Agrichemical and Environmental News -- Apr96
A monthly report on pesticides and related environmental issues

Issue No. 122, April 1996

Open Forum:
In an attempt to promote free and open discussion of issues, The Agrichemical and Environmental News encourages letters and articles with differing views. To include an article, contact:
Catherine Daniels, Food and Environmental Quality Laboratory, Washington State University, Tri-Cities campus, 2710 University Drive, Richland, WA 99352-1671. Phone: 509-372-7495. Fax: 509-372-7491. E-mail:

In This Issue

News and Notes Landscape Architect Chairs WSCPR
New Database Available for Pesticide Information Pesticide Container Cleaning and Disposal
Plastic Pesticide Container Collection Dates, RequirementsCauses of Aging and Cancer
Allan Felsot Pesticide Applicator Classes Offered in Spanish
Officially Unofficial Ten Propargite Uses Canceled
Federal IssuesState Issues

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News and Notes

Note: The AENews is now accessible from the World Wide Web via the Washington State Pesticide Page. The address for the page is:

Enter this address carefully, paying close attention to punctuation and spacing (no spaces between parts of the address). Some readers may experience difficulties accessing the site. These are believed to be related to the Internet and to on-line services, not the web site. If you are having a problem accessing the web page, please inform Catherine Daniels, Food and Environmental Quality Laboratory, Washington State University, Tri-Cities campus, 2710 University Drive, Richland, WA 99352-1671. Phone: 509-372-7495. Fax: 509-372-7491. E-mail:

WSCPR RFPs now online

The Washington State Commission on Pesticide Registration's Request for Proposal is now available through the Internet. The address is

Two formal requests for proposals will be issued annually. However, proposals will be considered by the commission at any time. Paper and electronic copies of each proposal should be submitted. Be sure to identify the word processing program used. Send submissions to Catherine Daniels, Food and Environmental Quality Lab, WSU Tri-Cities, 2710 University Drive, Richland WA 99352-1671. Contact numbers are: 509-372-7495 (phone); 509-372-7491 (fax);or E-mail:

Proposals will be reviewed by the WSCPR at its next regularly scheduled meeting. The next meeting of the WSCPR is scheduled for May 22 at 10 a.m. at the Washington State Department of Agriculture Yakima Branch Office at 2015 S. 1st St.

Applications should be submitted by May 8 for consideration at the May 22 meeting. Applicants should be available to make a brief presentation and respond to questions from commissioners at that meeting. A final report should be submitted to the WSCPR within one month of project completion.

The following tolerances were granted by EPA since the last report (March 1996). These data do not mean that a label has been registered for this use. These pesticides must not be used until a label is registered with EPA or a state department of agriculture.

New databases for pesticide info

WSU's Pesticide Information Center is accepting subscriptions to two pesticide databases. One database is a guide to all pesticide registrations in Oregon and Washington. Searches are available by crop, pest, product, company and several other label components. The second database features all pesticide tolerances for crops grown in Idaho, Oregon and Washington (most crops in the U.S., except tropicals and subtropicals.) Both systems can be accessed by phone or, more cheaply, via the World Wide Web. See New database available for pesticide information

1997 IR-4 budget

The 1997 IR-4 budget proposal to Congress requests a $5.0 million increase to $10.71 million for USDA-CSREES. Together with USDA-ARS and other funding, this would increase total IR-4 funding to $13.3 million for 1997.

The cost of GLP

IR-4 did a second accounting of the cost of GLP pesticide residue research. The cost of GLP was estimated to consume 36% of total project costs. This is down from 40% in 1993.

Landscape architect chairs WSCPR

...Robert Berger

Two years ago I had no idea that a landscape architect would be involved in funding activities for labeling of 'minor crop' or 'minor use' pesticides.

Then, the 1995 Legislature passed a bill into law that created the Commission on Pesticide Registration. Subsequently, the Washington State Nursery and Landscape Association put my name before Governor Lowry for possible appointment. On September 14, 1996 I was appointed to a three-year term on the Commission on Pesticide Registration. I was then elected chairman for 1996.

Pest management is not a new part of my life. When I was a youngster growing up on the Oregon coast, my family raised Easter lily bulbs. I'm sure it was early one morning, when I started hand weeding a row of lilies that looked to be about a mile long, that I became a proponent of minor crop pesticides, herbicides specifically. Our weed control program didn't contain an herbicide option. Manual labor had to take care of the weeds nearest the lily plants, because our "Planet, Jr." (mechanical cultivator) could destroy the lilies when it took a sudden jerk to the left or right. In the 1970s I was informed that our hand-weeding techniques in the 1950s were actually "human resource utilization opportunities" (but I still thought of them as a backbreaking way to save a crop from being choked out by weeds).

After graduating from Washington State University, I began my career as a landscape architect with the Washington State Department of Highways (now WSDOT). For six years I worked on the design of landscape plantings and development of erosion control techniques for use along new highways. In addition to the Seattle, Yakima and Spokane freeway landscape designs, I worked on development of the safety rest area system for Washington state.

I mention my experience as a designer, because it was a jumping off place for the remainder of my career with WSDOT (which ended with retirement in 1993). In the early 1970s I had the dubious distinction of being promoted to a position in the highway maintenance program. I quickly learned that the tough part of roadside landscapes was not the design of landscape planting, but rather the need to manage pests that challenged our efforts to beautify, and make functional, the roadsides of Washington. Weeds, insects, disease, rodents, and about every other 'pest' seemed to be present somewhere along the 7,200 miles of state highways.

As the program manager for roadside maintenance, I began looking at integrated pest management (IPM) as the only viable approach to preserving the public's investment and interest in the highway roadsides. It was at this time that I realized that there were herbicides, insecticides, rodenticides, avacides and other pest control agents available BUT NOT LABELED FOR USE ON ROADSIDE PLANTINGS, a minor use. My first experience with a 24(c) registration involved obtaining the Special Local Needs (SLN) label for use of Kerb (pronamide) to selectively control quackgrass (Agropyron repens) in hundreds of acres of English ivy and other ground cover plantings. Getting that SLN label enabled the department to chemically control the target weed as part of an IPM program, until the ground cover plantings 'closed', preventing continued re-infestation by quackgrass.

