[NAFEX] Herbicide drift on food crops

Mark Angermayer hangermayer at isp.com
Thu Jul 30 12:33:53 EDT 2009

Vessel is not a restricted-use pesticide.  Restricted-use pesticides must have the words "RESTRICTED USE PESTICIDE"  at the top of the first page of the label.  It's the law.  

That the Vessel label states it can only be sold and used by commercial applicators and professional landscapers has nothing to do with restricted-use status.  An individual with a landscape business could purchase and apply Vessel without any restricted-use certification whatever.  The intent of the Vessel label is to keep it out of the hands of homeowners.  Most homeowners have little personal protective equipment, so the EPA likes to keep chemicals with a Danger rating out of their hands.  This is different than a restricted-use product.

There seems to be a misconception that the spray itself carries a danger rating.  This is not the case.  It's the concentrate that carries the Danger rating.  Vessel (which cannot legally be purchased by homeowners) has the exact same chemicals as Trimec (which can be purchased at any garden store).  Vessel is simply more concentrated.  This is the case with Captan as well.  The Captan 80 WDG has 80% active ingredient and carries a Danger signal word.  However, there are weaker homeowner formulations that carry a less severe rating.  The finished spray solution will carry the same amount of active ingredient whether the commercial concentrate is used, or the homeowner concentrate is used.

That is also the reason a Danger rated product that has a 48 hr. re-entry interval can still be used on residential areas.  Danger is for the concentrate, not the spray.  

In fixing re-entry intervals, for residential areas, the EPA assumes the worst case scenario, that children will be running around in the back yard barefoot, and rolling around on the grass.  So a 48 hr re-entry interval is not something to be frightened about, although as always, the re-entry interval should be observed.  Likewise with Ag chemicals the EPA assumes the grower will have hired help in the orchard immediately after the close of the re-entry interval.  Again they assume the worst case, that the workers will have the residue all over their sweaty arms, hands, wiping their eyes, working for 8 hrs., etc.  Simply walking into an orchard would receive a fraction of the exposure.  However,  separate protective footwear is a good idea to avoid tracking the chemical in the house.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Road's End Farm
  To: North American Fruit Explorers 
  Sent: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 11:40 PM
  Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Herbicide drift on food crops

  I wasn't basing the restricted-use statement on the danger label, but on the fact that the label I cited states: 

  "For Sale To And Use By Commercial
  Applicators And Professional
  Landscapers Only.
  Not For Sale To Or Use By Homeowners".

  It's possible that the label that came up on Google is only used in some states and not in others.

  I know that the Danger label is not related to whether it's labeled for food crops -- there are pesticides that are labeled for use on food crops that are in the Danger classification. Sorry that I wasn't clear about that -- I was basing my recommendation not to eat the produce on the fact that it's clearly not labeled for anything edible, and on the original poster's statement that the "product specialist" said not to eat anything it might have contacted; not on the Danger label. It does strike me as odd that a product with both a Danger label and a 48-hour re-entry period is legal to use on residential lawns; and I do think it's irresponsible to spray a Danger level pesticide in such a fashion that it drifts across neighboring properties. The garden might have had children in it as well as vegetables. (That's one reason I felt it made a difference whether the person who owned the garden had in fact requested the spray on the property, just not requested it on the garden -- if you order something applied, I think you share the responsibility for keeping children, pets, etc. out of the way; if this came over unexpectedly from a different property, it's a different situation.)

  -- Rivka

  On Jul 29, 2009, at 10:53 PM, Mark Angermayer wrote:

    Although I don't use Vessel, it is not a restricted-use pesticide, at least on a national level.  It may be restricted in some states, I don't know.

    A Danger signal word has nothing to do with it's safety on food crops.  Some Captan formulations have a Danger signal word, and can be used up to day of harvest on many fruit crops.  A chemical can earn a Danger signal word because of potential eye damage.  This is the case with Captan, and appears to be the case with Vessel.


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