adult acute contact LD50) to estimate risk.
The EPA continues to support the development of managed pollinator protection plans by states and tribal nations. The EPA will continue to monitor the progress and effectiveness of managed pollinator protection plans and other Pollinator Protection Plans in reducing pesticide exposure to bees.
For more information on other efforts the EPA is working on to protect pollinators, click here.
For more information on the EPA’s efforts regarding Mitigation for Pesticide Products that are Acutely Toxic to Bees, refer to regulations.govDocket # EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0818.
Label Mitigation for Fruit Trees: The EPA has classified apples, pears, and cherries as potentially using bees under contract for pollination services and do not have indeterminate bloom periods. EPA’s Tier 1 acute risk assessment process relies on chemical-specific adult honey bee acute contact toxicity data (LD50 data) and conservative contact exposure estimates for foliar applications. The EPA will rely upon its Tier 1 acute contact risk assessment approach to determine the threshold application rate for each active ingredient, applied either as a liquid or dust, that includes foliar application instructions for use on an agricultural crop that may utilize contract pollination services.
Since this revised approach (using the Tier 1 acute risk assessment) more accurately reflects potential risk based on both hazard and quantified exposure, the EPA will no longer limit the scope to just those conventional pesticide products that are “highly toxic” and “moderately toxic”. Rather, the EPA will apply this approach to all conventional pesticide active ingredients that are applied as either a liquid or a dust and that are foliar applied to a crop that may utilize commercial pollination services.
The Acute Risk Mitigation Label Language:
The EPA intends that all labels for products that are applied as either a liquid or a dust; are foliar applied outdoors to agricultural crops that may utilize contract pollination services; and have an application rates that result in risk estimates exceeding the acute risk level of concern for bees (LOC of 0.4) will contain the following mitigation language:
FOR FOLIAR APPLICATIONS OF THIS PRODUCT TO A CROP WHERE BEES ARE UNDER CONTRACT TO POLLINATE THAT CROP: Foliar application of this product is prohibited to a crop from onset of flowering until flowering is complete when bees are under contract for pollination services to that crop unless the application is made to prevent or control a threat to public and/or animal health as determined by a state, tribal, authorized local health department or vector control agency.
Contact: If you have any questions, please contact the Northwest Horticultural Council at 509-453-3193.