Since my early efforts with Kerb herbicide, there has been a litany of stories in which the need for a pesticide existed but the manufacturer was economically constrained from doing the work needed to add the 'minor crop' or 'minor use' to the regular label (Section 3) for the product.

This need for special labeled uses continues for those people working with most of the crops in Washington state. The commission was created and funded to specifically meet this need, in order to preserve the production or maintenance of crops that are classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as 'minor' crops. Here in Washington state, we find it difficult to think of many of these EPA 'minor' crops - apples, for example - as minor. Washington agriculture is often identified as being predominantly 'minor' crops.

The Commission on Pesticide Registration is meeting identified needs for work that supports labels for 'minor crops' and 'minor uses'. To date, we have funded 29 projects that will lead to labeled uses of pesticides, many being critical tools in IPM programs.

There have been questions about the commission funding projects on biopesticides and non-pesticide products or techniques for pest management. In my opinion, the legislation creating the commission is quite clear in limiting activities and expenditure of resources to pesticide registration activities. Biopesticides are considered to be pesticides by EPA and the Washington State Department of Agriculture, so work and financial support by the commission on these products is clearly within the scope and authority of the commission. Likewise, in my opinion, the use of commission resources for work on those products or techniques that are not related to pesticide registration is outside the authority of the commission.

I look forward to meeting and working with pesticide users who feel that the commission can help them obtain 'minor use' and 'minor crop' pesticide labels. As I continue my second career (as a consulting landscape architect), I'm confident that I'll see my personal goal of implementation of non-crop integrated vegetation management (IVM) programs brought to fruition.

Robert L. Berger, Chair
Washington State Commission
on Pesticide Registration
2634 19th Way NW
Olympia, WA 98502-6075
Phone: 360-357-6075
Fax: 360-357-6075

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New database available for pesticide information

The Pesticide Information Center (PIC) at Washington State University Tri-Cities is releasing a new database program to provide current information on all pesticides registered in Washington and Oregon. The program replaces the Pesticide Label Information Retrieval System (PLIRS) earlier maintained by the PIC.

Information about the new system, called PICOL (Pesticide Information Center On-Line), is available from the PIC's Internet web page at Here, a user can learn how to access the new PICOL Label Database, which is simpler and more accurate than PLIRS. PICOL runs from a Pullman based Unix machine with greater capacity than the system used by PLIRS.

PICOL contains current label information from the Washington State Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Agriculture on products registered in those two states. It is designed to identify labels registered for use on given crops, sites or pests. The system serves as a guide to the labels and is not designed to be used as a recommendation list. Federally registered products (Section 3), as well as Special Local Needs (24c) labels, are included in the system. Short duration registrations such as Section 18s and Experimental Use Permits are not. PICOL does not include directions for use or any use restrictions such as preharvest intervals. The system is unique, in that a user can extract, along with other useful information, a list of currently registered insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides, etc., on almost any given pest for any given crop or site in the Pacific Northwest.

A subscriber can also access the new PICOL Tolerance Database. A user can locate from this site any pesticide tolerance for any crop grown in the Pacific Northwest. Other free information available includes a section about the Washington State Commission on Pesticide Registration (WSCPR), where one can access minutes of past meetings as well as the ongoing Request for Proposal. Electronic copies of the Agrichemical and Environmental News newsletter can also be obtained. Links to other pertinent pesticide web sites, including the Washington State Pesticide Page (WAPP) and companies such as Bayer, DuPont, Dow, and other registrants, are listed.

Although the information on the WSCPR, AENews and others is free of charge, a subscription is required for the PICOL Label Database and Tolerance Database. The fee is $100 a year, with a set fee of $.50 each time a user's password is entered. Viewing the results of searches will cost approximately $1 to $2 for either the labels or the tolerances.

New users must schedule a 30-minute phone training session in order to receive their passwords. Those individuals lacking either a computer or access to the Internet may obtain information on pesticide labels by calling the PIC office to request a search. The cost of a search by phone depends on size and complexity, but is usually about $10 per search.

Due to the time involved in installing the new system, the PIC has a backlog of paperwork, and a few new products have yet to be entered into the system. The PIC is in the process of hiring more staff to help complete the installation.

For questions concerning PICOL or to set up an account, contact Mark S. Antone or Catherine H. Daniels at 509-372-7492 voice or 509-372-7460 fax or E-mail at mantone@beta.tricity. or cdaniels@beta. Postal address is Pesticide Information Center, 100 Sprout Rd, Richland, WA 99352.

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Pesticide container cleaning and disposal

Proper rinsing and handling of empty pesticide containers is very important.

Mishandled empty pesticide containers can create a major problem for their owner, since most unrinsed containers are considered hazardous waste, complicating disposal. This article explains rinsing and disposal options.


Before they are rinsed or cleaned, pesticide containers can still hold enough material to harm you or the environment. When emptying or cleaning containers, protect your eyes and hands. Wear chemical-resistant gloves that will neither absorb pesticide or rinsewater nor let the material contact your skin. Wear goggles or a face shield that will protect your eyes from splashes or dust. You also may need to wear a respirator for protection from dust or fumes.

Protect the environment by cleaning the container completely. Use any rinsewater to finish filling the sprayer. If you cannot use the rinsewater, collect it for later use in a spray mix or for disposal; make sure it is labeled. Save cleaned containers for recycling, or dispose of them in a landfill.


Never abandon empty containers. Uncleaned containers can be very dangerous to people, animals and the environment. Abandoning containers, even cleaned ones, is against the law.

Burial of empty, uncleaned containers or unused product is not a safe practice. Even small amounts of pesticide can reach water supplies or contaminate the soil.

When mixing, add container rinsewater to the spray mix to avoid disposal problems.

