The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the manufacturers of the insecticide methomyl have agreed to cancel some uses and limit use on certain crops to reduce risks to drinking water. 

From 1995 to 2013, exposure from food to carbamates, which includes methomyl, has fallen by approximately 70 percent. Today’s action is a continuation of EPA’s efforts to reduce carbamate use, thereby protecting people’s health, especially the health of children who may be more sensitive to pesticides. 

EPA found drinking water risks during the periodic evaluation of methomyl and negotiated with the manufacturers to voluntarily cancel certain uses. Voluntary cancellation is the quickest way to eliminate risk.

While Florida and California were the areas of greatest concern for risks from methomyl in drinking water, the following measures will be implemented nationwide:

  • canceling the use on barley, oats and rye;
  • limiting its use on wheat to Idaho, Oregon, and Washington; 
  • reducing the number of applications to corn, celery, and head and leaf lettuce; and, 
  • reducing the number of applications and the seasonal maximum application rate for peppers.

These measures are currently being phased in, ensuring timely implementation of the changes for several crops. 

EPA and the manufacturers reached agreement to stop making and selling some fly bait products and to add information to the label that clarifies the approved uses. EPA believes that these changes will reduce the illegal use of methomyl fly bait products which can kill wildlife, an issue that was reported to EPA by a number of states.

First registered 1968 and then re-registered in 1998, methomyl is restricted and must only be used by certified and trained applicators and has no residential uses. The only non-agriculture use of methomyl is in fly bait.

EPA will continue the registration review process for methomyl. The next step in that process is the release of the methomyl draft risk assessment in 2016. In Nov. 2014, EPA asked for public comments on the requests to voluntarily cancel the uses of methomyl on barley, oat and rye. No comments were received. The nationwide agricultural mitigation measures can be viewed in the risk mitigation decision document available at EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0751 at www.regulations.gov .

Learn more about methomyl:  http://www2.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/methomyl