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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: California Regulatory Impacts on Adoption of Methyl Bromide Alternative Fumigants.

Author
item Trout, Thomas

Submitted to: Methyl Bromide Newsletter
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: November 1, 2001
Publication Date: November 15, 2001
Citation: Trout, T.J. 2001. California regulatory impacts on adoption of methyl bromide alternative fumigants. Methyl Bromide Newsletter, Vol. 7 (3).

Interpretive Summary: Methyl bromide is a fumigant used to kill soil-borne pests and pathogens in the soil before planting crops. It is commonly used for several high value crops including strawberry, tomato, orchards and vineyards, and nurseries. Methyl bromide use is being phased out because the material depletes ozone in the upper atmosphere. There are alternative fumigants that can provide many of the benefits of methyl bromide for many conditions. Use of fumigants, as with other pesticides, are restricted by U.S. EPA regulations to reduce risks to humans and the environment. However, California EPA often further restricts use of fumigants. California EPA issues Use Conditions that are interpreted and enforced by county agricultural commissioners when they issue Use Permits for each application. Of the three currently registered fumigants, only Telone has completed the reregistration process. Its use is restricted by buffers around occupied structures, methods of application, and township use caps to limit total applications. The township caps will severely limit use of the material for strawberries. Use Conditions for Chloropicrin and Metam Sodium are still being formulated, but will also likely also include buffers and application restrictions. Because use restrictions can and do change, growers are reluctant to invest in adopting alternative fumigants.

Technical Abstract: There are 3 currently registered fumigants that can replace some uses of methyl bromide for pre-plant soil fumigation. Use of fumigants, as with other pesticides, are restricted by U.S. EPA regulations to reduce risks to humans and the environment. However, California EPA often further restricts use of fumigants. California EPA issues Use Conditions that are interpreted and enforced by county agricultural commissioners when they issue Use Permits for each application. Of the three currently registered fumigants, only Telone has completed the reregistration process. Its use is restricted by buffers around occupied structures, methods of application, and township use caps to limit total applications. The township caps will severely limit use of the material for strawberries. Use Conditions for Chloropicrin and Metam Sodium are still being formulated, but will also likely also include buffers and application restrictions. Because use restrictions can and do change, growers are reluctant to invest in adopting alternative fumigants.

Last Modified: 7/23/2014
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