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February 2002, Issue No. 190

A monthly report on environmental and pesticide related issues

In This Issue

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Pesticide Applicator Training
PDF button for Lingonberry article
Pesticide Notification Network Update
PDF button for QBL article
Upcoming Conferences/Announcements
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Stewardship Alliance Making Strides: NPSA 2001 Conference Launches Young Organization into Its Second Year

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Children's Pesticide Exposure in the Seattle Metropolitan Area

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Dr. Richard A. Fenske, Professor of Environmental Health, UW

Pesticide exposure among young children has received national attention since passage of the Food Quality Protection Act by Congress in 1996. Our group at the University of Washington (UW) has conducted several studies of children’s exposures in agricultural communities. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provided us with funding to monitor children in the Seattle metropolitan area. We felt it was important to understand how children are exposed to pesticides in urban and suburban environments and to see if these exposures differed substantially from exposures in agricultural communities.

We determined children’s exposure levels through analysis of urine samples for dialkylphosphate metabolites (the common breakdown products of the organophosphorus, a.k.a. OP, pesticides) and through interviews with parents about pesticide use in and around the home.

Populations Studied

Two communities located in the Seattle metropolitan area were selected for subject recruitment. Community 1 is south of the city of Seattle in King County. This area is densely populated and "urban" in nature. The residents in this area are predominantly lower to middle income and many reside in multi-family dwellings. Community 2 is a suburb north of Seattle in south Snohomish and north King counties. The area is inhabited predominantly by middle to upper-middle income families residing in single-family dwellings.

Children in the study were between two and five years of age. Participants included fifty-eight children from fifty families recruited from Community 1, and fifty-two children from forty-six families recruited from Community 2. The final study group consisted of fifty children from Community 1 and forty-six children from Community 2.

Biological Monitoring

Two urine samples were collected from each child. The first (spring) sample was collected in May-June of 1998, and the second (fall) sample in September-November of 1998. Urine samples were analyzed for the six common OP pesticide metabolites. OP pesticides that contain methyl groups (e.g., azinphos-methyl, phosmet, methyl parathion, malathion) can produce three dimethyl alkylphosphate metabolites, while OP pesticides that have ethyl structures (e.g., chlorpyrifos, diazinon) can produce three diethyl alkylphosphate metabolites. Collectively, these metabolites are known as dialkylphosphates, or DAPs.


Parents were interviewed at the time of the spring sample pick-up. Questions regarding residential environment included home ownership status, length of time at current residence, and housekeeping practices. Residential pesticide use information was gathered by establishing whether the household had any pets, a lawn, or a vegetable or flower garden. Families were asked if a family member or a professional had used pesticides on pets, lawn, garden, or interior of the home within the previous six months. We also asked which specific pesticide products were used and asked to see them if available. When possible we recorded the product name, EPA registration number, application date, and application location. Finally, questions were asked regarding the child’s activities and behaviors, such as the child’s frequency of hand washing, placement of hands in the mouth, and thumb sucking. A brief follow-up questionnaire was administered with the fall sample collection, focusing on insecticide use since the previous sample collection.

Key Findings

Eighty-six percent of the study children (83) had at least one measurable metabolite in the spring sampling, and 92% (88) had at least one measurable metabolite in the fall sampling. Only one of the ninety-six children had no measurable metabolites in either sample. OP pesticide concentrations were similar across seasons (spring and fall) for each community, so the two samples from each child were averaged to represent the metabolite concentrations during the study period (May to November 1998). Table 1 provides descriptive statistics of DAP concentrations in urine collected from the ninety-six study children. No significant differences were found for the median concentrations of either dimethyl or diethyl OP pesticide metabolite concentrations across communities (Mann-Whitney U test, p >.05). However, dimethyl concentrations were higher than diethyl DAP concentrations in both communities. Pooling data from the two communities, the median concentrations of dimethyl and diethyl DAPs were 0.11 and 0.04 µmol/L, respectively. No differences were seen based on gender or age.


Methyl and ethyl OP pesticide metabolite concentrations (µmol/L) (a) in urine samples collected from children living in two communities in the Seattle metropolitan area.


Community 1

Community 2

All Children (b)

Methyl (c)

Ethyl (d)

Methyl (c)

Ethyl (d)

Methyl (c)

Ethyl (d)















10th Percentile







25th Percentile







50th Percentile







75th Percentile







90th Percentile







(a) Concentrations were the average of spring and fall data.
(b) Children included Community 1 and 2.
(c) Methyl is sum of DMP, DMTP, and DMDTP concentrations.
(d) Ethyl is sum of DEP and DETP concentrations.
* p<.001 (statistical test).

The reported residential pesticide use and the corresponding median metabolite concentrations in children are listed in Table 2. Forty-nine families (predominately in Community 2) reported having a garden, and twenty-seven of them had applied pesticides in the garden in the past six months. Only one family reported use of pesticides in the week preceding sample collection. Children living in a household with a garden had significantly higher diethyl concentrations than those without a garden (Mann-Whitney U test, p=.04). Children had significantly higher concentrations (both dimethyl and diethyl) when living in households where garden pesticide use was reported (Mann-Whitney U test, p=.05 and p=.02 for dimethyl and diethyl metabolites, respectively). Significantly higher dimethyl concentrations were found in children who had pets in the household, but no association was found for either dimethyl or diethyl metabolite concentrations and the use of pesticides on family pets. Twenty-three families reported having their homes treated for fleas, cockroaches or other insects, and forty-five families reported using pesticides on their lawns, but children's metabolite concentrations were not significantly different from those whose parents reported no pesticide use. Figures 1 and 2 show the box plots of dimethyl and diethyl concentrations in children's urine, grouped by different residential use of pesticides. Analysis of data gathered through parental interviews regarding child behavior and family hygienic practices did not reveal any significant associations between these practices and metabolite concentrations.


