Monday, August 31, 2015

The Sustainable Use Of Pesticides

The Sustainable Use Of Pesticides

Pesticides and Herbicides are known as Plant Protection Products in Europe. There is plenty of confusion in the UK, and Italy, and France, and the entire European Union as to allowed, banned, and Candidate For Substitution alternatives. But the concept of the “Sustainable Use Of Pesticides” is fact, and written into law. From the EU Pesticide Database: The Sustainable Use Of Pesticides - Click on “National Action Plans” for Member States.

The 77 Candidates For Substitution (Allowed Active Substances)

The process of comparative assessment and substitution by Member States is expected to contribute to the use of plant protection products that require less risk mitigation and of non-chemical control or prevention methods. Overall it contributes to a more sustainable use of pesticides as foreseen by Directive 2009/128/EC. In the longer term, comparative assessment and substitution provide an additional incentive for the pesticides industry to further innovate and develop active substances and PPPs with less hazardous properties.

After 1 August 2015, Member States Authorities are required to apply comparative assessment to new applications for authorization, renewal or extension of use of a PPP containing a CfS. The publication of the CfS list does not have an impact on existing authorizations and does not trigger an immediate review of existing authorizations. On 1 August 2015, the overall process of comparative assessment and, where appropriate, substitution (see above) will start for new applications. However, it must be emphasized that:
- The active substances which meet the criteria for CfS remain approved active substances.

View Active Substances legal info:

The effort to cease the use of toxic compounds across 28 Member States has been a long quarter century struggle. There are updates for August 2015.

The European Commission is required by Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 (‘the Regulation’)
to establish a list of substances identified as “candidates for substitution” (CfS). The list
identifies active substances with certain properties. For plant protection products (PPPs)
containing these active substances, Member States will be required to evaluate if they can be
replaced (substituted) by other PPPs.

From the EUROPEAN COMMISSION - HEALTH AND CONSUMERS DIRECTORATE-GENERAL The European Commission is required by Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 to establish a list of substances identified as “candidates for substitution”. The list identifies active substances with certain properties.

For plant protection products (PPPs) containing these active substances, Member States will be required to evaluate if they can be replaced (substituted) by other adequate solutions (chemical and non-chemical). To prepare such a list, the Commission requested a consultant to prepare a report on the implementation of the criteria set by the Regulation. The report does not contain any official listing, but presents different options drawn from possible interpretations of the criteria.

Member States and stakeholders were consulted on the approach taken and on the input values taken to determine if an active substance qualifies to be a candidates for substitution. The information is grouped in a comprehensive database that will be updated on a regular basis. The current draft list contains 77 candidates for substitution.

In the UK, Imazapyr didn't make the list:

Approval Of Ative Substances, The List of 77 Approved CfS, Current Procedures

Go to bottom of page to view PDF documents

Under the Heading of Information and Raising Awareness is “Relevant National Links:

For each Member State shown, a PDF document loaded with links is provided categorized and well organized to assist in establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides.

In short, Imazapyr is not allowed on the European Marketplace for sale.

It is however available under an Essential Use Exemption. Non-essential use of pesticides refers to the use of pesticides for aesthetic reasons, primarily to maintain lawns and gardens. Essential use of pesticides refers to the use of pesticides to protect public health, protect forests against insect infestations or protect agricultural products from adverse impacts.

Exemptions abound even with the use of neonicotinoids. Previous research had found that the three pesticides; clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, posed an environmental risk when used as seed treatments or granules, prompting the European Commission to limit their use from Dec. 1, 2013. The use of the three neonicotinoid substances in seed or soil treatments is prohibited in the European Union for crops attractive to bees and for cereals other than winter cereals except in greenhouses. The European Crop Protection Association, which represents the European pesticide industry, has said the research was flawed.

NEW - A legal challenge has been launched on a British decision to allow some farmers to use neonicotinoids after London won an exemption from the EU restrictions. Those demanding greater protection for bees stress the insects' economic value. Some 75 percent of crops traded on the global market depend on pollinators and the value of pollination in Europe is estimated at 14.6 billion euros.

