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EPA Releases New Restrictions on Chlorpyrifos, Diazinon, and Malathion 

On April 2, the EPA released their latest restrictions on Chlorpyrifos, Diazinon, and Malathion intended to protect endangered species under the ESA. These updates have been posted on the Bulletins Live! Two website and include new restrictions for application and tank mixing.  

There has long been a war over the use of organophosphates as an insecticide option for our crops, with chlorpyrifos (trade name Lorsban) being a primary target. In 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled on a case and forced the EPA to modify chlorpyrifos tolerances or revoke them. The EPA responded by simply revoking them. Based on the foundationless reason for revocation, Farm Bureau joined a lawsuit against the EPA for not following the law with their ban of Chlorpyrifos. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled that the EPA did not have enough backing to completely revoke tolerances and ordered the EPA to put tolerances back on. 

Based on these rulings, the EPA reinstated the old tolerances on chlorpyrifos, but released an update in December of 2023 that said it would likely adjust labels to allow use of chlorpyrifos on alfalfa, soybeans, sugar beets, wheat (spring), wheat (winter), and other crops outside of Nebraska.  

While this was a large victory, the EPA was already scheduled to review labels on three common organophosphates: Chlorpyrifos, Diazinon, and Malathion. This review was just completed, and the new updates are listed on their Bulletins Live! Two website. The chlorpyrifos and diazinon Bulletins include wind speed restrictions. The malathion Bulletins include a requirement to maintain a buffer between application area and specific habitats, with the size of the required buffer depending on the application rate, application method, and wind direction. 

This is yet another example of the constant battle agriculture must fight to keep usable products in the crop protection toolbox. Nebraska Farm Bureau will continue doing everything we can to ensure farmers and ranchers are able to protect their crops and land, and thereby their livelihood. 

You may find more information on the official EPA press release. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Kole Pederson, director of Environmental & Regulatory Affairs, at kolep@nefb.org

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