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Restricted Use Pesticides Need Extra Care

Weed Science Society of America points out the importance of training and management of this class of crop protection products.

Published on: Jan 2, 2013

Recently a horticultural company was fined for using restricted use pesticides in ways inconsistent with the product label - including workers not adequately protected. In another case, a company was fined because it didn't keep proper records on RUPs.

Going into 2013 it's a good idea for farmers to keep in mind that RUPs are important tools, but they still require special care. "RUPs are pesticides that have been determined by the Environmental Protection Agency to have a greater chance of causing harm to public health, farm workers, domestic animals, wildlife, certain crops, water or other sensitive organisms or sites," says Gina Alessandri, president of the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials and director, Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

HANDLE CAREFULLY: Restricted use pesticides are potent tools for weed and pest control, keep proper use in mind for 2013.
HANDLE CAREFULLY: Restricted use pesticides are potent tools for weed and pest control, keep proper use in mind for 2013.

She notes that there are more stringent requirements regarding applicator training, oversight and record-keeping, as well as product-specific requirements, such as more extensive personal protective equipment. The idea of RUPs originated in California more than 60 years ago when concerns about protecting some sensitive crops from phenoxy herbicide drift arose. In 1972, amendments to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act established RUPs on a national level.

There are a range of issues that can get a compound classified as an RUP including human health concerns, environmental worries, or complexity of use. Here are some key points to remember about RUPs if you're using them in 2013:

·         The label.  When a pesticide is classified as restricted use, the words "Restricted Use Pesticide" will appear at the top of the front panel.  The reason for the RUP classification will usually be shown as well. 

·         The formulation. The RUP classification is for a specific formulation(s).  For example, a highly concentrated emulsifiable concentrate (EC) formulation of an active ingredient may be restricted, while the granular formulation or low concentration EC may not be restricted.  

·         The intended use.  The formulation may be restricted for agricultural, residential or indoor uses, all uses, use on certain crops, etc.  

·         The sale.  Distributors, dealers and retailers must be licensed to sell RUPs.  They must carefully document these sales and must sell only to buyers who are certified (specially trained) to apply RUPs for the intended use.    

·         The application.  The RUP may only be applied by a certified applicator or someone under a certified applicator's direct supervision, and only for those purposes covered by the applicator's certification. 

·         The RUP list.  Some states use the EPA's RUP list as their RUP list, while other states require that certain additional products be restricted, usually due to local conditions that result in environmental concerns.  A product on the EPA's RUP list must also be restricted for use in every state that registers it.  Some restricted use products may be federally registered but not registered at all in certain states. 

"Classification of a pesticide as restricted use to protect human health or the environment is a critical component of the pesticide registration process," says Alessandri.  "It allows certain products to be available by establishing stricter conditions of use."

- Source: Weed Science Society of America