Some things start good and go bad. Somethings start bad and stay bad. John Trudell

Even going back to the 2003 Directive which listed 320 chemicals for removal from the marketplace, Imazapyr remained available for Essential Use (exemption), as did Atrazine.

Pesticide Bans In The United States Of America

In 1979, Mendocino County, California was one of the first local jurisdictions in the country to pass a pesticide ordinance, in this case prohibiting the aerial application of phenoxy herbicides, such as 2,4,5-T. The measure was passed after an incident in 1977 that resulted in herbicide drift on school buses nearly three miles away from the application site. A California State Supreme Court decision upheld the right of citizens to adopt more protective standards than the state and federal government. (The People v. County of Mendocino, 1984) The California legislature then adopted legislation to preempt that right. The issue of federal preemption of local ordinances made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in 1991 that federal law (the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, FIFRA) does not preempt local jurisdictions from restricting the use of pesticides more stringently than the federal government. (Wisconsin Public Intervenor v. Ralph Mortier) However, the ability of states to take away local authority was left in place. The pesticide lobby immediately formed a coalition, called the Coalition for Sensible Pesticide Policy, and developed model legislation that would restrict local municipalities from passing ordinances regarding the use or sale of pesticides on private property. The Coalition lobbyists descended upon states across the country, seeking and passing, in most cases, preemption legislation that was often identical to the Coalition’s wording.”

Explicit Preemption. Twenty-nine states have nearly identical preemption language that explicitly preempts localities from adopting stricter legislation that would regulate the use of pesticides. Most states’ preemption clauses read similar to the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Model State Pesticide Preemption Act.” It states, “No city, town, county, or other political subdivision of this state shall adopt or continue in effect any ordinance, rule, regulation or statute regarding pesticide sale or use, including without limitation: registration, notification of use, advertising and marketing, distribution, applicator training and certification, storage, transportation, disposal, disclosure of confidential information, or product composition.” Escerpted from: Pesticides and You, Vol. 33, No. 3, Fall 2013.

Maryland is one of seven states that does not prohibit local governments from enacting protections from pesticides that are stricter than state laws.

Montgomery City Council Members in May 2015 “asked that hospitals in our County assume a leading role in increasing awareness of the health concerns regarding pesticides by voluntarily agreeing to eliminate their use on hospital grounds.”

According to the letter, “There are strong signals from leading medical professionals that there is a fundamental need to reduce the amount of pesticides to which individuals are exposed.” Efforts behind the county bill and this latest request for hospitals to limit toxic pesticide use are driven in large part by concerns that have been raised by concerned residents, as well as the medical community about the potential negative impacts of exposure to pesticides on human health.

In addition to this new request, the Council is considering “The Safe Lawn” Bill 52-14,

The Safe Lawn” Bill was introduced last fall and would limit the use of non-essential pesticides on County lawns, certain athletic playing fields and County-owned public grass areas Council President Leventhal is the lead sponsor of the bill that is considered a landmark ordinance that would protect children, pets, wildlife, and the wider environment from the hazards of unnecessary lawn and landscape pesticide. The bill is supported by Safe Grow Montgomery, a local coalition of individual volunteers, organizations and businesses, working to prevent exposure to chemicals that run-off, drift, and volatilize from their application site, causing involuntary poisoning of children and pets, polluting local water bodies such as the Chesapeake Bay, and widespread declines of honey bees and other wild pollinators.

Now that's grassroots.

The corporate industrial solution by the application of Imazapyr leaves Dead Standing Trees, in forests intentionally killed, which have no ecological function, threatening fire hazards to local communities. How a tree dies is critical to it's use through the decay stages – whether standing or on the ground. It's size is important living or dead. Tan Oaks are a magnificent species. Tanoaks can form dense, sometimes nearly pure stands in early succession but is typically overtopped by conifers decades later, often becoming dominant in the subcanopy. Conifers regain dominance about 70 years after logging on mixed-evergreen sites in northern California. A 24-year study on a productive northern California site found tanoak seed production was more consistent than that of associated California black oaks (Quercus kelloggii) and Pacific madrones. Tanoak production was mostly light. Tanoak acorn production in a heavy seed year ranged from 220,000 to 420,000 sound acorns/ha. Annual number of acorns/tree can range from 3,900 to 110,000. Mean annual production of tanoaks between 18 and 24 inches (46-61 cm) in DBH is estimated at 3,900 to 4,600 acorns. Studies in Oregon and northern California found over 99% of tanoak acorns were consumed (Thornburgh 1994).