 Residential use of pesticides and the corresponding median dialkylphosphate concentrations (µmol/L) (a) in children living in the Seattle metropolitan area (b).


Dimethyl DAP concentration (Ámol/L)

Diethyl DAP concentration (Ámol/L)

Positive Response (N) (c)

Negative Response (N) (c)

p-value (d)

Positive Response

Negative Response

p-value (d)

Do you have a flower/vegetable garden?

0.14 (49)

0.08 (46)





Do you apply any pesticides to your garden?

0.19 (27)

0.09 (22)





Do you apply any pesticides to your lawn?

0.14 (45)

0.09 (48)





Does this household have any cats or dogs?

0.16 (40)

0.09 (56)





Are any of the following used on your cats and/or dogs? (flea powder, flea collar, or shampoo) (e)

0.15 (18)

0.18 (18)





Since January 1998, has this home been treated for flies, fleas, cockroaches, or other insects (this includes products like Raid, fly strips, etc)?

0.11 (23)

0.11 (73)





(a) Concentrations were the average of spring and fall data.
(b) Seattle metropolitan area included Community 1 and 2.
(c) Numbers of families who responded.
(d) Statistical test.
(e) Four families who owned a dog or cat did not answer this question.



Residential use of pesticides and the distribution of dimethyl dialkylphosphate concentrations (µmol/L) in children living in the Seattle metropolitan area.
Figure 1
*Significantly higher dimethyl DAP concentrations were found in children whose parents reported use of pesticides in their gardens/yards, based on statistical test, p=.05.
ED. NOTE: Figures 1 and 2 are shown in a box plot format. Box plots show the entire distribution of data that were collected. The data in a box plot represent percentiles for the data distribution. In Figures 1 and 2, the data for pesticide metabolites in urine range from the 10th percentile (the bottom of the crossed line or "t") to the 90th percentile of residues (the top of the crossed line). The ends of the box represent, respectively, the 25th and 75th percentile. The horizontal line in the box represents the 50th percentile. Fifty percent of all residues are greater than the value given for the 50th percentile (and 50% are less). Similarly, the 75th percentile value is greater than 75% of all other metabolite residue values.


Residential use of pesticides and the distribution of diethyl dialkylphosphate concentrations (µmol/L) in children living in the Seattle metropolitan area .
Figure 2
*Significantly higher diethyl DAP concentrations were found in children whose parents reported use of pesticides in their gardens/yards, based on statistical test, p=.02.

Significance of the Findings

These findings indicate that nearly all children sampled in the Seattle metropolitan area had measurable OP pesticide metabolites in their urine. The most striking finding was the association between reported residential pesticide use and elevated OP pesticide metabolite concentrations in children. Children whose families reported pesticide use in their gardens had significantly higher concentrations than those who had gardens but reported no use of pesticides. Ten of twenty-seven families who reported using pesticides in their gardens used either chlorpyrifos or diazinon, both diethyl OP pesticides. Increased DAP levels were associated with OP pesticide use in the garden even where the families had not applied pesticides for months.

This biological monitoring survey documents exposures to OP pesticides among children living in urban/suburban communities. The use of urinary metabolites as biomarkers provides an estimate of exposure by all routes (dermal, respiratory, and oral) and assesses actual, rather than potential absorption. Common urinary metabolites are produced by the body following exposure to OP pesticides, so it is not possible to attribute exposure to specific OP pesticides without detailed knowledge of sources and exposure pathways. A number of OP pesticides are registered and used in the United States, and most produce these metabolites. For the findings reported here, it is likely that children's exposure to OP pesticides was the result of both ingestion of food containing pesticide residues and contact with pesticide residues in the residential environment.

Data obtained from the parental interview and follow-up questionnaire were helpful in identifying factors that may influence a child’s pesticide levels. We asked parents about home pesticide use within the previous six months. In many cases, the parent did not know the name of the product used. Often the parent being interviewed was not the parent who had applied the pesticides. If the product was still on hand, we asked to see the product and then recorded important information about the product, such as the active ingredients and the EPA registration number. In some, but not all, of the few cases where professional lawn applicator services were used, we were able to obtain information on products applied.

Socioeconomic indicators, such as annual household income and housing type, were not useful predictors of children's exposure to pesticides in this population. One child’s parents in Community 2 reported buying exclusively organic produce and did not use any pesticides at home. This child was the only subject whose urine samples showed no measurable concentrations of any of the DAP metabolites in the spring and fall samples.

Symptoms related to OP pesticide exposure in this study were not specifically examined, but none were reported by either parents or children. It is unlikely that the exposures observed in this population would have resulted in acute intoxications. There is a lack of scientific knowledge regarding the long-term health effects of low-level exposure to OP pesticides in children. This study lends support to a public health recommendation that, where possible, OP pesticide use should be avoided in areas where children are likely to play. If a residential pesticide application is necessary, it is important to follow the label instructions. Special caution should be taken to avoid contamination of surfaces that are likely to be contacted by children and other occupants. Looking ahead, we hope to sample this population again to determine whether changes are occurring in pesticide exposure among young children.

Dr. Richard A. Fenske is with the University of Washington’s Department of Environmental Health in Seattle. He can be reached at (206) 543-0916 or .

