6 Things to Know About EPA Review of Pyrethroids

Abigail Taylor Environment, Top Posts

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently accepting comments on the ecological risk assessments for pyrethroids and pyrethrins as insecticides. This evaluation is occurring as part of a registration review during which the EPA reevaluates registered pesticides to ensure they are not causing unreasonable harm to humans or the environment. Comments on the evaluation will be accepted until March 31, 2017.

The EPA answered questions regarding the comment period and more information on the review process:

      1. Why did the EPA decide to evaluate pyrethroids?

      EPA is evaluating pyrethroids as a part of registration review. The ecological risk assessments for the pyrethroids were published in November 2016, and the agency is currently accepting comments on them. The human health risk assessments for the pyrethroids are not yet all complete and will be released for public comment as they are completed. Currently, we expect all of the human health risk assessments to be completed by the end of the year.

      2. How does the comment period work?

      Directions on how to submit comments on the ecological risk assessments can be found on the Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids webpage. Comments are submitted through the public docket. The comment period for the pyrethroid ecological risk assessment has been extended to March 31, 2017 in response to stakeholder requests. After reviewing comments received during the public comment period, EPA will issue a revised risk assessment if needed and explain any changes to the draft risk assessment, and respond to comments.

      3. What information is useful for farmers to provide to the EPA?

      Additional information about the use of these products is being requested for this registration review including: sites of application; formulations; application methods and equipment; maximum application rates; frequency of application, application intervals, and maximum number of applications per season; and geographic limitations on use.

      4. What are the levels of concern of pyrethroids?

      Information about risks can be found in the risk assessments.

      The risks of concern identified in the ecological risk assessment for the pyrethroids were mainly to aquatic organisms, and particularly to aquatic invertebrates. For human health, the pyrethroids generally result in neurotoxic effects, such as tremors, shown in the animal testing studies. The individual chemicals in the group vary considerably in their potency, and there are several pyrethroids that don’t cause neurotoxicity. The agency is more concerned with acute (one-day) neurotoxic effects since the pyrethroids are quickly metabolized by the liver and break down in the body. In addition to the ongoing individual chemical reviews for registration review, in 2011 EPA completed a cumulative risk assessment considering all of the pyrethroids together, combining exposure from food and water, and from uses in and around homes and on pets. Overall, pyrethroids are much less acutely toxic than many older pesticides. Pyrethroids are the most commonly used household insecticides where exposure illnesses do occur, but they generally are mild in severity.

      5. How long will this review process take?

      Information about the registration review schedule can be found on the Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids webpage.

      6. Does this impact the immediate use of pyrethroids?

      No, the review process does not impact the immediate use of pyrethroids. Users should follow current label instructions.

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