Today EPA is issuing its final decision to phase out the 10 remaining uses of the organophosphate insecticide azinphos-methyl (AZM) over the next few years.
This phase-out will encourage and facilitate transition to safer alternatives and reduce risks to farm workers, pesticide applicators, and aquatic ecosystems, the EPA said.
EPA is phasing out the use of AZM on brussels sprouts and nursery stock by September 2007; almonds, pistachios and walnuts by October 2009; and the remaining uses -- apples, blueberries, cherries, parsley and pears -- by September 2012. During the phase-out, the agency is decreasing application rates and increasing buffer zones. All other uses of AZM have been voluntarily cancelled by the registrants.
To facilitate the transition to safer alternatives, growers, registrants and other stakeholders will meet with EPA periodically during the phase-out to discuss alternatives to AZM. The pesticide manufacturers have also agreed to develop training materials to educate workers regarding how to avoid unnecessary exposure.
In June, EPA invited the public to submit comments on AZM for 60 days.
Through the pesticide reregistration and tolerance reassessment programs, EPA is ensuring that safe and effective pesticides are available in this country to support the production of an abundant, healthy food supply and to safely meet other pest control needs.
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SOURCE: EPA news release.