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The Wide World of Lingonberries

Stalking the Elusive Berry in Europe

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Ross Penhallegon, Horticulture Extension Agent, OSU

In 1999, I traveled the eastern United States and Canada to observe and assess North American lingonberry production. This two-week journey ("Stalking the Wild [and Not-So-Wild] Lingonberry," AENews Issue No. 165, January 2000) took me to every nursery and/or grower of lingonberries in Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. I learned that there were only three North American nurseries and six growers producing lingonberries outside of Oregon and Washington. Having seen photographs of vast lingonberry patches, I was searching for one. But giant lingonberry fields proved elusive; the biggest field I found in two weeks of searching was less than one acre, and wild production was sparse as well.

As lingonberries are also grown in Europe, the next phase of this research necessitated looking at the world production of lingonberries. This would of course involve field work. Someone had to travel to Europe and take a look at production and research there. I volunteered to perform this grave task.

But…What Is a Lingonberry?PHOTO Lingonberry field in Sweden

The lingonberry is a small, red fruit grown on bushes less than a foot tall. It is also known as cowberry, partridge berry, mountain cranberry, rock cranberry, dry-ground cranberry, lingen, lingberry, fox berry, and red berry. The name "lingonberry" originated in Sweden. Wild lingonberries are found across the Northern Hemisphere in Alaska, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Labrador, and the Scandinavian countries. The wild plant is quite short, three to six inches tall, and produces fruit on a single bloom. Domestic lingonberries, many of which originated in Europe, are plants that have been cross-bred to grow to eight to twelve inches tall. They have two blooms and produce more fruit than the wild variety.

Lingonberries are used in jams, jellies, preserves, concentrates, and liquors; the berries are also sold fresh. In the mid-1990s, the lingonberry made commercial inroads in nurseries in Oregon, Wisconsin, and Michigan, primarily as an "edible ornamental" plant.

The Adventure Begins

On August 2, 2001, my wife Kate and I took off for Germany and Scandinavia for twenty-eight days of incredible adventure and information gathering. Our first stop was Hanover, Germany, to look at the only known mechanized lingonberry picker. Unfortunately, we arrived on a Friday, and no one was available at the university to help us during the weekend.

Monday we were off to Malmo, Sweden, where we met up with a consultant named Pat Carroll who drove us around half of Sweden looking at grower fields and visiting processors. We toured an eco ag center that was trying to grow lingonberries. We stopped at the world lingonberry germ repository in Balsgard and discovered that the program had been discontinued. This means those of us in the lingonberry industry must find and save as much propagation material as possible.

We found that many of the growers who were trying to grow lingonberries along with other crops did not have small fruit experience. Their lingonberries were not the top priority, therefore production often suffered. A successful pair of growers named Bo and Solveig Nilsson of Moheda were very excited to find out that the lingonberry trade is alive and well in the United States. They have been growing lingonberries for about four years and have developed a very nice line of lingonberry and raspberry jams and jellies.
We stopped in every major town on our trans-Sweden journey, looking for lingonberry products in the grocery stores. We found jams, jellies, and concentrates; in northern Sweden, we even found a lingonberry winemaker. (Interested? He has 40,000 liters to sell!)

From Sweden to Finland

Next we were off to Helsinki, Finland, where we met up with Meeri Saario, the only active lingonberry researcher in Finland. She showed us around her test plots and explained her research, including results from using different mulching materials. She has also uncovered new indications that lingonberries may have some weed-suppressing properties.

We were originally going to get a car and drive around Helsinki, but Meeri surprised us by offering to show us around. Her expertise and local perspective made our visit even more productive. We were able to take several walks in the Finnish forests, where we saw abundant wild populations of lingonberries and bilberries (European blueberries). In Helsinki, we visited a great farmers market, but it was a bit too early for fresh wild lingonberries.

Throughout our travels, we observed fields of grain, corn, and potatoes. European and Scandinavian farmers appear to grow about the same range of crops that is grown in the Willamette Valley. If you ignored the red tile roofs and the different languages, you would think you were in western Oregon. The climate, weather, mountains, lakes, crops, and gardens were all similar to those at home, as were the noxious weeds. In fact, hogweed, the newest noxious weed in Oregon, is growing wild all over Europe and Scandinavia!

On to Estonia

From Finland, we hydrofoiled to Estonia, where we rode a bus from the capital, Tallinn, down to the southern Estonian city of Tartu. There we met Taimi Paal and Dr. Kass, who have been conducting lingonberry research for ten years. Their test plots comprise about two acres or one hectare, on which they test different berry varieties and production methods.

We then drove to the southernmost part of Estonia to look at the wild berries, an area that just happened to be next to the Latvian and Russian border. We were instructed to bring our passports, "just in case." We asked what that meant and were told that the Russians still come across the border unannounced. (That made us feel real safe.) But in the interest of science and the greater goal of cooperative extension, we trudged out into the middle of a yellow pine forest, thirty kilometers from the nearest small town, and looked at wild lingonberry stands.

After we picked about ten liters of the wild berries, our driver said he knew the Russian border guards and would drive us right up near the border. He turned before we actually crossed the border, but it was close enough for me.

One of the most memorable parts of the trip was a stop at Taimi Paal’s farm, which had been in the family for 300 years. They still farmed with horses, tended a huge garden, and had barns made of concrete and rocks. Old mortar shells left over from the last Russian occupation lie rusting away by one of the barns.

