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Chlorpyrifos Update (Summer 2022)

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This page was adapted from the article, "Chlorpyrifos Update," which appeared in Crop & Pest Report on June 23, 2022.

In August of 2021, EPA announced they were revoking all food tolerances for chlorpyrifos insecticide as of February 28, 2022. Applications made to any food crop or forage after that date that could make its way into the food chain (including hay, grazing lands, or other livestock feeds) would be considered adulterated and subject to condemnation, fines, and other penalties.

Unfortunately, the revocation does not allow for using existing stocks of chlorpyrifos. This resulted in many farmers and dealers with inventories that cannot be used as originally intended.  Not surprisingly, agricultural interests sued EPA over this decision. While a court agreed to hear the case, a stay was not forthcoming and the ban remains in effect. You can read more about this here:  https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/ag/crops/article/2022/03/17/chlorpyrifos-ban-will-remain-effect

The problem is, what to do with existing inventories? The products remain registered, so it may be used in non-crop situations. But labeling on agricultural use chlorpyrifos is extremely limited for non-crop sites. Users need to carefully read each label in their inventory to determine if a legal application can be made. If it can be applied to a site near food crops, care should be taken to avoid drift as that drift could potentially contaminate a crop. Also, care should be exercised in making sure the site is NOT hayed or grazed. Bottom line, in many situations, there are no practical legal uses for chlorpyrifos.

If you are in possession of chlorpyrifos that you cannot use, the first call you should make is to your distributor. They may be willing to take your inventories or they may have suggestions on disposal. Distributors are NOT under obligation to buy back chlorpyrifos, but may be willing to accept the product and repurpose or dispose of it.

State waste pesticide collection programs have been suggested as a potential means of disposing of chlorpyrifos. However, on March 1, 2022, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture announced that they would not accept chlorpyrifos during the 2022 Project Safe Send (PSS) collection. You can read more about this decision here: https://www.nd.gov/ndda/news/goehring-epa-north-dakota-unable-dispose-chlorpyrifos. In summary, the NDDA’s concern was that these inventories could overwhelm the PSS budget, which was set during the 2021 legislative session.

There are pesticide disposal firms that can accept chlorpyrifos, but they would do so for a fee. Two firms that I am aware of are Veolia and Clean Harbors. Their websites are listed here:  https://www.veolianorthamerica.com and https://www.cleanharbors.com

Finally, people who have significant quantities of chlorpyrifos are between a rock and an even harder place. Holding the inventories in hopes of PSS accepting them in 2023 and beyond would be highly speculative. Plus, EPA has also announced that they are re-evaluating the chlorpyrifos registration. It is likely that in another year or two, they will do away with the registration, even for the limited uses still allowed on the label. Thus, it is likely that significant quantities of chlorpyrifos will simply continue to take up space in shops or warehouses for some time to come.