Aug 31, 2012
Growers get one more year of Guthion

Federal regulators will allow fruit growers to use the insecticide Guthion for an additional year.

EPA said Thursday the extension is due to higher-than-normal stocks of the organophosphate chemical in grower hands because of crop losses in the Midwest and East. Fruit growers in Michigan, New York and elsewhere suffered extensive crop losses this spring due to frost damage.

At the same time, the agency reaffirmed its decision to ban the sale of Guthion, the trade name for the product azinphos-methyl, as of Sept. 30 of this year.

Mike Willett, vice president of scientific affairs for the Northwest Horticultural Council, said the EPA decision allows application of existing stocks of Guthion through Sept. 30, 2013.

Guthion, used primarily to control codling moth, currently is authorized for use on apples, pears, cherries, blueberries and alkali bee beds.

Willett said a USDA survey found growers applied Guthion to 22 percent of the Washington apple acreage last year.

The phaseout of Guthion, which began in 2006, prompted a shift to use of other products, which supplement the use of mating disruption as a control method for codling moth.

A ban on the chemical is part of the settlement of a lawsuit filed by environmental groups in 2004. The groups charged the product posed a health threat to farm workers and those who live near fields where the product has been applied. Yakima Herald

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