Finally, Germany

From Estonia we flew to Munich, Germany. Here we spent time looking for more lingonberry products as well as hazelnut products. Germany is a huge consumer of processed lingonberries and of hazelnut butter and confections, which, of course, any good field researcher would need to sample.

On a side trip to Fussen, Germany, we took a cable car up a 12,000-foot mountain near the Austrian border. We enjoyed some sightseeing at the top, but a cooperative extension agent never rests. On the way back down the mountain, I spotted wild lingonberries growing alongside the cable car route! Our information said that no wild lingonberries were grown in Germany, so we’ll have to go back and investigate this further.

The last day in Munich before heading out, we attended the city’s huge farmers market. We found seven different market stands selling fresh lingonberries. In talking to the vendors, we learned that the source for most of these was the Black Forest--another place we will have to revisit in our quest for the elusive lingonberry.


The most significant thing I learned on my European lingonberry expedition is that Oregon and Washington are now the world leaders in commercial production of lingonberries. That is kind of a scary thought, since our industry is still in its infancy. But this news should be very exciting for Pacific Northwest lingonberry growers. I also discovered that very little research is being conducted on lingonberries elsewhere in the world, which makes our work here even more important. Research is needed to determine which varieties are best to grow, including which have the best yield. Market research is needed to discover the potential for sales and economic viability. The market is strong in Europe, especially in Germany and the Scandinavian countries, which have a tradition of using lingonberry products.

The next international lingonberry conference will be held March 7, 2002, at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora, Oregon. (For updated information, go to Internet URL , then click on "News," then "Upcoming Events." Scroll to March.) North American growers are excited about the potential of this small, red fruit. We hope to pursue appropriate research and launch vehicles such as a Web site and newsletter so that emerging lingonberry information can be shared worldwide.

Ross Penhallegon is a Tri-County Extension Horticulture Agent with Oregon State University. When he is not trotting the globe in search of the elusive lingonberry, he can be found in Eugene, Oregon, at (541) 682-4243 or

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QBL is Now a Tabloid Queen

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Jane M. Thomas, Pesticide Notification Network Coordinator, WSU

I apologize to my subjects that I have been out of contact since "Down the Garden Path with HRH QBL" appeared in Agrichemical and Environmental News (AENews) Issue No. 184, August 2001. You see, things have been a little bit busy. I believe that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is on the brink of finally making the move that has been overdue since "If I Were the Queen of Labels" appeared in the May 2000 AENews (Issue No. 169). Yes, loyal followers, I am sure that EPA will soon be extending me that offer for the position of Queen Bee of Pesticide Labels (that's QBL to you). The whole issue of a QBL post at EPA has been pushed to the forefront by recent events. A small drum roll please...

President Bush has become involved.

QBL National Enkuirer CoverWhen the leader of the free world recently learned what I have asserted since Day One, that there are absolutely NO RULES where pesticide labels are concerned, he simply was horrified. Not only has Mr. Bush taken a personal interest in rules for pesticide labels, so has the nation as a whole. Witness the recent cover of a reputable national publication shown on the following page. Although I quake to sink so low as to pass along a rumor, Royal Sources in Washington are atwitter with the news that President Bush is now exerting hefty pressure on EPA to get on with it and appoint moi as the Queen Bee of Labels.

As to my recent silence, well I have been busy crossing my "i's" and dotting my "t's." (Or vicey versey as my Aunt Connie always says.) Yes, I am prepared to step into the breach and render assistance to EPA. But least anyone think I would be so rude, I will not stick my nose into other people’s business uninvited. (EPA take note: A small tastefully engraved invitation, accented with gold leaf, perhaps on heavy, watermarked linen stock will do nicely.)

However, now that I have completed my preparations for assuming my proper place in the world of pesticide labeling as the QBL, I do have a few items that I feel would benefit from my immediate attention. First I would like, once again, to discuss the burning need for EPA to establish crop definitions. Remember the Royal Rules (see AENews Issue No. 173, September 2000)? If not, I shall supply a small reminder. Let’s begin with the one about Crop Definitions.

I recently came across a supplemental label for Micro Flo's Kumulus DF. On the front page, the supplemental carries the following words: "Dormant, delayed dormant, or postharvest applications for apples and pears." Now we at Washington State University's Pesticide Information Center know that the term "postharvest" (a.k.a. "post harvest" and "post-harvest") refers to applications made to fruit and vegetables after they have been harvested. These are typically fungicides used to prevent storage rots or plant growth regulators used for sprout inhibition on potatoes or onions. The link on the Micro Flo label to "dormant, delayed dormant" was a clue that this product was intended for application to the trees as opposed to application to harvested fruit. Were we not so razor sharp in our thinking, we might have seen this label language and coded this label for post-harvest apple and pear use. Now if EPA had already established those standard definitions that have had me royally ranting for the past year and a half, this potential bit of confusion would not exist. A simple, clear definition of the term "postharvest" would have caused Micro Flo to choose different wording for the front of their supplemental label.

And while I'm on the subject of crop terminology, I would like to revisit a beef (with all due respect to buffalo, ostrich, and The Other White Meat) I mentioned in "If I Were the Queen of Labels." Back in May 2000, I espoused my belief that all lists of crops (or other usage sites) on pesticide labels should be worded so as to be either clearly illustrative or clearly exhaustive. In fact, I feel so strongly about this that I made it one of the Royal Rules.At the time that I drafted the Royal Rules I did not provide a specific example. I would like now to correct that omission. I offer first the following great, glaring, and graphic example, Griffin's Tenn-Cop 5E.