When purchasing pesticides, think about how you will dispose of the container. Manufacturers are putting more products in water soluble packages or in easily recycled containers to assist you in avoiding disposal problems and costs.

Check with your dealer-distributor and County Solid Waste Program about options for container recycling and landfilling. The Washington Pest Consultants Association (WPCA) operates one statewide program for recycling plastic containers. Many counties or dealers sponsor and help organize WPCA container collection events. Contact WPCA (509-457-3850) for more information.


Unless the pesticide label directs otherwise, triple or multiple rinse containers or use pressure rinsing to clean them. Don't forget to completely rinse the hard to reach areas inside the containers, such as the handle. Make sure you also rinse the outside of all the containers.

Triple/Multiple Rinsing:

Pressure Rinsing This method allows you to continuously wash the inside of the container while draining into the spray tank. It uses a pressure nozzle to puncture and rinse the container in one step. It is easier and more effective than triple/multiple rinsing.




Recycling pesticide containers helps protect Washington's environment as well as improve the image of agrichemical users in the eyes of the general public. Participating in a recycling program is "Good for Pesticide Users." In addition, it helps the local landfill by reducing the bulk it handles, thus reducing landfill costs.

Recycling Procedures - Only "pesticide container recyclers" can accept plastic pesticide containers. Do not take them to urban recycling facilities where food containers are accepted.

Only "clean" containers are accepted. Remove caps. They are a different class of plastic and can be disposed of in your normal trash. Remove plastic labels and sleeves; paper labels may remain attached. At collection sites, all containers are inspected, both inside and outside. Stains are acceptable, but residues are not.

Landfill Procedures - Only "clean" containers are accepted. Plastic/metal containers must be triple rinsed. Paper containers must be emptied, with their seams as clean as possible. Some landfills visually inspect containers and/or require written verification as to the cleanliness of the containers.

Do Not Burn paper, fiber, or plastic containers; it is illegal.

Dirty Containers will most likely be a regulated hazardous waste. Unused rinsewater can be a serious disposal problem. If you are unable to use the rinsewater in the original application, apply the rinsewater to a site allowed on the label. If you cannot do this, the rinsewater would most likely be a regulated hazardous waste, requiring complicated disposal measures.

Carol Ramsay,
Washington State University

Dave Rountry,
Washington State
Department of Ecology

Ann Wick,
Washington State
Department of Agriculture

Note: Information for this article was taken from a brochure supported by the Pesticide Partnership, a joint project of the Washington State Departments of Ecology and Agriculture and Washington State University.

Washington State Dept. of Ecology
Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction Program
Central Region:
Eastern Region:
Northwest Region:
Southwest Region:

Washington State Dept. of Agriculture
Pesticide Management Div.
Olympia: 360-902-2010
Yakima: 509-575-2746
Spokane: 509-625-5229

Washington State Univ.
College of Agriculture and Home Economics
Cooperative Extension

Camera/Xerox-ready copies of the brochure from which this article was taken are being mailed to all pesticide dealerships and county Cooperative Extension offices in the state, to make this information available to their clientele.

For camera or Xerox-ready copies of this brochure, contact Carol Ramsay at: 364 FSHN, Washington State Univ., Pullman, WA 99164-6382
or E-mail at:

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Plastic pesticide container collection dates, requirements

Container requirements

1. Must be multiple rinsed, so that no residues remain.

2. Must be clean and dry inside and out, with no apparent odor.

3. Hard plastic lids and slip on lids must be removed.

4. Glue-on labels may remain.

5. The majority of the foil seal must be removed from the spout.
A small amount of foil remaining on the container rim is acceptable.

6. Half pint, pint, quart, one and two-and-a-half-gallon containers will
be accepted whole.

7. Five-gallon containers will be accepted whole if the lids and bails
are removed.

8. Special arrangements must be made for 30-gallon and 55-gallon
containers, by calling (509) 457-3850 prior to the collection.

Containers not meeting above specifications will not be accepted.

WPCA container collection dates for May

DateSiteSponsor/contact PhoneNotes
Western Farm Service,
John Massey
Walla Walla
McGregor Co.,
Gary Burt
(9-3 p.m.)
Snipes Mtn. Landfill Yakima County,
Mark Nedrow
(509)574-2457cardboard accepted
(8:30-3 p.m.)
Terrace Hts. Landfill Yakima County,
Mark Nedrow
(509)574-2457cardboard accepted

For more information about plastic pesticide container collection, contact: Steve George
WPCA Recycling Coordinator
31 High Valley View St.
Yakima, WA 98901
(509) 457-3850
or the WAPP web site at

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Causes of aging and cancer

...Bruce N. Ames

Aging appears to be due, in good part, to mutagenic oxidants produced as by-products of normal metabolism. These oxidants, such as hydrogen peroxide, are the same mutagens that are produced by radiation and cause damage to DNA, proteins and lipids.

The DNA in each cell of a normal rat receives on average about 100,000 oxidative lesions (altered bases) per day. DNA-repair enzymes constantly remove this damage, but they do not keep up: an old rat has over one million lesions in the DNA of each cell. A human cell receives about 10 times fewer lesions than a rat cell, which is consistent with the higher cancer rate and shorter life span of a rat. Decay of mitochondria with time, due to oxidative damage, appears to play a major role in aging.

The degenerative diseases of aging, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, cataracts and brain dysfunction, are singly found to have, in good part, an oxidative origin. We have argued that dietary antioxidants, such as vitamin E and carotenoids, play a major role in minimizing this damage; however, most of the world's population is receiving inadequate amounts of them, at a great cost to health.

