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Talking About Pesticides and Biotech Crops. Workshop for the Washington Friends of Farms and Forests, October 29, 2013 Steve Savage Applied Mythology Blog Savage&Associates Consulting. My “summer vacation”. Analysis of the Restricted-Use Pesticide Sales in Kauai (2010-2012).

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talking about pesticides and biotech crops

Talking About Pesticides and Biotech Crops

Workshop for the Washington Friends of Farms and Forests, October 29, 2013

Steve Savage

Applied Mythology Blog

Savage&Associates Consulting

analysis of the restricted use pesticide sales in kauai 2010 2012

Analysis of the Restricted-Use Pesticide Sales in Kauai (2010-2012)

Data supplied by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, Analyzed by Steve Savage, Ph.D.

overall use profile for agriculture related restricted use pesticides on kauai
Overall Use Profile for Agriculture-related, Restricted Use Pesticides on Kauai

26,874 pounds active ingredient.

9% of that is used for fumigation of grain storage facilities

14% of the total is used for weed control in commercial coffee production.

represents an average of 1.9 lbs of active ingredient/acre/year

which would mean 0.000043 pounds/square foot.

slide5
Far more Sulfuryl Fluoride is used For non-agricultural building fumigation than for fumigation of grain bins
slide6
Restricted Use Pesticide Use for Corn Nurseries in Kauai is Comparable with that in Major Corn Growing States
very little of the restricted use pesticide applied in the field on kauai is very toxic
Very little of the restricted use pesticide applied in the field on Kauai is very toxic

In 2011, 2.8 million pounds of these same RUPs were used on 164 California crops in 51 counties

things i learned in kauai
Things I learned in Kauai
  • The EPA has a PR problem!
  • That means we have a PR problem!
  • It is not that hard to get people completely terrified about pesticides
  • What I heard
    • “They are all paid-off”
    • “Our regulatory approach is sell now, regulate later”
    • “But they told us XXX was safe and it wasn’t”
    • “These chemicals are being used in huge quantities”
  • What I didn’t hear
    • Any understanding of the user training regime
    • Any idea that pesticides are not all the same
    • Any idea about how much all this has changed
so how do we explain why people don t need to be afraid
So how do we explain why people don’t need to be afraid?

Broaden the view of how pests are controlled

Clarify what “chemicals” are

Acknowledge the “bad old days”

Clarify “hazard,” “risk” and “safety”

Talk about what has changed

Address certain myths and issues of concern

Explaining what residue monitoring actually says

Talking about the environmental and health benefits of pesticide use

PRiME Tool analysis?

pest management is much more than just spraying the crop with pesticides
Pest management is much more than just spraying the crop with pesticides

Finding genetic resistance

Avoiding the pest

Modifying the climate

Disrupting pest life cycles

Fostering beneficials

finding genetic resistance
Finding genetic resistance

“Genetically Modified” options (finding resistant types

finding genetic resistance1
Finding genetic resistance

“Genetically Modified” options (finding resistant types, cross-breeding, wide-crosses, mutagenesis breeding

finding genetic resistance2
Finding genetic resistance

“Genetically Modified” options (finding resistant types, cross-breeding, wide-crosses, mutagenesis breeding, MAS, cisgenics, transgenics*)

finding genetic resistance3
Finding genetic resistance

“Genetically Modified” options (finding resistant types, cross-breeding, wide-crosses, mutagenesis breeding, MAS, cisgenics, transgenics*)

Rootstocks, inter-stocks

avoiding excluding the pest
Avoiding/Excluding the pest
  • Moving to a different geography
  • Shifting planting dates
  • Physical barriers (mulches, screening, positive pressure houses…)
  • Soil sterilization with heat
  • Soilless growing media, hydroponics etc
modifying the climate
Modifying the climate
  • Block or canopy microclimate modification
  • Passive protected culture: Rain shields, hoop houses etc
  • Active protected culture: climate controlled greenhouses, growing rooms…
  • Solarization
disrupting pest life cycles
Disrupting pest life cycles
  • Crop rotation
  • Eliminating alternate hosts
  • Pheromone confusion
  • Sterile male release
  • Virus elimination by tissue culture/heat
  • Mechanical weed control
fostering beneficials
Fostering beneficials

Planting alternate hosts

Releases of beneficials

Selective control of pests

slide20
There are Natural Chemicals which fall into all four EPA “Toxicity Classifications” for Acute Oral effects

>5,000 IV. Relatively Non-Toxic

500-5,000 III. Slightly Toxic

50-500 II. Moderately Toxic

<50 I. Highly Toxic

pesticides did have a bad old days
Pesticides did have a bad old days!

