Wisconsin law requires strict compliance with directions on labeling associated with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered pesticide products including storage, handling, and use. The pesticide program reviews all pesticide use inspections for trends and needed follow-up with industry or the public. Many of the Investigation and Compliance Section’s activities are inspections of these practices and their associated records, as well as investigations of potential violations of the general label provisions or specific prohibitions contained in ch. ATCP 29, Wis. Adm. Code.
ATCP 29 Pesticide Use and Control Rule Revision
In 2008, the Department of Agricultural Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Board approved a scope statement to open ch. ATCP 29 for revision. Staff continued to work on revisions to ch. ATCP 29 during 2011. Major issues being considered during the rule revision process are applications to natural areas and the appropriate applicator certification category, electronic notifications to customers, structural applications, consistency with ch. ATCP 33, Wis. Adm. Code, and residential chemigation systems.
Implementation of Soil Fumigant Label Requirements
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requiring extensive new safety measures for soil fumigants to increase protections for agricultural workers and those who live, work, or otherwise spend time near fields that are fumigated. The label changes affect soil fumigant pesticides that contain any of the following active ingredients: metam sodium, metam potassium, dazomet, chloropicrin, and methyl bromide.
EPA is implementing the new safety measures in two phases: some measures began appearing on product labels in late 2010 (Phase 1), while the remaining measures will appear on product labels in late 2012 (Phase 2). Phase 1 label changes included reclassifying products as restricted use (applicator certification required for purchase and use of the products), increasing safety measures for agricultural workers, and the development of a fumigant management plan. Phase 2 label changes will include buffer zone and related requirements.
In 2011, staff worked with pesticide applicators, crop growers, and others on addressing questions regarding the new requirements. DATCP staff also gave presentations, developed and distributed outreach materials, conducted field use observations, and updated the department’s webpage to assist with the implementation of the Phase 1 label changes. DATCP staff also developed a summary of Phase 2 requirements in preparation for the original implementation timeline of 2012.
Implementation of EPA’s Container and Containment Rule
The EPA is now requiring new procedures and standards for pesticide container design, the removal of pesticides from containers prior to disposal, and containment structures.
The purposes of the rule are to:
- Minimize human exposure to pesticides while handling containers
- Facilitate disposal and recycling of pesticide containers
- Protect the environment from pesticide releases at bulk storage sites and from spill and leaks when refilling or dispensing pesticides
- Provide sound stewardship practices and national consistency for pesticide labeling, container design, repackaging and storage
The regulations affect:
- Pesticide registrants
- Pesticide refillers
- End users, such as commercial applicators
- Pesticide distributors
- Pesticide retailers
The pesticide container and containment regulations include five sections:
- Nonrefillable containers
- Refillable containers
- Containment structures **
** Wisconsin’s existing state pesticide containment regulations (storage, secondary containment and mixing/loading pads) are considered equivalent to the EPA’s pesticide containment regulations. Persons who comply with Wisconsin’s pesticide containment requirements do not need to do anything different for containment.
The nonrefillable container regulations went into effect in August 2009 while the remaining container regulations (refillable containers, repackaging, and labeling) went into effect in August 2011. Although this is a federal rule, DATCP is responsible for conducting inspections regarding rule compliance as part of a cooperative agreement. Enforcement actions will be handled through the EPA.
DATCP staff worked with three industry organizations on planning and delivering three training workshops in February 2011. The workshops were sponsored by the Wisconsin Crop Production Association, Wisconsin Agri-Service Association and the Cooperative Network. The workshops were offered to farm supply companies, agricultural coops, pesticide dealers, and pesticide registrants to learn more about the rule.
DATCP staff also developed a web page and various training and outreach materials in preparation for the August 2011 implementation. Materials include a question and answer document, a six-minute video discussing rule highlights, links to other resources including EPA’s website, and the following guides for the four parts of the container rule: nonrefillable container, refillable container, repackaging and labeling.
Use Observations (Pesticide Special Registrations)
A small number of pesticide products are authorized for special uses under sections 18 and 24(c) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). These uses are otherwise not allowed by existing product registrations and labeling. Each year, DATCP staff conduct use observations related to these special authorizations to help ensure pesticide applicators comply with federal and state requirements for pesticide use, including the unique directions for use for each special authorization. Through the use observations, DATCP staff help ensure proper use of products and protection of persons and the environment. The observations also provide an opportunity to identify any potential problems with the directions for use or with sales/distribution practices.
USDA Private Applicator Records Inspection
DATCP had a grant with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to perform record inspections of private pesticide applicators. In 2011, the contract called for 120 inspections to be completed and 128 were done. Environmental enforcement staff also provided instructions on recordkeeping at private applicator training sessions offered by the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension. The training sessions also count toward the USDA contract. Table 1 is a summary of the record inspections and training sessions.
In late 2011, DATCP was notified that USDA was cancelling the grant for USDA private applicator recordkeeping inspections. Because our investigative staff have limited opportunities to meet directly with private applicators (farmers), to end this program would lose that important connection. Staff and management decided that the program would continue under our state authority to inspect application records granted under ch. ATCP 29, Wis. Adm. Code.
The department responded to consumer and industry reports of unexpected damage to trees linked to the use of Imprelis Herbicide. Imprelis is a new herbicide used by lawn and landscape professionals to control broadleaf weeds in turf. There were substantial reports of damage to trees, ornamentals and shrubs linked to use of Imprelis in nearby turf areas. DATCP has maintained a web page as a resource to industry and the public on federal actions and relevant information related to Imprelis.
Pesticide Records Inspections
Department compliance field personnel conduct routine inspections of pesticide users and investigate pesticide misuse complaints. Records inspections are made at businesses to determine if restricted use pesticides are only being sold to certified commercial applicators. Staff evaluates the completeness of pesticide application records, including pre-application and posting requirements, developed by individual commercial and private applicators. Investigators observe pesticide application activities in a variety of agricultural and non-agricultural settings each year. All pesticide complaints received by the department are evaluated, including developing cases on the circumstances leading to allegations of the improper use (misuse) of pesticides.
Number of inspections in 2011:
- 39 restricted use pesticide dealer inspections
- 46 commercial applicator records inspections
- 127 private applicator records inspections
- 31 agricultural use observations (applications to crops such as corn)
- 27 non-agricultural use observations (e.g. applications in lawn care and structural industries)
- 79 pesticide misuse inspections.
Compliance activities resulting from these inspections are discussed in the Compliance and Investigation section of this website.
Direction for the Coming Year
In addition to the routine pesticide recordkeeping and use inspections conducted each year, the pesticide program will focus on the following activities:
DATCP staff will continue to conduct live use observations and work with pesticide applicators, crop growers, and others on implementing the Phase 1 label requirements and preparing for Phase 2.
Container and Containment Rule
DATCP will continue to conduct inspections of pesticide producing establishments and work with pesticide refillers and others on implementing the container rule regulations.
Use Observations (Pesticide Special Registrations)
DATCP staff will continue to conduct use observations related to pesticides authorized for special uses under sections 18 and 24(c) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
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