Let me direct your attention to the list following the term "berry" on the Interior Close-Up of the graphic, taken from the use directions portion of the label. I ask you, does this label allow for use on strawberries? Could this product legally be applied to youngberries and marionberries? Inquiring minds would like to know. A similar example is Micro Flo's Diazinon 50W. This label also concerns berries (really, all you conspiracy theorists, this is just a coincidence) but in this case the list is restricted to caneberries. As with the Tenn-Cop label, there are no qualifiers preceding the list of berries. Where does this leave our youngberries? Our marionberries? In a confused state, that is where.

What? Have we (that is the Royal "We") just had an epiphany? This example points out the need for perhaps yet another Royal Rule. I believe we have found the missing 12th step of the Pesticide Label Get Well Program (PLGWP - plugwhup?), a.k.a. the Royal Rules: Label Clarity: Registrants should work unceasingly to reduce confusion in all areas (for example, language and layout) of pesticide labels.

It happens that with the upcoming coronation, HRH QBL has more than enough to concern herself with and shouldn't still be dealing with lists of usage sites on pesticide labels. Come along now registrants, please just follow the Royal Rules and, trust me, we will all be much happier.

I would like to close this missive with one more thought-provoking (for EPA) and soul-search- inducing (for registrants) example. This constitutes another entry for a Down the Garden Path Non-Anom award (see AENews Issue No. 171, "QBL II, No It’s Not a Boat," July 2000, and Issue No. 175, "Call it Confusing, Call it Contradictory, Call it a Non-Anom Nominee," November 2000). The label under Royal Scrutiny is Triple S's Flying Insect Killer. This label was brought to light by PIC's own Charlee Parker, the tireless coordinator of the PICOL Label Database ( The front of the Triple S Flying Insect Killer label states, in no-nonsense capital letters, that the product is "for use only in non food area of industrial and institutional buildings." However, note the final sentence of the precautionary statements inside:

Now what is the REAL message here? We, as a society, often wonder what message we are sending to our young people. Well I have a question for all of you. With label language like this, that has been reviewed and approved by EPA, what message are we sending to our pesticide applicators? Triple S is stating that you can't apply this product anywhere other than nonfood areas of institutional and industrial buildings, then says that if you do decide to make an application in the home, be sure to cover food processing surfaces and utensils and remove your pets. In short, Triple S is telling the users how to safely make an off-label application. Are we encouraging applicators to make off-label applications? I wonder if this is precedent setting. Do you suppose that, by approving this label, EPA is headed toward a policy requiring registrants to include information about making safe off-label applications on every label? Good Heavens! Just imagine how large the labels will have to be. (Quick, order more file cabinets.) EPA, save yourself! Please make me that offer quickly. Once I am appointed, anointed, and coronated, I, the QBL, will put an end to this nonsense.

Jane M. Thomas is the Pesticide Notification Network Coordinator at Washington State University’s Pesticide Information Center. At regular intervals, she removes herself to a nearby telephone booth and dons her Queen Bee outfit, emerging to make the world safe for pesticide applicators and the label-reading public. Depending upon the Royal Mood, she may answer your telephone call at (509) 372-7493 or your e-mail at

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Stewardship Alliance Making Strides

NPSA 2001 Conference Launches Young Organization into Its Second Year

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Sally O'Neal Coates, Editor of Research Publications, WSU

The second National Pesticide Stewardship Alliance (NPSA) conference was held November 27 through 30, 2001. A diverse and enthusiastic group of educators, applicators, industrial representatives, and regulators gathered in Memphis, Tennessee, to exchange information and build a program to foster and enhance cooperative pesticide stewardship efforts throughout the United States and beyond. Organization president Roger Springman spoke for the entire group when he shared the vision of NPSA:

"Pesticide stewardship is more a cooperative venture than an independent one. A safer, better world through improved and enhanced stewardship is a dream we all share. Working together is not only wise, it is effective."

The fledgling NPSA had met for the first time just a year earlier, and conference organizers were justifiably proud of their accomplishments in the interim:

  • By-laws and articles of incorporation had been developed.
  • An advisory council had been formed and had convened.
  • Sponsorship had been secured.
  • An office in Washington, DC had been opened.
  • Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) status with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had been applied for and received.

In his opening address to the attendees, Springman emphasized that the organization’s primary objectives in the coming months would be to obtain and retain members and volunteers; to continue to build and strengthen ties between member groups; to identify priorities; to assemble task forces and subcommittees that would begin progress toward group goals; to secure funding to support an operating infrastructure.

As a conference attendee and first-hand, first-time observer of NPSA, I would have to say that "strength through diversity" is a theme of this organization. The perspectives shared throughout my three days at the conference showed a truly varied and dynamic organization united in the common goal of promoting cooperative pesticide stewardship programs.

Industry and Stewardship

James Borel, president of crop protection with DuPont Agriculture and Nutrition and chairman of the board for the American Crop Protection Association (ACPA), gave the Wednesday morning keynote address. Borel discussed the emerging involvement of industry in pesticide stewardship. He spoke of crop protection as a mature industry and of the need to turn resources and attention toward environmental stewardship. (This shift is reflected in ACPA’s name change to CropLife America, effective January 1, 2002.) Although NPSA members need no reminding, Borel pointed out the challenge of providing food and fiber for a population approaching eight billion while meeting the public expectation of zero pesticide-related health incidents.

Those Pesky Labels

We all know that pesticide labels are our friends. These helpful little (and not-so-little) documents are the result of long hours of labor on the part of registrants and regulators, not to mention researchers. They are chock-full of everything we need to know about applying the specific pesticide, if we can but decipher them. Or are they?

