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EPA Quietly Extends Compliance Date for Pollinator Warnings on Neonicotinoid Agricultural Pesticide Labels

By Telisport W. Putsavage

In an announcement to a trade association not yet otherwise publicized but authorized to be distributed, EPA on October 28, 2013 announced that it has postponed the compliance deadline for adopting the new pollinator protection warnings on labels of agricultural chemicals containing active ingredients in the neonicotinoid insecticide family. The new label statements are intended to provide cautionary information aimed at users to promote pollinator protection. The label compliance deadline date has been extended to February 28, 2014 from January 31, 2013.

On August 15, 2013, in an ongoing effort to protect bees and other pollinators, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed new pesticide label language that prohibits the use of some neonicotinoid pesticide products where bees are present (See the letter to registrants at: http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/ecosystem/pollinator/bee-label-info-ltr.pdf) . The new labels will have a bee advisory box and icon with information on routes of exposure and spray drift precautions (see http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/ecosystem/pollinator/bee-label-info-lrt.pdf).

The deadline has been extended in part due to the recent closure of EPA, which has been reviewing the proposed label amendments. EPA has stated that it will advise registrants of the extension when the agency returns approved label amendments adopting the language in question.

This announcement affects products containing the neonicotinoid active ingredients imidacloprid, dinotefuran, clothianidin and thiamethoxam. It is likely the label changes being imposed on these insecticidal active ingredients will soon be required on all insecticide labels, and perhaps some fungicides and herbicides.

Telisport W. Putsavage is currently an attorney at Sullivan & Worcester LLP in Washington, DC and Zysman, Aharoni, Gayer and Sullivan & Worcester LLP in Tel Aviv, Israel. He is a nationally recognized pesticide attorney among other accomplishments.

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