Mendocino Redwood Company has a glossy PR coating, convincing even Greenpeace. In it's Case Study number 04, “FSC AT Work” of the Forest Stewardship Council Certification of MRC, actually states: 1) Abiding by FSC’s Principle 6, Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC)’s forest management plan prohibits logging of the endangered northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) habitat, 2) As required by FSC Principle 6, MRC explored alternatives to a minimal use of Imazapyr, and carefully weighed environmental concerns including not using the herbicide in watercourse protection zones. MRC plans to phase out the use of the chemical by 2020.

Again: “As required by FSC Principle 6, MRC explored alternatives to a minimal use of Imazapyr, and carefully weighed environmental concerns including not using the herbicide in watercourse protection zones.”

MRC lists the amount of chemical usage on its website, monitors chemicals in the water table, doesn’t use the herbicide within the watercourse protection zones, and plans to phase out the use of the chemical by 2020. As a result of local concerns, certifying body SCS published a thorough discussion of the use of Imazapyr and found that MRC retained adequate levels of tanoak in areas treated with the chemical and that, for the most part, MRC’s use of the chemical did not present a non-conformance with relevant FSC indicators. The certifying bodies did, however, issue a Minor Corrective Action request to ensure that a MRC employee with a chemical application license would be present during the Imazapyr applications 100% of the time, and that MRC provides additional training to ground crews.”
Footnotes: Mendocino Redwood Company, Key Policies: Herbicides 2013. Available at:
additional footnotes:
Grady, Brendan, Scientific Certification Systems (2012) op cit., p 18.
Citation: Greenpeace – April 2014 FSC At Work Case Study number 04

Actually Mendocino Redwood Company had no input or consideration to make regarding the use of Imazapyr near watercourses, riparian zones, stream banks, or wet areas - New York and California are the only two States that prohibit Imazapyr's use near watercourses, riparian zones, stream banks, or wet areas. This can be found on the label and MSDS for Imazapyr.

MRC states in it's THP's under “Cumulative Impacts” that “no herbicide use is not a feasible option”. Their argument is based on a scenario of loss. MRC fears losing 30 percent to 70 percent of growth in a location in one year. But loss of growth doesn't mean anything. The highest growth rates occur when trees are real young and there is no merchantable volume. Sounds like an inverse proportional statement to Cumulative Mean Annual Increment of growth – where the growth rate is minimal, but growth in terms of volume as a percent of inventory is huge.

MRC has adaptively managed it's data to certified newspeak green leveraged heights for Redwood Certification.

And my favorite Greenpeace endorsement:
To meet FSC’s requirement for well managed forests, MRC uses a silvicultural method called “variable retention” which retains 10 percent to 50 percent of the original tree stands.” “MRC’s conifer inventory has increased by 41 percent over the initial inventory in its 15 years of operation.”

Under MRC's Option A, (the rules the company authored for itself as the Option A allows under the FPR), it receives a bonus for each use of Variable Retention. That 10 percent and 30 percent or 50 percent is calculated at one and one half times the actual acreage and board feet towards total landscape wide inventory (HCP area). So they take 3 percent of landscape out for roads, and multiply these minor aggregate stands of what's left by 150 percent and voila... conifer inventory is recovering quickly, but only in the columns and ledgers. (Aggregate Retention stands are what they are called under Variable Retention)

By invoking the 'Copyright Disclaimer' Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use."

§ 107. Limitations on exclusive rights- Fair use: Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

If you or anyone wish to use copyrighted material from this article for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Tomas DiFiore