Soil Fumigant Users Beware

April 29, 2005 - 12:12

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently proceeding on a plan which could result in severe problems for users of the soil fumigants methyl bromide, metam-sodium/metam-potassium, telone, chloropicrin, dazomet and idomethane, according to a letter The Society of American Florists (SAF) sent out to its growers.

EPA plans to complete its assessment for reregistration of all six of these soil fumigants in a fast-track "Soil Fumigants Cluster Risk Assessment." That plan creates several problems for U.S. growers, most importantly that the approach does not reflect differences among the fumigants and could result in overly conservative assumptions and diminished availability of some or all of these products. EPA has not collected adequate use patterns and application methods from growers and continues to release risk assessment documents with flawed assumptions, the letter stated
"EPA seems to be proceeding under the concept that a 'one size fits all' approach will work," stateded the letter. "Most of you know that kind of approach will result in major problems for growers who need these fumigants"

Currently, SAF is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agricultural organizations to help quickly gather more information about actual use patterns of these fumigants. SAF is planning a strong lobbying effort with EPA and needs some information from you to help them better argue for a more thorough and fact-based process. "We know this is your busiest time of year and apologize for being forced to ask you for this information right now. But if we can't get information to EPA before the end of May, we may lose the battle we're fighting," stated SAF.

If you are a user of any of the fumigants listed above, take the time to complete a survey you can obtain from SAF and return it to SAF by May 13, 2005. "If you can't provide detailed answers for all of the questions, just do the best you can - it will be more helpful for us to have some information than none at all," said SAF.

More detailed information and a copy of the survey are available at www.safnow.org. For more information, contact Lin Schmale, at lschmale@safnow.org or (703) 836-8700. You can fax back your completed survey to (703) 836-8705 or E-mail it to Schmale.

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