Chlorpyrifos and Responsible Use

Assisting in the production of high-quality agricultural products, while maintaining human health and environmental safety standards, is a responsibility Dow AgroSciences takes seriously. As new information comes to light — or as standards change — regulators and registering companies take action to modify use practices and revise labeling precautions.

Chlorpyrifos By the Numbers

  • 4 decades of use
  • 5,000 studies and reports
  • Authorized for use in nearly 100 countries
  • Labeled for use on more than 50 agricultural crops
  • Applied to 8.5 million crop acres per year

Here are ways in which Dow AgroSciences has demonstrated its commitment to responsible use of chlorpyrifos.

Reducing Food Residues

No one likes the idea of pesticide residues on the food they eat. Equally disturbing to most consumers would be to find insects and larvae in their food. To help ensure that consumers are not exposed to residue levels in excess of EPA standards, Dow AgroSciences has worked with the EPA to make changes in the way farmers use chlorpyrifos.

An illustration of this commitment can be seen in recent changes in authorized uses of chlorpyrifos. In 2002, the EPA expressed concerns that the way chlorpyrifos was being used on three crops — apples, tomatoes and grapes — could result in more exposure than would be allowable under the Agency’s new health-based standards.

In order to mitigate these potential exposures, the EPA required that all use of chlorpyrifos products in the United States be discontinued on tomatoes, restricted on apples to pre-bloom applications (when trees are still dormant) and restricted on grapes to yield residues no greater than 0.01 ppm (parts per million) (The previous residue standard for grapes was 0.5 ppm.). Dow AgroSciences updated its chlorpyrifos product labeling  accordingly.

Chlorpyrifos’ Removal from Home Use Market

In the 1990s, concerns about potential chlorpyrifos exposures to humans through residential uses were expressed by the scientific and regulatory communities. These concerns were addressed by the United States EPA through the pesticide reregistration process as modified by the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA). Initial output of the EPA’s reevaluation of chlorpyrifos, which was completed in 2000, determined that, while dietary exposures remained “below the level of concern for the entire U.S. population, including infants and children,” there were several use patterns to be addressed:

  • EPA believed that chlorpyrifos used within the home might result in more exposure to children than would be allowable under the Agency’s new health-based FQPA standards.
  • EPA believed that outdoor home uses authorized at the time, such as landscape and lawn spraying, could pose similar exposure concerns for children.

During 2000 Dow AgroSciences, by agreement with the EPA, began the phase-out of U.S. in-home uses of chlorpyrifos. Outdoor home uses — for residential lawns and landscaping — were also being phased out at that time.

Spray Drift Management

Over the years, pesticide use patterns and regulatory restrictions have steadily evolved to reduce the potential for off-target movement of pesticide sprays.

  • Based on EPA’s draft Reregistration assessment of 2001, new EPA spray drift restrictions  were added to minimize the potential for chlorpyrifos to reach ponds and streams. These restrictions included designation of no-spray buffer zones around waters for protection of aquatic habitats.
  • During 2012, further EPA spray drift restrictions (e.g., buffer zones) were added to minimize the potential for off-target movement to residential areas and schools.

Reduction of Odor and Air Emissions

In recent years, air quality goals for reducing emissions of volatile organic compounds or VOCs (which are found in paints, solvents, vehicle exhaust, pesticides, etc…) have steadily driven product innovation.

  • For chlorpyrifos, this has meant the development of a new water-based formulation, Lorsban® Advanced1. Lorsban® Advanced was introduced in 2008 and has gained wide acceptance by growers since it offers the same pest management benefits as traditional products but in a form that greatly reduces emissions of VOCs and odor .

1Lorsban® Advanced is a Restricted Use Product, for sale to and use only by Certified Applicators or persons under their direct supervision.