Earlier this year, we reported that EPA was conducting its mandated reregistration for the pyrethroid class of insecticides. There were some questions at the time about the quality of information in the agency's initial assessment package, and that is being addressed by the companies involved. In addition, the agency is reregistering all nine active ingredients in the class in a single pass, requiring that all information be complete and accurate.
For farmers, this work is important because the agency could limit or change rules regarding use of this important class of insecticides and that could cause trouble when pests come to call.
Recnetly EPA announced that the official comment docket was being re-opened and the public has until July 7 to file their information for agency review. As with any reregistration, it's important that the regulators at EPA better understand the value of these products to agriculture. There's also concern that EPA has been lax in its initial assessment package, which may make the reregistration process more troublesome.
How you can help is to file a comment showing support for the technology and how you use it on the farm. One manufacturer involved is FMC, and its product bifenthrin, is part of the review. The product, which is sold by a number of names is used for control of a wide variety of insect pests from fire ants to termites. It is a restricted use pesticide, which EPA didn't acknowledge in its first assessment document, which means it is already subject to a wide range of controls and requirements.
FMC has a website - defendbifenthrin.com - providing guidelines and draft sample comments and documents to help you through the public comment process. You can go to regulations.gov to upload your comments directly to the docket being considered - this is the docket direct link.
If you want more information, there is also a Pyrethroid Working Group, which has a website you can visit for even more information. FMC provided us these links, but this is supported by the working group in an effort to make sure the reregistration process is thorough and takes into account the latest science-based information about the product and its proper use. Check the links included for more information.
Bifenthrin is cleared for use on a wide range of crops from apples, almonds, citrus and tomatoes; but also to commodity crops including corn, soybeans and alfalfa. In fact, and the product and other pyrethroids are cleared for use on more than 120 crops nationwide.