The good, bad, and ugly aspects of pesticide labels reared their heads throughout the conference. Jane M. Thomas drew gales of laughter by poking fun at some of the more glaring examples of confusion and contradictory pesticide labels she comes in contact with as Pesticide Notification Network Coordinator for Washington State University. In keeping with her alter ego, the Queen Bee of Labels, Thomas’ presentation offered Royal Rules and Sovereign Suggestions for ways to improve label legibility. Not missing a beat, EPA’s Amy L. Breedlove entered the fray with some unequivocally GOOD news about actual IMPROVEMENTS in labels. A labeling expert with EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs, she shared some of the recent successes and progress toward success in simplifying and clarifying label language, including the basic provisions of the Consumer Labeling Initiative (CLI), which we will expand upon in an upcoming issue of AENews. EPA’s Jay Ellenberger, Associate Director of Field and External Affairs, detailed the proposed product labeling for spray and dust drift, which was released August 22, 2001. Comments on the draft were due January 19, 2002. The goal of this document was to cover as many spray and dust uses and products as practical, from agricultural to horticultural to home and garden. In pursuit of clarity, basic terms including "drift" itself are defined, and both general and method-specific directives are specified. The document pertains to spray and dust products only, not to fumigants, granulars, or other formulations. The final guidance statement and implementation plan are targeted for release this summer or fall (2002), with new labeling statements due on most products by October 2003.

Tips and Resources for Would-Be Stewards

Between the formal conference sessions, the small but enthusiastic trade show, and informal conversations among conference participants, a wealth of assistance with environmental stewardship was available at the conference. Packets from the National Agriculture Compliance Center, for example, were distributed. Known as "Ag Center" for short, this resource was developed in 1995 by EPA’s Office of Compliance to help the ag community better understand environmental requirements so they might meet established standards. They can be reached toll-free at (888) 663-2155 or on-line at

Crop Data Management Systems, Inc. ( gave a presentation on their relational database and software for crop protection consultants, as well as their product, which provides pesticide labels on compact disc, updatable annually via Internet download.

David Kammel from the University of Wisconsin at Madison offered some practical advice in his provocatively titled talk, "Rinsate Management: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell." Kammel’s slide show graphically illustrated the perils of improper rinsate management. Unlike some dramatic presentations that are long on pointing out the problem but short on suggesting solutions, this presentation did a good job of explaining practical considerations for implementing rinsate management appropriate to various climates, soils, and operation sizes.
An entire session of tips and tidbits for pesticide safety educators was offered the second day of the conference. Patricia Hipkins from Virginia Tech demonstrated the visual impact of using fluorescent dyes to simulate pesticides in applicator training. Carol Ramsay from Washington State University shared some successes she has had implementing game-playing into training sessions (watch for her upcoming article on a Jeopardy®-style game format in the Journal of Pesticide Safety Education, ). Susan Whitney from the University of Delaware detailed a case history of using focus group and survey data in pesticide applicator training. And I, your humble AENews editor, offered a few tips on matching your message and your media to the mindset of your audience.

Security is Everybody’s Business

In the shadow of September 11, anti-terrorist activities were very much in the forefront of every American’s mind. Conference organizers had responded to this by including a special session on chemical security. It may have been my imagination, but when former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and current Director of Corporate Security for DuPont Chemical, Ray Mislock, spoke, everyone came to attention. Here was a man responsible for global security of an international chemical company in sixty-seven countries. Hearing his calm and measured delivery of DuPont’s point-by-point response to the September 11 attacks made me realize that SURELY we can all lock our cabinets and warehouses and monitor access to our facilities.

Jay Ellenberger said a few words about EPA’s pesticide security efforts, including some outside-the-box thinking about intentional misuse of pesticides and how to avoid it. One of EPA’s many roles is that of chair for the Federal Emergency Response Team, comprising sixteen government agencies.

Both Mislock and Ellenberger echoed many of the conclusions we drew in the November 2001 Special Edition of AENews (No. 187, Focus on Agriculture and Food Terrorism), especially that threats most often come from within, therefore limiting access limits threats. Both speakers also pointed out that government and industry’s attention to chemical security started long before September 11. The American Chemistry Council had formed a plant site security subcommittee in late 2000, releasing their Site Security Guidelines for the U.S. Chemical Industry October 1, 2001. A companion volume addressing transportation was also released in October. Both publications, which serve as tools for risk assessment and incident prevention, not as regulations, are available at the council’s Web site,

Lunchtime Luminaries

America’s policy makers and enforcers were also present at the NPSA conference. Al Jennings from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Steve Johnson from EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances addressed the group during Wednesday’s lunchtime session. Jennings outlined the history and purpose of his department, and emphasized the increasing importance of crop profiles and pest management strategic plans, and Johnson spoke of EPA’s role in homeland security and continuing efforts toward stewardship.

Thursday, the group enjoyed a presentation by Cam Davreux, Vice President of CropLife Canada, a stewardship organization focusing on agrichemcals, biotechnology, and urban issues across Canada. Over the last twelve years, explained Davreux, seven major programs have evolved under the banner "Stewardship First," with the overall objective being to manage agrichemicals for the entire product life, from research and development to manufacturing, from safe storage and use through disposal and recycling.

