02 Feb EPA Issues Update on Use of Chlorpyrifos on Food
On Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an update on the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on food. EPA has issued a technical correction in the Federal Register reflecting the Eighth Circuit Court’s decision to vacate EPA’s 2021 rule revoking chlorpyrifos tolerances.
Since the tolerances are currently in effect, growers can now use currently registered chlorpyrifos products on all crops with reinstated tolerances, consistent with directions for use on those product labels. However, such uses may be subject to restrictions by individual states.
Any existing final cancelation orders, including any terms for sale, distribution, and use of existing stocks of products subject to those cancelation orders and related return programs for chlorpyrifos products, remain in place, unless and until amended by EPA.
In a final rule issued in August 2021, EPA revoked all tolerances for chlorpyrifos, which established an amount of a pesticide that is allowed on food. This action effectively stopped the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on all food and animal feed.
That tolerance revocation rule was challenged by a chlorpyrifos registrant and several grower groups in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. On November 2, 2023, the Eighth Circuit issued a ruling vacating EPA’s final rule and sending the issue of chlorpyrifos tolerances back to EPA for further proceedings.
EPA is issuing a technical correction in the Federal Register that changed the Code of Federal Regulations to reflect the Eighth Circuit’s decision. The Eighth Circuit’s mandate issued on December 28, 2023, finalized the court’s judgment and vacated the Agency’s 2021 rule revoking chlorpyrifos tolerances.
The EPA expects to expeditiously propose a new rule to revoke the tolerances for all but 11 uses with additional restrictions for geographic location and rate of application to address safety of the tolerances, and potential restrictions for farmworker and other vulnerable populations, and vulnerable species and their habitats. Those 11 uses are: alfalfa, apple, asparagus, cherry (tart), citrus, cotton, peach, soybean, strawberry, sugar beet, wheat (spring), and wheat (winter).