Late last month, EPA announced the removal of all tolerances on all food crops for chlorpyrifos while maintaining its use for non-food uses including Christmas trees and mosquito control. These changes are effective in six months.
Though the ruling doesn’t directly impact potatoes as chlopyrifos isn’t registered or used on the crop, in March the National Potato Council and many state potato organizations joined comments regarding the process. “If the EPA leadership intends to outsource pesticide registration and review to activist lawsuits and the courts, instead of relying on their own scientists, the impacts upon American agriculture and the consumers it serves will be extremely negative,” said NPC President Dominic LaJoie.
EPA’s announcement, while not directly impacting potato production, raises concerns about circumventing a process that provides citizens and industry to be engaged, while relying on science to mitigate risk. The industry’s comments can be downloaded here.
EPA’s action this week follows a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling directing EPA to revoke or modify food tolerances for the product to comply with a federal food safety law. In responding, EPA leadership opted to simply revoke the tolerances for the product rather than utilize the science to mitigate risk. This follows a similar decision by the Obama Administration that was then reversed by the Trump Administration.
Kevin Scott, President of American Soybean Association released this statement following the announcement; “A pledge was made at the beginning of this administration that regulatory decisions would be based in sound science. EPA’s decision to revoke tolerances of chlorpyrifos has given us great reason to question that promise. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals gave EPA the opportunity to preserve uses of chlorpyrifos if human health could be protected. EPA’s career scientists have indicated that they believe that is possible, yet EPA has decided to revoke all ag tolerances regardless. As a result, our nation’s agricultural producers and related environmental outcomes will suffer. It is disappointing EPA has allowed the fear of litigation to eclipse sound science and its regulatory responsibilities.
NPC continues to monitor the EPA’s Registration Review process on key pesticides used in potato production to ensure they remain available to growers while mitigating human and environmental risks.