Wide World of Waste

Collection of waste pesticides and recycling of used pesticide containers is a hot topic among NPSA members; many representatives of state waste collection programs and partner industries were present. In a panel discussion moderated by Washington State Department of Agriculture’s (WSDA’s) Joe Hoffman, I learned that North Carolina, in 1980, was the first state to institute a coordinated program of waste pesticide collection. Washington’s program began in 1988 with $239,000 in funding and an initial collection of twenty-one tons of waste pesticide in a single day. To streamline collection events, today’s participants must sign up with WSDA in advance and submit an inventory. (See WSDA waste disposal information under Upcoming Conferences and Announcements, below.) There is no charge for the disposal service, and WSDA becomes the owner and official "generator" of the substances collected.

Representatives from several other states shared their program perspectives. Pennsylvania’s program differs from Washington’s in that:

  1. collection takes place at the grower’s business (under supervision of a department of agriculture inspector) rather than at a central collection point;
  2. a waste contractor performs the collection service and becomes the "generator;" and
  3. the funding comes from a specific pesticide-related fund, as opposed to a state general fund. Virginia’s program is similar, doing the "milk-run" (door-to-door) approach, using a contractor for collection and disposal, and requiring advance paperwork.

The Texas program is coordinated by the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission and involves a range of state and county recycling and disposal programs. Funding comes from emissions permits and no advance inventory is required. Wisconsin takes county involvement a step further, in that primary funding is county-based voluntary grants and the counties are the waste "generators." The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (WDA) performs more of an oversight function, coordinating the counties with the private firm hired by WDA to do the collection. Wisconsin’s state funding comes from registration fees, a fixed amount of which is set aside each year for chemical collection.

Other sessions pertaining to waste management and recycling included case histories of specific container recycling programs; novel and alternative practices such as incorporating organic absorption, biological degradation and other non-incineration techniques; marketplace and technical recycling considerations; and international disposal and recycling.

But…Are We Making Progress?

Without a doubt, the work of the individuals present at the conference is making a difference in improving environmental stewardship with respect to pesticides. In addition to more than a dozen presentations on waste management, sessions discussing buffer zones (implementation, pros and cons, incentives for establishment), integrated pest management, outreach efforts, public relations, and interagency cooperation were productive and encouraging. But this is no time to rest on our laurels. Kathleen A. Thuner, Agricultural Commissioner of San Diego County, California, illustrated both the vastness of the worker protection problem and some practical steps toward a solution in her Friday morning presentation on the Field Worker Protection Initiative. The project began with a confidential survey of field workers in San Diego County that revealed some alarming statistics, including:

  • Thirty-two percent of male field workers surveyed had never visited a doctor.
  • The majority of fieldworkers, if they become ill, return to Mexico, which means that these illnesses are not reported in U.S. statistics.
  • The language and culture of most Spanish-speaking field workers causes them to view pesticides as far less dangerous than their U.S. English-speaking counterparts view them.

The Field Worker Protection survey led to the formation of a monthly workgroup in January 2000. This group now includes twenty-eight participants from a wide range of perspectives including health care organizations, regulatory agencies, and worker representatives. Some of the areas identified and targeted for change include:

  • Improved housing (as opposed to makeshift shacks and tents without laundry and sanitation facilities).
  • Physician and health-care worker training in recognizing pesticide-related illness (the average U.S. physician receives four hours total training in this area).
  • Community outreach (such as providing health and sanitation tools and information in non-traditional settings such as swap meets and sending trained and trusted bilingual women into the community to educate other women one-on-one).

Looking Ahead: Strengths, Challenges

The debriefing session held on Friday morning pointed out the strengths and challenges of this young, vital organization, both of which stem from its diversity. While some favored using the organization and its conference as a vehicle for sharing progress on research, others felt the main job was to influence policy. Still others felt that hands-on stewardship projects (disposal, reclamation, recycling) should be the primary if not the only focus. Workgroups are being formed to deal with these and other thorny questions in the year ahead.

The 2002 NPSA conference is just around the corner. Coming to the Pacific Northwest this time, NPSA members will gather at the Renaissance Madison Hotel in Seattle August 25 through 28. For information on the conference as it develops or on how you can be a part of the National Pesticide Stewardship Alliance, see their Web site at .

Sally O'Neal Coates is the Editor of Agrichemical and Environmental News. Her office is in the Pesticide Information Center at Washington State University’s Tri-Cities branch campus, where she can be reached at (509) 372-7378 or

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Pesticide Applicator Training

Washington State University (WSU) provides pre-license and recertification training for pesticide applicators. Pre-license training provides information useful in taking the licensing exam. Recertification (continuing education) is one of two methods to maintain licensing. (The other is retesting every five years.)

Course registration (including study materials) is $35 per day if postmarked 14 days prior to the first day of the program you will be attending. Otherwise, registration is $50 per day. These fees do not include Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) licence fees. For WSDA testing sites, schedule, or other testing information, call 1-877-301-4555.

For more detailed information about WSU's pesticide applicator training, call the Pesticide Education Program at (509) 335-2830 or visit the Web site at

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PNN Update

The Pesticide Notification Network (PNN) is operated by WSU's Pesticide Information Center for the Washington State Commission on Pesticide Registration. The system is designed to distribute pesticide registration and label change information to groups representing Washington's pesticide users. PNN notifications are now available on our web page. To review those sent out two months prior to this issue's date, either access the PNN page via the Pesticide Information Center On-Line (PICOL) Main Page on URL or directly via URL We hope that this new electronic format will be useful. Please let us know what you think by submitting comments via e-mail to Jane Thomas at

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Announcements & Upcoming Conferences

ACRC Announces Improved Recycling Services

NW Ag Plastics Expands to Oregon and Idaho
Western Ag Plastics to Serve SW States

In December 2001, the Ag Container Recycling Council (ACRC) announced improvements in recycling services in the western states.

