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CAL-EPA ANNOUNCES POSSIBLE SUSPENSION OF 3,000 PESTICIDE PRODUCTS

CAL-EPA ANNOUNCES POSSIBLE SUSPENSION OF 3,000 PESTICIDE PRODUCTS
 SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- James M. Strock, secretary for environmental protection, today announced the beginning of suspension action against more than 3,000 pesticide products whose manufacturers failed to meet a Jan. 1 deadline to complete required toxicity studies.
 "Cal-EPA's first task is to enforce the law," said Strock. "In beginning suspension actions today against companies which have not performed health effect studies, we will ensure that we have all information necessary to protect the public health. We are placing the burden for demonstrating safety where it should be: upon those who create the chemicals."
 Strock added that pesticide manufacturers have known since the 1984 passage of the Birth Defect Prevention Act (SB 950, Petris) that they would have to submit chronic health effects data on California-registered pesticides.
 "Our action today will not surprise those companies who have chosen not to comply with the law," said Strock. "While important products could face suspension, it is our hope that companies will work immediately to fill data gaps that now exist."
 On Wednesday, Jan. 15, Cal-EPA's Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) sent notices of impending suspension to hundreds of pesticide companies within and outside California. The action affects 57 pesticide active ingredients, contained in more than 3,000 products sold in California. The products include major agricultural chemicals, such as the weedkiller, 2,4-D, and chemicals found in the majority of household insecticides, including boric acid, resmethrin and propoxur. Also facing suspension is the pesticide DEET, the key active ingredient in human and many animal insect repellents.
 Several disinfectants are also targeted. "Although the word 'pesticide' is most often associated with chemicals that kill insects and weeds, disinfectants and other chemicals that kill bacteria and other microbes are also pesticides," said James W. Wells, CDPR interim director. Disinfectants subject to suspension include some home sanitizers, pool chlorination products, and ethylene oxide, a widely used low-heat sterilant with many medical, dental, and hospital uses.
 Strock stressed the chemicals were facing suspension not because they posed known hazards, but because manufacturers had failed to meet deadlines to submit required studies.
 "It is also important to reiterate that extensive health and environmental testing, including long-term toxicity testing, has been required since 1984 for all new pesticide active ingredients," said Strock. "Chemicals registered for use prior to the 1984 passage of SB 950 are subject to a data call-in to gather the required health effects information, and it is those chemicals that may face suspension."
 SB 950 required the state to collect chronic toxicity data for all pesticide active ingredients registered in California. The original law was amended in 1991 by legislation (SB 550, Petris, and AB 1742, Hayden) requiring suspension action be taken against any pesticide with outstanding studies as of Jan. 1, 1992.
 The suspension process begins with a notice of impending suspension to affected manufacturers, formulators or other registrants, including distributors who put their own labels on products. Suspension notices affect a pesticide active ingredient and all products containing the ingredient.
 The law makes provision for granting extensions of time to generate required data, provided certain criteria are met. To qualify for an extension, the company responsible for generating the data must have submitted eight of the required 10 studies, already initiated the other two, and have a record of timely and appropriate compliance with previous requests for data.
 Registrants and other interested parties may also request a deferral of suspension while studies are being completed. Deferrals can be granted if substantial economic hardships or impacts on public health or the environment would occur if the pesticide is suspended, if continued use would not mean significant unmitigated human exposure to the product, and there is a lack of feasible alternatives. Should suspension be deferred, all studies for the active ingredient must be initiated by June 15, 1992, or registration will be suspended.
 If a pesticide's registration is suspended, all sales by registrants must stop; however, sales by retail dealers may continue for up to two years, and product in the hands of consumers can continue to be used.
 Wells added that submittal of studies was just one step in evaluation of a chemical. If significant adverse health effects are identified in the studies, the products will still be subject to cancellation if mitigation measures cannot provide an adequate margin of safety.
 -0- 1/16/92
 /CONTACT: Veda Federighi of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, 916-654-1117; or Bob Borzelleri of the California Environmental Protection Agency, 916-324-9671/ CO: California Environmental Protection Agency; California Department of Pesticide Regulation ST: California IN: SU:


JL -- SF010 -- 0761 01/16/92 18:00 EST
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Date:Jan 16, 1992
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