The main source of dietary antioxidants is fruits and vegetables. Insufficient fruit and vegetable consumption increases the rate of most types of cancer about two fold, as shown by about 2,000 remarkably consistent epidemiological studies. Unfortunately, a high percentage of the American population, particularly the poor, is eating insufficient quantities of fruits and vegetables. The quarter of the American population that eats insufficient quantities of fruits and vegetables (five portions a day is advised) is deficient in the vitamin folic acid (a lack of which causes broken chromosomes, cancer and birth defects) and vitamin C and carotenoids (a lack of these causes the same oxidative damage to DNA as radiation). Better diet is thought to be a major contributor to the ever increasing life expectancy in the U.S. and the decreasing (age-adjusted) cancer death rates in non-smokers. Seventh-Day Adventists - who generally do not drink heavily or eat much meat, but do eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables - have an overall cancer mortality about half of the general U.S. population and live several years longer.

The three main causes of cancer are smoking, dietary imbalances (inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables, excessive alcohol), and chronic infections leading to chronic inflammation (hepatitis B and C viruses, Helicobacter pylori infection, schistosomiasis, etc.).

Chronic inflammation is a major cause of cancer in the world, because it releases oxidants (nitric acid, hydrogen peroxide, hypochlorous acid) that both stimulate cell division and are mutagenic. Past occupational exposures, a major factor being asbestos exposure in smokers, might cause about 2% of current cancer; industrial or synthetic chemical pollution causes less than 1%, in my view. The age-adjusted cancer death rate in the U.S

Two critical factors in the formation of mutations are lesions in DNA (produced when DNA is damaged) and cell division (which converts DNA lesions to mutations). Agents that increase either lesions or cell division increase mutations and, as a consequence, increase cancer incidence. Hormones stimulating cell division increase cancer incidence (e.g. level of estrogen in breast cancer and testosterone in prostate cancer); hormones may be a risk factor in about 20% of human cancer.

The assumption that residues of synthetic industrial chemicals are significant contributors to cancer rates and that we can lower cancer rates by eliminating them is wrong. This strategy is counterproductive. There are several reasons why dietary residues of synthetic pesticides and other traces of synthetic chemicals and industrial pollutants are not likely to be significant carcinogenic risks to humans.

a) Animal cancer tests, which are done at the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of the test chemical, are misinterpreted to mean that low doses of synthetic chemicals and industrial pollutants are relevant to human cancer. Half of all chemicals tested, whether synthetic or natural, are carcinogenic to rodents.

b) The vast bulk of chemicals ingested by humans is natural. For example, 99.99% of pesticides we eat are naturally present in plants to ward off insects and other predators. Half of these natural pesticides tested at the MTD are rodent carcinogens. Reducing our exposure to 0.01% ingested pesticides that are synthetic is not likely to reduce cancer rates. Synthetic pesticide residues in the U.S. diet rank extremely low compared to the background of natural chemicals, when human exposures to rodent carcinogens are ranked according to possible carcinogenic hazard.

c) Cooking food also generates thousands of chemicals. There are over 1,000 chemicals reported in a cup of coffee. Only 26 have been tested in animal cancer tests, and more than half are rodent carcinogens; there are still a thousand chemicals left to test. The amount of rodent carcinogens consumed as pesticide residues in a year is less than the known amount of rodent carcinogens in a cup of coffee. This does not mean coffee is dangerous, but that animal cancer tests and worst-case risk assessment, build in enormous safety factors and should not be considered true risks.

One reason we can eat the tremendous variety of natural chemicals that are rodent carcinogens is that animals and humans are extremely well protected by many general defense enzymes, most of which are inducible (i.e., whenever a defense enzyme is in use, more of it is made). The enzymes are equally effective against natural and synthetic reactive chemicals. One does not expect, nor does one find, a general difference between synthetic and natural chemicals in ability to cause cancer in high dose rodent tests.

Risks compete with risks and, therefore, society must distinguish between significant and insignificant risks. Concern with minuscule exposures to synthetic substances such as pesticides, while ignoring the natural world, harms health by diverting resources from programs that could be effective in protecting the health of the public. For example, adequate consumption of fruits and vegetables plays a major role in lowering disease rates. Therefore, increasing their costs by banning pesticides because of tiny hypothetical hazards of residues is not in the interest of public health.

Bruce N. Ames is a professor in the Dept. of Molecular
and Cell Biology, Div. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
at the University of California, Berkeley

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Rush to judgment

...Allan Felsot

Note:This is an opinion essay; the views presented herein are those of the author.

"Early this morning, 1 January 2021, three minutes after midnight, the last human being to be born on earth was killed in a pub brawl in a suburb of Buenos Aires, aged twenty-five years, two months and twelve days." So begins P. D. James' novel The Children of Men, a story in which all human males have become sterile. James, the famous British mystery writer, isn't interested in why males became sterile in 1996; she is fascinated with the character of humans and their interactions upon learning their species is extinct. It's a good read, but it's fiction. Yet I nearly fell off my chair when I saw a bold headline in the March 18, 1996 issue of Time magazine asking, "What's Wrong With Our Sperm?"

Time and other magazines were heralding the publication of Our Stolen Future by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski and John Peterson Myers. The book's thesis is that we are threatening our fertility, intelligence and survival through exposure to a myriad of chemicals, largely synthetic, that disrupt the normal functioning of our endocrine systems. The connection to infertility is based largely on a hypothesis published by a group of Danish researchers. The hypothesis has reappeared in various scientific journals including British Medical Journal, The Lancet, and Environmental Health Perspectives. The hypothesis is that semen quality, as evidenced by sperm counts, has declined nearly 50% since 1940. This decline, which the authors claim threatens human fertility, is also coincidental with an increased incidence of testicular maladies including cancer and male genital birth defects. Because these changes in sexual function seem to have occurred over a relatively short time, the Danish scientists conclude that environmental rather than genetic factors are at work. One of their papers discusses the role of estrogen during fetal development for proper formation of male reproductive tissue. Colborn et al. claim that a myriad of synthetic chemicals, including many pesticides, PCBs, and dioxins, mimic estrogen and disrupt normal development. The implication is that exposure to these synthetic chemicals during gestation may be causing widespread health effects and leading our species to extinction by infertility.

