The EPA plans to host a webinar June 21st between 1-3 p.m. ET to focus on the effectiveness of disinfecting agents in hospitals. The EPA is seeking input from registrants of antimicrobial products and laboratory personnel with efficacy testing responsibilities. Additional details on the webinar can be found here. To register for the webinar, you can follow this link.
After the webinar, the docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2018-0265 at www.regulations.gov will be open for comments.
Yesterday, the EPA updated its Pesticide Label Review Manual to streamline its contents so that stakeholders can better comprehend the current policy regarding pesticide labeling process. Specifically, chapters 3: General Labeling Requirements, 7: Precautionary Statements, and 17: Net Contents/Net Weight were adjusted. Chapter 3: General Labeling Requirements was updated to reflect changes in EPA policy regarding the location of the First Aid Statement. Details of the changes to the mentioned chapters can be found here.
In an effort to reduce animal testing, the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) has released a draft Science Policy recommending the use of non-animal alternatives to skin sensitization testing. A Skin Sensitization test is used to evaluate whether a product causes an allergic reaction, inflammation or sensitization of the skin. The EPA currently requires submission or citation of skin sensitization data before a pesticide can be registered in the United States. This draft science policy was developed with the cooperation of several international organizations seeking valid alternative test methods and collaboration between EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs and Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory. Substantive scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of the alternative methodologies compared to animal testing exists. Internationally, the alternative approaches highlighted in the draft policy have seen success in adoption and implementation. By adopting these alternative approaches, the EPA hopes to reduce animal testing. Public comment on the draft policy is open until June 9th, 2018. More information on the draft policy can be found here.
Syngenta Seeds LLC (“Syngenta”), a subsidiary of Swiss agrochemical company Syngenta, reached a settlement with the EPA for violations of The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, Rodenticide Act (“FIFRA”) Worker Protection Standard. In a Consent Agreement and Final Order (CAFO) document, Syngenta agreed to a civil penalty of $150,000 and to implement a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) costing no less than $400,000.
The administrative complaint filed against Syngenta alleged that seasonal workers were exposed to chlorpyrifos and permethrin before the restricted entry interval (REI) of 24 hours had passed, were not warned by Syngenta employees before entering, and were not properly decontaminated after the incident. Exposure events occurred on two occasions in 2016 and 2017. The matter came to EPA attention through a worker reporting adverse reactions after working in the Syngenta field. The complaint goes further stating that the warning sign that notifies workers of pesticide applications was folded up, obscuring its full view from the workers and Syngenta employees failed to verbally inform the workers to not enter the restricted areas.
The resulting SEP will develop and help promote use of Worker Protection Standard (WPS) Compliance Kits, and train employees on how to comply with FIFRA Worker Protection Standards. Due to most of the violations occurring in-house, the SEP will focus on training Syngenta’s full-time employees. While the CAFO does not explain how the EPA came to the $400,000 figure, it explicitly notes the $400,000 “shall not include the following categories of Respondent’s costs: Respondent’s overhead, Respondent’s additional employee time and salary, Respondent’s administrative expenses, Respondent’s legal fees, and Respondent’s costs of oversight of the contractor who will develop and implement the SEP.” More details of the CAFO can be found here.
The Environmental Protection Agency is set to moderately increase the maximum civil monetary penalty for violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (”FIFRA”) from $19,057 to $19,466 per violation through the 2018 Civil Monetary Penalty Inflation Adjustment Rule. While this adjustment represents a modest increase annually, it is important to note that it is a significant increase from the original civil penalty of $5,000.
Prior to 2015, EPA had adjusted penalties only occasionally. However, under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvement Act of 2015, adjustments must now be made annually. The 2018 adjustment rule is the third annual update under the new approach.
As a result of the multiple adjustments which have now been made, multiple levels of FIFRA penalties are possible. To determine the penalty level applicable to an offense, one must first determine when the violation occurred and when the penalty is being imposed. Thus, a given violation which is repeated over a period of time could be subject to differing maximum penalty levels. More information can be found about how to accurately price open cases through the EPA’s 2018 guidance document found here.