Northwest Ag Plastics, Inc. (NWAP) has successfully collected plastic agricultural chemical containers in Washington State in partnership with the Washington Pest Consultants Association (WaPCA). Now NWAP will expand its services into Oregon and Idaho.

In the Southwest, the ACRC has appointed a new contractor, Western Ag Plastics, Inc. (WAP), a subsidiary of San Joaquin Helicopter. Based in Delano, California, WAP will be responsible for container collections in California, Arizona, and Nevada, and will develop programs in Utah and Hawaii.

ACRC is a non-profit organization that promotes and supports collection and recycling of HDPE crop protection product containers. Over forty leading companies involved in the discovery, development, manufacturing, formulating, packaging, and distribution of crop protection products support the ACRC, including all the members of CropLife America (formerly the American Crop Protection Association). For more than a decade, farmers and other crop protection product users have recycled plastic HDPE containers at no charge thanks to the ACRC and its partners. To date, the ACRC has recycled enough containers that, placed end to end, would criss-cross the United States more than five times!

For information on NWAP’s programs in Washington, Oregon, or Idaho, contact Clarke Brown at (509) 457-3850 or see the Web site at Internet URL . As always, AENews will carry a detailed schedule of recycling event dates and locations as soon as they become available this spring. For information on WAP’s programs in the southwest, contact Lee Brown, Jr., at (661) 721-3247. For more information on the ACRC as a whole, visit the Web site at Internet URL or call toll free (877) 952-2272.

Three International Invertebrate Pathology Conferences Team Up in Brazil

The third International Colloquium on Invertebrate Pathology and Microbial Control (ICIPMC) will join forces with the thirty-fifth annual meeting of the Society for Invertebrate Pathology (SIP) and the sixth International Conference on Bacillus thuringiensis (ICBt) this August in Foz do Iguassu, Brazil.

Plenary sessions, symposia, and oral contributed sessions will be held throughout the conference. Workshops on specific topics of interest to a variety of sub-groups will be held on Friday morning. Poster sessions are scheduled Monday through Thursday. Divisional meetings are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday evening. Student paper and poster competitions will be held, with awards provided by the SIP. The SIP business meeting is planned for Thursday afternoon. The meeting concludes on Friday.

The deadline for receipt of abstracts for contributed papers and posters, as well as for complete papers for plenary lectures, symposia, and workshops is April 15, 2002. The official language for presentations is English.

For more information about the Society for Invertebrate Pathology, see

August 18 to 23, 2002
Foz do Iguassu, Brazil

Registration form and other information is available at
April 30 is the deadline for early registration.

WSDA Waste Pesticide Collection Schedule

Spring 2002

Collection Site (Nearest City) Collection Date Sign Up by Inventory to WSDA by
Walla Walla March 19 February 14 February 20
Pasco March 20
Quincy March 21
 Ellensburg April 22 March 15 March 25
Pullman April 23
Colbert April 24
Davenport April 25
 Yakima May 20 & 21 April 17 April 25
Wenatchee May 22
Okanogan May 23
 Lynden June 18 May 15 May 23
Snohomish June 19
Puyallup June 20
Olympia June 21

Fall 2002

Collection Site (Nearest City) Collection Date Sign Up by Inventory to WSDA by
Coupeville September 16 August 7 August 15
Mount Vernon September 17
Seattle September 18
East King County September 19
Longview September 20
Prosser October 15 September 10 September 18
Orondo October 17

Washington State Department of Agriculture provides these disposal events as a service to the agricultural producers of Washington State. There is no charge, but pre-registration is required. For more information or to sign up, contact:

WSDA Waste Pesticide Program
PO Box 42589
Olympia, WA 98504-2589
(360) 902-2056
Toll free (877) 301-4555


Washington Crop Profiles Available On-Line

In response to a 1998 request by the US Department of Agriculture's Office of Pest Management Policy (USDA/OPMP), each state is producing documents called "Commodity and Pest Management Profiles," or "crop profiles" for short. A list of crop profiles by state is available through a national Web site maintained by North Carolina State University. Washington State's crop profiles are also available in an easy-to-read, printable PDF format. Click on any of these buttons to see the corresponding profile.

Link to Apple Profile
Link to Barley Profile
Link to Bedding Plants Profile
Link to Beet Seed Profile
Link to Cabbage Seed Profile
Link to Canola Profile
Link to Carrot Profile
Link to Christmas Tree Profile
Link to Cranberry Profile
Link to Dry Pea Profile
Link to Garlic Profile
Link to Ginseng Profile
Link to Hops Profile
Link to Hybrid Poplar Profile
Link to Lentil Profile
Link to Lettuce Profile
Link to Raspberry Profile
Link to Rhododendron and Azalea Profile
Link to Spinach Seed Profile
Link to Sugar Beet Profile


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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 discuss submission of an article, please contact Dr. Allan Felsot at (509) 372-7365 or; Dr. Catherine Daniels at (509) 372-7495 or; Dr. Doug Walsh at (509) 786-2226 or; Dr. Vincent Hebert at (509) 372-7393 or; or AENews editor Sally O'Neal Coates at (509) 372-7378 or

Comments and questions: Technical Assistance: Copyright © Washington State University / Disclaimer Electronic Publishing and Appropriate Use Policy University Information: 509/335-3564