Our Stolen Future addresses more than the potential effects of endocrine system disrupting chemicals on male fertility. I want to focus on this issue, however, because it is based largely on one database published by the Danish researchers. The database is available for public analysis. One can also peruse the scientific literature on human reproduction, to judge the validity of a link between sperm counts and fertility. Two issues are involved: are fertility and sperm counts causally correlated?, and do the Danish data really show that sperm counts have declined?

Since the late 1930s, scientists have studied the relationship between human sperm counts and fertility. Initially, researchers thought fertility waned when sperm counts dropped below 60 million cells per milliliter (mL) of seminal fluid. But research in the 1950s showed that men of known fertility had highly variable sperm counts, and significant numbers of fertile men had sperm counts well below 60 million. Further studies during the 1970s showed that a substantial proportion of fertile men had sperm counts between 20 million and 40 million per mL. While it is true that many men had sperm counts over 100 million per mL, it was also true that men classified as infertile had similar distributions in sperm counts. Thus, reproductive scientists long ago concluded that sperm counts were inadequate indicators of fertility, unless the counts were well below 20 million per mL. Sperm structure and movement were considered more accurate indicators.

Yet the Danish studies claim human fertility is threatened because, in their analysis of many published studies, the average sperm counts dropped from 138 million in 1940 to 66 million by 1990. Furthermore, the Danish scientists chose to ignore the parameters of sperm movement and structure, because these parameters were too subjective for different laboratories to measure reliably.

Do the Danish scientists' analysis of available sperm count data really show that average sperm counts dropped precipitously since 1940? To critically judge the validity of their conclusion requires a little statistical background. The hypothesis of declining fertility depends on a technique called linear regression analysis. Sixty-one studies were tabulated by year and reported average sperm counts per mL. In regression analysis, the year is the independent variable (because it is already known) and the average sperm counts are the dependent variable (because it is measured). The objective in regression analysis is to determine if there is an association between a dependent and an independent variable or, in other words, between the average sperm counts and the year of measurement. If there is an association, a straight line drawn on a graphical plot of the data should describe how the sperm count data vary with each year of measurement. Several mathematical tricks are employed to determine if and how fast counts decline over time (i.e., the slope of a straight line), if a linear relationship exists between the counts and year (i.e., the correlation coefficient), and the proportion or percentage of variance in sperm counts accounted for by year (i.e., the regression coefficient). While the Danish scientists' statistical analysis indicated that average sperm counts seemed to change as years progressed (i.e. a significant slope), only 25% of sperm count variation could be attributed to the year of measurement (i.e., the regression coefficient was small). Nearly 75% of the variation may have been due to another unknown independent factor.

Upon closer study of the database, I noted that much of the drop in sperm count numbers had occurred by the late 1970s; my analysis of the data since 1960 showed no correlation between counts and year of measurement. Thus, it is pertinent to examine an analysis of data between 1940 and the mid-1970s. John MacLeod, a noted reproductive specialist, published an analysis in 1979 that concluded, "We believe that enough data have been presented, then and now, to indicate that there has not been a substantial change in the numerical aspect of semen quality." More importantly, MacLeod showed that the frequency of sperm counts over 100 million per mL had not changed since the 1940s.

The Danish scientists' analysis received attention perhaps because of its association with environmental proliferation of synthetic chemicals, especially those containing chlorine, after the 1940s. But studies of chemical concentrations in relation to sperm count are scarce. Without data, it is easy to speculate. Nevertheless, a critical analysis of the sperm count literature supports two alternative hypotheses. First, sperm counts alone are poor predictors of fertility. Second, if a change in average sperm count indeed occurred, the count dropped to its lowest point sometime after 1960 and has remained stable since. Whether synthetic organochlorine chemicals had anything to do with the drop is debatable, but perhaps the Danish scientists' own perspective is enlightening: "Generally, it is believed that pollution, smoking, alcohol and sexually transmitted diseases play a role." As with the link between lifestyle and cancer, it appears lifestyle may be a very important contributor also to sexual dysfunction.

Allan Felsot is an environmental toxicologist at the Food and Environmental Quality Laboratory.

A bibliography of articles related to this subject is available upon request.

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Pesticide applicator classes offered in Spanish

The Washington State Department of Agriculture is offering classes for Spanish speaking people interested in acquiring a pesticide applicator license.

Each class consists of six days, two hours per day, with an examination scheduled on the last day. Sessions run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. each day, unless otherwise noted.

Classes are free of charge, except for the license fee of $23, which must be paid in order to take the exam. The exam is not mandatory.

Recertification credits will be given also to certified applicators who attend the classes.

Those choosing to take the private applicator exam must: 1. read and write in either English or Spanish

2. have the ability to learn the meaning of technical terms

3. have the ability to perform basic mathematical calculations (add, subtract, divide and multiply)

NOTE: A Worker Protection Standards Verification card will be issued to those who do not pass the Private Applicator exam.

Pre-registration is required! To pre-register or to schedule a general pesticide class in Spanish, call the WSDA at 509-575-2496 and ask for Veronica. English speakers may call the same number to inquire about these classes or to ask about classes offered in English.

Pre-License Training Schedule

High School
*6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
April 22, 23, 24, 25, 29, 3005/01/96None
Yakima/WSDA Building
*6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
May 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 1405/15/96None

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Officially Unofficial

...Alan Schreiber

"Officially Unofficial" is a regular feature that may include information considered inappropriate by some.

**Ciba and Sandoz are merging to form a new company named Novartis, which is Latin for "new skills." Ciba is the largest pesticide company in the world, with annual sales of about $3 billion. Sandoz is about eleventh in size, with annual global pesticide sales of about $1 billion. However, when the sizes of the entire operations of both companies are compared, including pharmaceuticals, agrichemicals and nutrients, Sandoz is the larger company. The combined workforce globally will be 134,000. Although no plans have been formalized, approximately 10% of the employees are expected to be laid off. Both companies are based in Basel, Switzerland, and some layoffs are expected there and in the sales forces of both companies.