Some really nasty examples from long ago

Complacency during the “better living through chemistry” days

There was so much people didn’t understand

the legacy of silent spring and the environmental movement is real
The legacy of ‘Silent Spring’ and the Environmental Movement is real

The EPA established

New sciences have developed

Many old, nasty pesticides long gone

Any ag observer has seen the change

Training improvements

Use of IPM principles

Application improvements

Changes in the nature of the products

All this happened because of an unlikely “team effort”

the unlikely team effort that has radically changed pest management
The unlikely “team effort” that has radically changed pest management

Other Federal

Government

Academia

Extension

Ag ChemDistrib./Retail Chain

Biocontrol Companies

Growers

Independent Consultants

Basic Manufacturers

Generic Manufacturers

EPA

(Federal/State)

State/Local

Government

Equipment Companies

NGOs

little know fact many truly hazardous pesticides are long gone
Little Know Fact: Many truly hazardous pesticides are long gone
  • “Banned”
    • aldrin, hexachlorobenzene, cadmium compounds, chlordane, toxaphene, DDT, lead arsenate and sodium arsenite, mercuric chloride, mevinphos, mirex, thallium sulfate, 2,4,5-T, vinyl chloride, EPN…48 total
  • “Severely restricted”
    • Arsenic trioxide, carbofuran, daminozide (alar), heptachlor, lindane, pentachlorophenol, sodium arsenate, tributyltin compounds

Colorado State Listing

toxicity is relative
Toxicity is Relative

Graph based on the top 55, 2010, California pesticides by area treated

>5000

4-5000

3-4000

2-3000

1-2000

500-1000

<50

50-500

I.

Highly toxic

II.

Moderately toxic

III.

Slightly toxic

IV.

Relatively non-toxic

Values are for the oral ALD50 for rats

why hasn t this story been told
Why hasn’t this story been told?
  • EPA policy/orientation
    • Strict limits on “safety” claims, aversion to complacency, language issues
  • Chemical Industry
    • Reliance on being regulated, mixed portfolios
  • Food Industry
    • Relentless marketing of “natural”, “convenient fictions” of organic
    • “Feeding the hand that bites you”
  • Vested Interests in Denial
    • The down-side of talking about success, Easy targets are irresistible
  • What forum?
three terms that need to be understood
Three terms that need to be understood

HAZARD

RISK

Negative outcome potential

Probability of that outcome

SAFETY

Emotional view of risk/reward balance

electricity is hazardous in degrees
Electricity is hazardous, in degrees

Cell phone charger

110 Volt Outlet

220 Volt Outlet

Circuit box to 100Amps

Residential Power Line

Major Transmission lines

Low Hazard Extreme Hazard

Pesticides also differ in terms of hazard

Bt

Aldicarb

Spinosad

Azinphos-methyl

Fludioxanil

little know fact many pesticides are not hazardous
Little Know Fact: Many Pesticides Are Not Hazardous
  • What makes something a pesticide?
    • Someone makes claims that it will control a pest
  • Hazard for pesticides is multi-dimensional
    • Acute mammalian (read human) toxicity (e.g. Oral ALD50 for rats)
    • Reproductive toxicity
    • Chronic toxicity
    • Non-target effects
    • Bioaccumulation
risk is mitigated by limiting exposure to the hazard
Risk is mitigated by limiting exposure to the hazard
  • Electricity
      • Insulation
      • GFI
      • Baby-proofing outlets
      • Buried or out of reach transmission wires
  • Pesticides
      • PPE (gloves, masks, spray cabs…)
      • Re-entry intervals
      • Maximum rates
      • Pre-harvest intervals
      • Targeted application methods
one example of changing pesticide profile california wine grapes
One Example of Changing Pesticide Profile: California Wine Grapes

Two ideas on how to present this:

Toxicity-weighting

By EPA Categories

  • Why look at California wine grapes?
    • Essentially no breeding options
    • High value crop so high incentive to control pests
    • Both yield loss and quality effects matter
    • Innovative/Progressive grower-base
    • CALPIP data is available
    • Many consumers have an interest in the success of this crop
on the surface pesticide use on wine grapes is down to around 1 3 of the peak in the mid 90s
On the surface, pesticide use on wine grapes is down to around 1/3 of the peak in the mid 90s

Total pounds of active ingredient per bearing grape acre in Napa, Sonoma, and Monterey counties 1990-2011 (CalPIP database)

we have to remove the sulfur to be able to see what is going on with anything else
We have to remove the sulfur to be able to see what is going on with anything else

All Pesticides

Sulfur

Other than Sulfur

when foliar pesticides are viewed on a toxicity weighted basis the trend is downward to flat
When foliar pesticides are viewed on a toxicity-weighted basis, the trend is downward to flat

