Proposed Re-evaluation Decision PRVD2019-04, Acephate and Its Associated End-use Products, Updated Environmental Risk Assessment

Pest Management Regulatory Agency
21 May 2019
ISSN: 1925-0967 (PDF version)
Catalogue number: H113-27/2019-4E-PDF (PDF version)

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Table of Contents

Proposed Re-evaluation Decision

Under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act , all registered pesticides must be regularly re-evaluated by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) to ensure that they continue to meet current health and environmental safety standards and continue to have value. The re-evaluation considers data and information from pesticide manufacturers, published scientific reports, and other regulatory agencies. Health Canada applies internationally accepted risk assessment methods as well as current risk management approaches and policies.

Acephate is an insecticide registered to control a broad spectrum of insect pests on a wide variety of crops and use sites, including forest and woodlots, terrestrial food and feed crops, and outdoor ornamentals. Acephate is an important component of pest management programs to manage economically important pests and is used as a rotational insecticide for managing insect resistance. All acephate products currently registered in Canada are listed in Appendix I of PRVD2019-04.

A Proposed Re-evaluation Decision for acephate was first published on 8 January 2016 (PRVD2016-01 ). A comment on PRVD2016-01 pointed to the absence of tree injections as an application method in the initial environmental risk assessment. While addressing this comment, required changes were made to environmental endpoints used in the assessment.

This document (Proposed Re-evaluation Decision PRVD2019-04, Acephate and Its Associated End-use Products) presents revisions to the proposed regulatory decision for the re-evaluation of acephate (PRVD2016-01) with risk mitigation measures to protect the environment along with updates to the environmental evaluation on which the proposed decision was based. The current consultation covers only revisions to the proposed re-evaluation decision presented in PRVD2019-04. Consideration of and responses to comments pertaining to the health assessment already received for PRVD2016-01 will be presented in the final re-evaluation decision for acephate. All products containing acephate registered in Canada are subject to PRVD2019-04.

This document (PRVD2019-04) is subject to a 90-day public consultation period, during which the public including the pesticide manufacturers and stakeholders may submit written comments and additional information to the PMRA Publications Section. The final re-evaluation decision will be published taking into consideration the comments and information received.

Outcome of Environmental Evaluation

Acephate, and its major transformation product methamidophos, enter the environment when acephate is used to control insect pests on a wide variety of sites, including forests and woodlots, terrestrial food and feed crops, and outdoor ornamentals.

  • Environmental risks to birds and small wild mammals were identified for all outdoor foliar uses applied by mist blowers or airblast application equipment and were not shown to be acceptable. These types of applications are currently registered for use on various trees and ornamentals, and in Christmas tree plantations, farm woodlots, nurseries, shelter belts, right of ways and municipal parks.
  • Risks to birds and small wild mammals were also identified for broadcast foliar spraying in farm woodlots, shelterbelts, right of ways and municipal parks and were not shown to be acceptable.
  • When acephate is used as a tree-injection, the risk to the environment is expected to be acceptable with implementation of proposed mitigation measures.
  • With implementation of proposed mitigation measures, the risk to the environment is expected to be acceptable when acephate is applied as a foliar spray by ground boom to other sites listed on the label.

Proposed Regulatory Decision for Acephate

Under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act and based on the evaluation of currently available scientific information, the registration of certain uses of acephate in Canada are proposed for cancellation. Other labelled uses of acephate are proposed for continued registration with mitigation measures to protect human health and/or the environment.

Registered pesticide product labels include specific directions for use. Directions include risk mitigation measures to protect human health and the environment that must be followed by law. As a result of the re-evaluation of acephate, further risk mitigation measures for product labels are being proposed.

The proposed regulatory decision pertaining to human health was presented in PRVD2016-01, which included, among other mitigation measures, a prohibition of foliar application in residential areas, the cancellation of uses on potatoes, and the replacement of the soluble powder formulation with a pellet formulation. The transfer of uses from the soluble powder product label to the pellet product label is currently in progress. Consideration of and responses to comments pertaining to the health assessment already received for PRVD 2016-01 will be presented in the final re-evaluation decision for acephate.

To protect the environment, the following measures are proposed:

  • Cancellation of airblast and outdoor mistblower applications, which are currently registered for use on various trees and ornamentals, and in Christmas tree plantations, farm woodlots, nurseries, shelter belts, right of ways and municipal parks
  • Cancellation of the highest foliar application rate (resulting from the cancellation of applications by airblast/mistblower, the only method for which the highest rate is registered)
  • Uses in farm woodlots, shelter belts, rights of way and municipal parks are limited to spot treatments using hand-held equipment only
  • Precautionary and hazard statements to inform users of the toxicity and potential risk of acephate to pollinators, beneficial arthropods, birds, mammals, and aquatic organisms
  • Label statements directing users to avoid application during periods of bloom or during the 9-day period before crop bloom for crops that are attractive to pollinators (or for other crops when using managed bees for pollination services)
  • Statements directing users that tree injection applications must be made after the blooming/pollen shedding period
  • A label statement directing users not to discharge acephate-contaminated effluent from greenhouses into aquatic environments
  • Precautionary label statements informing users of ways to reduce the potential for runoff

Proposed label amendments resulting from these environmental mitigation measures are presented in Appendix II of PRVD2019-04.

Next Steps

The public, including the registrant and stakeholders are encouraged to submit additional information that could be used to refine the environmental risk assessment during the 90-day public consultation periodFootnote 1 upon publication of this proposed re-evaluation decision.

It should be noted that only information related to the updated environmental risk assessment or its impact on the value of uses will be considered within the context of this consultation.

All comments received during the 90-day public consultation period will be taken into consideration in preparation of a re-evaluation decision document,Footnote 2 which could result in revised risk mitigation measures. The re-evaluation decision document will include the final re-evaluation decision, the reasons for it and a summary of comments received on the proposed re-evaluation decision with Health Canada’s responses.

Additional Scientific Information

No additional information is required at this time.

For uses where changes to the use pattern are proposed as mitigation measures, Health Canada is asking stakeholders to comment on the agronomic feasibility of the proposed changes and the potential impact on the associated pest management practices. Specifically, stakeholders are asked to comment on the feasibility of changes to application timing. It should be noted that restricting tree injection applications to post-bloom periods is contrary to current label directions for certain pests. Stakeholder feedback is therefore critical in determining whether these pests are expected to be controlled under the proposed restrictions. If the pests cannot be adequately managed under the new application timing, these claims may be removed from the labels.

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