An electronic Buffer Zone Calculator is available in EPA’s Soil Fumigant Toolbox. The EPA developed this new tool to help soil fumigant applicators, growers, enforcement personnel and others determine the buffer zone distances now required by soil fumigant product labels. Buffer zones provide distance between the edge of fields treated with pesticides and bystanders, people who live, work or otherwise spend time nearby.

When the final set of soil fumigant label changes went into effect on Dec. 1, 2012, implementing important new protections for workers and bystanders, buffer zones were among the mitigation measures that began appearing on fumigant labels. As of that date, only soil fumigant products bearing all of the required risk mitigation measures may be sold and distributed by registrants. Growers and applicators can still apply products bearing old labels until supplies are exhausted. However, labels of newly purchased products require applicators to calculate and observe buffer zones when applying soil fumigants.

The EPA-developed Buffer Zone Calculator is specific to each fumigant product and is based on look-up tables on the product labels. In addition to calculating buffer zone distances, the calculator can also be used to quickly calculate buffer zone reductions through the use of credits and modifications to application parameters. Applicators will need to verify that the buffer zone results from the calculator are consistent with the buffer zone requirements on product labels. If there are any discrepancies, applicators should follow the label.

A Guide for Applicators explaining how to calculate buffer zones manually is also available in the Soil Fumigant Toolbox.  Visit http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/reregistration/soil_fumigants/soil-fum-buffer-zones.html.