Weight basis

Toxicity Adjusted Weight

insecticide use has shifted to significantly less toxic options
Insecticide use has shifted to significantly less toxic options

Toxicity Adjusted Weight

Weight basis

fungicide use has increased displacing much sulfur but weighted for toxicity the increase is small
Fungicide use has increased, displacing much sulfur, but weighted for toxicity the increase is small

Weight basis

Toxicity Adjusted Weight

miticide use spiked in the 90s but not on a toxicity weighted basis
Miticide use spiked in the 90s, but not on a toxicity-weighted basis

Weight basis

Toxicity Adjusted Weight

use of materials active against insects mites and fungi e g oils have increased but toxicity is low
Use of materials active against insects, mites and fungi (e.g. oils) have increased, but toxicity is low

Weight basis

Toxicity Adjusted Weight

herbicide use has declined somewhat but mammalian toxicity has always been low
Herbicide use has declined somewhat, but mammalian toxicity has always been low

Weight basis

Toxicity Adjusted Weight

rodenticides are reasonably toxic to mammals but use rates are very low
Rodenticides are reasonably toxic to mammals, but use rates are very low

Weight basis

Toxicity Adjusted Weight

the use of highly toxic category i products has declined dramatically
The use of highly toxic, Category I products has declined dramatically

Methomyl

Endosulfan

Azinphos methyl

Parathion

Aflatoxin

Endrin

Nicotine

moderately toxic category ii use has also declined significantly
Moderately Toxic Category II use has also declined significantly

Bifenthrin

Copper Sulfate

Abamectin

Lambda-cyhalothrin

Asprin

Caffeine

Capsaicin

1,3-Dichloropropene

Rotenone

Dimethoate

use of slightly toxic products at the more toxic end of category iii has decreased
Use of slightly toxic products at the more toxic end of Category III has decreased

Diazinon

Glufosinate ammonium

Copper Hydroxide

Malic acid

Pyraclostrobin

Vanillin

Hydrogen

peroxide

Imidacloprid

Cinnamaldehyde

Copper sulfate

(basic)

Myclobutanil

Lime-Sulfur

Diquat

Ibuprofen

Mefenoxam

use of products at the lower toxicity end of slightly toxic category iii has increased
Use of products at the lower toxicity end of slightly toxic Category III has increased

Glyphosate

Tetraconazole

Baking Soda

Metolachlor

Vinegar

Copper oxide

Citric acid, Salt

Fozetyl-AL

Cinnamon oil

Dicamba

Clove oil, Copper oxychloride

Boscalid

there has been an increase in use of category iv practically non toxic products
There has been an increase in use of Category IV, practically non-toxic products

141 products have been used from category IV, 68 which are synthetic and 73 which are “natural products”

central coast trends in pounds by category
Central Coast trends in pounds by category

Sulfur

Category IV

Category III

Category II

Category I

central coast trend in acre applications
Central Coast trend in acre-applications

Sulfur

Category IV

Category III

Category II

Category I

central coast trend in proportion of pounds by category
Central Coast trend in proportion of pounds by category

Sulfur

Category IV

Category III

Category II

Category I

central coast trend in proportion of acre applications
Central Coast trend in proportion of acre-applications

Sulfur

Category IV

Category III

Category II

Category I

myths claims fears and issues
Myths, Claims, Fears and Issues

Endocrine disruptors

Carcinogens

Linkage to GMO crops

Links to autism, ADHD, obesity…

what does the usda pdp data really say about residues
What does the USDA PDP Data Really Say About Residues?

For the most recent set of data completed (growing year 2011), the USDA concluded that

“The 2011 PDP report confirms that overall pesticide chemical residues found on the foods tested are at levels below the tolerances established by the EPA and do not pose a safety concern.”

The EPA made the following statement:

“The newest data from the PDP program confirm that pesticide residues in food do not pose a safety concern for Americans. EPA remains committed to a rigorous, science-based, and transparent regulatory program for pesticides that continues to protect people’s health and the environment.”

baby food pears 585 samples
Baby Food, Pears (585 Samples)

1/1,000

1/100

Tolerance

1/10

snap peas 744 samples
Snap Peas (744 Samples)

1/1,000

1/100

Tolerance

1/10

onions 186 samples
Onions (186 Samples)

1/1,000

1/100

Tolerance

1/10

lettuce 744 samples
Lettuce (744 Samples)

1/1,000

1/100

Tolerance

1/10

what are some of the benefits of pesticides
What are some of the benefits of pesticides?

Lower cost, higher quality foods and beverages

Much lower mycotoxin risk

More efficient use of land, fuel, fertilizer, water, labor

Elimination of hand weeding injuries

Vector control

Successful storage and long distance shipping

Control of invasives

Certain local food options

Enabling conservation tillage practices