**Fenoxycarb (Comply) was classified by EPA as a B2 carcinogen. What this means for the compound is not completely clear. Ciba intends to continue all existing registration efforts on fruit and vegetable crops. The company is pulling or is halting pursuit of any animal health registrations. While exposure data for soon-to-be-registered food crops appear to be low, the same is not true for animal (pet) uses, mainly dips or shampoos that require extensive hand exposure.

**The National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides was successful in forcing quick cancellation of several propargite uses (see articles on propargite in this issue). Emboldened by this effort, it is now attempting to get the Environmental Protection Agency to cancel all remaining uses of propargite. EPA has stated publicly that the remaining uses of propargite do not pose an unacceptable risk. NCAMP gave EPA an April 12 deadline for canceling additional uses of the compound. It is unknown what EPA and NCAMP will do next.

**Do not expect the latest concern about pesticides - their effect on our hormonal system - to go away. EPA is taking this issue very seriously. The agency is committing a fair amount of resources into looking at certain compounds and how they affect endocrine function. EPA has already targeted one compound, dicofol (Kelthane), for further scrutiny because it may be an endocrine disruptor. See Allan Felsot's article in this issue for more information about endocrine disruptors.

**The Gowan Company was named after the daughter of company president Jon Jessan. Gowan is a longtime family name.

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Ten propargite uses canceled

Note: On April 5, registrations of propargite were canceled on 10 fruits and vegetables. The reasons for the action are complex. I have tried to present a brief overview of the regulatory action, the benefits, risks and politics associated with what happened to propargite...Alan Schreiber

Uniroyal Chemical Company agreed April 5 to voluntarily withdraw registrations of the miticide propargite (Omite, Comite) on apple, apricot, peach, pear, plum, fig, cranberry, strawberry, green bean and lima bean. This action is unrelated to the recent proposed revocation of the apple tolerance for propargite due to the court settlement involving the Delaney Clause. The cancellation, effective immediately, will not affect the continued use of propargite on other crops, because EPA believes the remaining uses of propargite do not pose unacceptable risks. Also unaffected are non-food uses, such as the recent 24(c) registration on Washington ornamentals.

The purpose of the action is to reduce dietary cancer risk to an acceptable level. Although EPA believes that food already treated with propargite is safe to eat, it also believes there is reason for concern about lifetime exposure and the fact that infants and children eat proportionately greater amounts of some foods treated with propargite than do adults.

Tolerances for propargite on all 10 crops will be maintained for an indefinite period of time, which means existing stocks can legally be used. EPA plans to revoke the tolerances associated with the 10 uses in perhaps three to four years.

Lynn Goldman, Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxics Substances, urged even stricter restriction, such as immediate revocation of tolerances, making any further use of propargite on the crops illegal (This would have stranded a tremendous amount of fruits and vegetables in commercial channels). EPA will be accepting input from industry on how much more time should be permitted before the tolerances are revoked.

Uniroyal began a study last month that it expects will definitely determine whether propargite is a carcinogen; it is expected to be done in two years. The company plans to address EPA's concerns and may ask for reinstatement of uses in the future, in much the same manner as Rhone-Poulenc did with aldicarb (Temik) on potatoes in the Northwest.

The risk from propargite

EPA requires manufacturers of older pesticides (those registered before December 1984) to conduct and submit new studies to ensure they meet current safety standards. To comply with this requirement, Uniroyal conducted several studies and submitted results to the agency. EPA reviewed new carcinogenicity studies on propargite and completed a dietary risk assessment. Propargite is known to be a B2 carcinogen, based on the finding of intestinal tumors in two separate feeding studies.

According to an EPA source, the agency believes the propargite dietary risk assessment was one of its better risk assessments, because it was based on more actual data than are most risk assessments. For example, the risk assessment included actual data on occurrence of propargite residues in food based on a Uniroyal study. EPA's dietary risk assessment of propargite assumes a lifetime exposure to the pesticide on a variety of crops.

The agency concluded that cumulative dietary risk from all currently registered uses of propargite were unacceptable. Of particular concern to EPA was the significant exposure to infants and children. For example, in the Uniroyal market basket survey, 52% of samples of infant applesauce contained residues of propargite. The EPA defines negligible risk as 0.000001, or one in a million, incidents over a 70-year period.

Nearly nine months ago, EPA determined that the overall dietary cancer risk from propargite was 0.00001.6. Based on these numbers, EPA estimated that continued use of propargite on all registered sites could result in an additional two cancers per year in the U.S. populations.

Apple is the largest contributor, with a risk of 0.000009 (nine in a million). Peach is another large contributor, with a risk of 0.000002.5 (2.5 in a million). Dropping the two uses with the highest risk, the remaining dietary risk would be 0.000004, meaning that EPA would have to cancel additional uses to obtain less than the negligible risk (0.000001) level. The remaining risk was spread across a number of uses, so to reduce the risk from propargite to a level acceptable to EPA would involve cancellation of many uses.

Several uses of propargite pose dietary cancer risks so small that they almost defy legitimate calculation. Mint and hops are two such examples. Dietary risk from propargite use on mint and hops is lower than the negligible risk level.

The action by Uniroyal is expected to reduce exposure to adults and children by more than 85% and to infants by more than 98%. No serious scientific body, including EPA, believes the remaining registered uses of propargite pose an unacceptable risk.

Percent of Dietary Risk by Population Group by Crop

GeneralInfantsChildren (7-12)
remaining uses11.79.613.1

Benefits of propargite

Propargite is the most widely used chemical in the U.S. for control of mites. The compound, produced solely by Uniroyal, was registered in 1969.

Propargite is (or was) registered on ornamental plants, apples, peaches, pears, plums, jojoba, cherries (post-harvest), avocados (post-harvest), sugar beet seed, clover seed, alfalfa seed, apricots, figs, cranberries, grapes, strawberries, green beans, other succulent beans, lima beans, dry beans, potatoes, mint, hops, oranges, nectarines, grapefruit, lemons, field corn, sweet corn, popcorn, grain sorghum, cotton, almonds, walnuts, peanuts and tea.

The cancellation removes an important component of IPM and resistance management programs for many crops.

Propargite is one of the least harmful miticides to natural enemies, such as predatory mites. According to a 1994 National Agricultural Pesticide Impact Assessment Program study, the use of propargite 1) reduces reliance on pesticides, because natural enemies contribute to pest control, 2) helps manage mite resistance, because mites do not appear to quickly develop resistance to propargite 3) helps avoid induced pest problems that result from use of less selective materials. Benefits associated with the use of propargite are thought to be the highest in the Pacific Northwest, due to heavy mite pressure, lack of alternatives and importance of the compound to integrated mite control programs.

The NAPIAP report indicates that propargite use is 3.6 million to 5.1 million pounds of active ingredient per year. EPA's estimate is 1 million to 3 million pounds.

The NAPIAP study estimated the total economic farmgate value of propargite in the U.S. at $240 million a year. The canceled uses account for 10% to 15% of annual use. Based on the assessment, the direct farmgate impact from the loss of propargite is expected to be as much as $40 million per year, with some of the most significant impacts on apples (more than $16 million) and peaches (more than $13 million).

EPA has stated that it will give priority review to alternative miticides for the canceled uses and grant Section 18 emergency exemptions when necessary. Realizing that a cancellation was likely, EPA expedited the registration of abamectin (Agri-Mek) on apple (registration obtained on March 29), providing partial relief for that crop. Other products that might receive expedited review include BASF's pyridaben (Oracle) and American Cyanamid's Pirate.

EPA estimated that the farmgate value of propargite use would be minor ($90 million to $200 million), but significant impacts would be felt in selected localized production areas of affected crops.

Product buyback
Uniroyal will accept product
returns of Omite 30W, 6E,
CR or Comite from growers
who no longer have a labeled
use for the product. The
company will reimburse
growers according to the
price at time of the sale. For
more information, growers
may contact their distributor,
local Uniroyal sales representative
or Uniroyal at 203-573-3774.
Receipts are needed.

The politics of propargite

According to an EPA official, EPA decided at least nine months ago that regulatory action was needed for propargite. The agency believed it had one of the better documented risk cases clearly showing a chronic risk issue and involving infants and children, a subgroup of the population currently favored for EPA regulatory attention. It had a clear risk case, but there was a problem with taking action against the compound. Its use produced benefits of millions of dollars, it was a true IPM tool, and it was important in mite resistance programs. Besides, many of the user groups were in EPA's Environmental Stewardship Program.

EPA's first effort was to work with the registrant. Uniroyal submitted a risk reduction plan to the agency, but it was the opinion of EPA that the plan would not significantly reduce the risk associated with the product. The Uniroyal risk reduction plan for propargite included 1) lower maximum rates, 2) lengthened PHIs for apples and peaches, 3) promotion of IPM to reduce usage, 4) cooperation with food processors to reduce residues on processed commodities, 5) placement of apples and stone fruit on a separate label, and 6) removal of pears and figs from the label.

EPA planned to meet with interested parties in order to obtain voluntary risk mitigation or pursue regulatory action if voluntary mitigation could not be achieved; regulatory actions could include a Notice of Intent to Cancel or placement in Special Review. EPA was prepared to accept Uniroyal's risk reduction measures as an interim step and then work with all interested parties to further reduce risk and try to maintain the benefits of the product's use. (EPA believed any risk reduction measure would have to contain cancellation on apples and peaches.)

In March, EPA shared background information with certain groups and individuals with an interest in propargite. EPA originally intended to gather input from grower organizations to look for risk mitigation measures that would lessen the dietary risk and still maintain the use of the miticide.

On March 23, 1996, the National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides mailed a letter to Lynn Goldman. In that letter, NCAMP called for an immediate emergency suspension of propargite on apples, peaches, plums, figs and pears by April 8, 1996. NCAMP also wanted additional restrictions placed on remaining uses of the compound. NCAMP stated that, "If the agency and Uniroyal are not able to announce emergency steps to stop the high risk uses of propargite by that date, NCAMP will have to act to notify the public about the risks, crops and food commodities associated with propargite's uses." To back up its position, NCAMP stated that, "If the regulatory process cannot work for whatever reason, the media and marketplace can ultimately ensure that the public is notified of the hazards associated with propargite's uses."

It is an unfortunate coincidence that Uniroyal had another product that received such attention by a related interest group. Still fresh in the minds of EPA and the apple industry was the Natural Resources Defense Council campaign and the CBS "Sixty Minutes" program about Alar use on apples. In an April 2 meeting between EPA and representatives of the apple industry, it was clear that the most important issue was to avoid another Alar type crisis in public confidence regarding the nation's food supply. Apples, other tree fruit, cranberries, lima beans and other crops do not have suitable alternatives for propargite but, faced with another Alar crisis, no one was willing to stand up for propargite. The prevailing opinion was to avoid a public relations battle over a compound that has been labeled a carcinogen and commonly occurs in baby food.

EPA and certain user groups wanted this issue settled before the compound was used this growing season. The specter of Alar loomed large, and no one wanted their growers to use propargite and then in the middle of the season find themselves "Alared". In the end, EPA called Uniroyal into a meeting on April 4 and issued the company an ultimatum: pull registrations or else. No user group could openly defend use of the product.

EPA wanted Uniroyal to give up more than apples and peaches, so Uniroyal was forced to give up certain other registrations that would reduce the risk while maintaining the maximum amount of usage. For example, propargite is the only product available for use on cranberry for control of southern red mite. It is registered for use on cranberry only in Massachusetts. By giving up cranberry, Uniroyal reduced theoretical dietary risks by nearly 4%, but actual usage (and risk) was very small. This allowed Uniroyal to keep some of the more important uses, such as corn, potatoes and grapes.

WSU's position
Although existing stocks of
propargite can be legally
used on apricots, peaches,
plums, strawberries, green
beans and lima beans,
Washington State University
will no longer recommend
the use of any product
containing propargite on
these crops.

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Federal Issues


The following tolerances were granted by EPA since the last report (March 1996). These data do not mean that a label has been registered for this use. These pesticides must not be used until a label is registered with EPA or a state department of agriculture.

A=adjuvantD=desiccant D/H=desiccant, herbicide
F=fungicideFA=feed additive G=growth regulatorH=herbicide
I-insecticideN=nematicide P=pheromoneV=vertebrate repellent

(I)Benzoic acid
(I)CyfluthrinBayer5(a) alfalfa, forage
10(a)alfalfa, hay
1(a)cattle, fat
1(a)goats, fat
1(a)hogs, fat
1(a)horses, fat
1(a)sheep, fat
1(a)sunflower, forage
0.02(a)sunflower, seed
0.01(b)corn, forage and fodder, field
0.01(b)corn, grain, field and pop
0.05(b)corn, sweet (K+CWHR)
15(b)corn, sweet, fodder
30(b)corn, sweet, forage
(H)DimethenamidSandoz0.01 beans, dry
0.01corn, sweet, fodder (stover)
0.01corn, sweet, forage
0.01corn, sweet (K+CWHR
0.01peanut, hay
0.01peanut, nutmeat
0.01sorghum, grain, fodder
0.01sorghum, grain, forage
0.01sorghum, grain
(H)ClomazoneIR-40.05 beans, snap
(H)SethoxydimBASF0.5 corn, field, grain
2.5corn fodder
2corn forage
(H)NicosulfuronDuPont0.1 corn, sweet (K+CWHR)
0.1corn sweet, fodder (stover)
0.1corn, sweet, forage
(I)Avermectin B1
and its Delta-8,
Merck0.005cucurbits (cucumbers,
melons, and squashes)
(H)SulfoniumZeneca1 almond, hulls, (of which
no more than 0.3 ppm
is trimethylsufonium)
0.05tree nut group
0.1(c)cattle, fat
1(c)cattle, mbyp
0.2(c)cattle, meat
0.3(c)corn, fodder (of which no
more than 0.2 ppm is
0.1(c)corn forage
0.2(c)corn, grain (of which no
more than 0.1 ppm is
0.1(c)goats, fat
1(c)goats, mbyp
0.2(c)goats, meat
0.1(c)hogs, fat
1(c)hogs, mbyp
0.2(c)hogs, meat
0.1(c)horses, fat
1(c)horses, mbyp
0.2(c)horses, meat
0.05(c)poultry, fat
0.05(c)poultry, liver
0.1(c)poultry mbyp
0.05(c)poultry, meat
0.1(c)sheep, fat
1(c)sheep, mbyp
0.2(c)sheep, meat
polymer with
Oxirane and
BASFexempt when used as an inert
ingredient (surfactant
and dispersing agent)
(H)CadreAmerican Cyanamid0.1 peanut nutmeat
solids and
solubles of
Myrothecium verrucaria
Abbottexemptall food crop and
ornamentals when applied
(V)Meat meal
& red pepper
exemptall raw agricultural commodities
when applied in
accordance with good
laboratory practices
Rohm & Haas1apples

(a) Time limited tolerance expires Nov 15, 1997
(b) Time limited tolerance expires July 5, 1999
(c) Time limited tolerance expires March 9, 1998

Products exempted from FIFRA requirements

Products containing the following active ingredients, alone or in combination with other substances listed below, are exempt from the requirements of FIFRA, provided that further criteria are met. A pesticide product may only include inert ingredients listed in the most current List 4A obtainable by writing to Registration Support Branch (4A Inerts List) Registration Division (7505C), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 401 M St., SW., Washington DC 20460. Other conditions must be met for products to be exempt: each product containing the substance must bear a label identifying the name and percentage (by weight) of each active ingredient and the name of each inert ingredient. Also, the product must not bear claims either to control or mitigate microorganisms that pose a threat to human health, including but not limited to disease transmitting bacteria or viruses, or claims to control insects or rodents carrying specific diseases including, but not limited to, ticks that carry Lyme disease. The product must not include any false or misleading labeling statements, including those listed in 40 CFR 156.10(a)(5)(i) through (viii).

Active ingredients exempted: Castor oil (U.S.P. or equivalent), cedar oil, cinnamon and cinnamon oil, citric acid, citronella and citronella oil, cloves and clove oil, corn gluten meal, corn oil, cottonseed oil, dried blood, eugenol, garlic and garlic oil, geraniol, geranium oil, lauryl sulfate, lemongrass oil, linseed oil, malic acid, mint and mint oil, peppermint and peppermint oil, 2-phenethyl propionate, potassium sorbate, putrescent whole egg solids, rosemary and rosemary oil, sesame (includes ground sesame plant) and sesame oil, sodium chloride (common salt), sodium lauryl sulfate, soybean oil, thyme and thyme oil, white pepper, zinc metal strips (consisting solely of zinc metal and impurities)

Emergency Exemptions (Section 18)

Specific exemptions have been granted for the following uses:

A crisis exemption has been granted for the following use:

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State Issues

Special Local Needs (Section 24c)

Label restrictions for Special Local Needs in Washington: The following pesticide use has been granted label registration by the Washington State Department of Agriculture under the provision of Section 24(c) amended FIFRA.

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Contributors to the Agrichemical and Environmental News:

Alan Schreiber, Allan Felsot, Catherine Daniels, Mark Antone, Carol Weisskopf, Eric Bechtel

If you would like to include a piece in a future issue of the Agrichemical and Environmental News or subscribe to the newsletter, please contact Catherine Daniels.

Contributions, comments and subscription inquiries may be directed to: Catherine Daniels, Food and Environmental Quality Laboratory, Washington State University, Tri-Cities campus, 2710 University Drive, Richland, WA 99352-1671. Phone: 509-372-7495. Fax: 509-372-7491. E-mail:

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