ENV Spray Drift › Government - Laws, Policies, and Guidance
The focus of this topic is laws, regulations, policies, and guidance that regulatory authorities have issued as final or proposed for the purpose of addressing pesticide spray drift issues including managing or mitigating spray drift. The following links were provided by the regulatory authorities of countries listed below.
Australian Pesticides & Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) routinely assesses risks from spray drift for each of three main areas of its responsibility – protecting human health, protecting the environment and protecting Australia’s international trade. The APVMA assesses risk by combining likely downwind chemical deposition from spray drift with unique risk thresholds for human health, the environment and trade derived from relevant scientific studies for each agricultural chemical product. When needed, it is possible that a product could have a different protective no-spray zone (also called buffer zone) for each of the three risk areas.
The APVMA presently uses 19 standard spray drift risk assessment scenarios that address the most common situations encountered in Australian agriculture. Each scenario has its own unique spray drift deposition profile and is based on extensive data developed in the United States by an industry Spray Drift Task Force (SDTF) and the US Environmental Protection Agency. All standard ground application scenarios are based on the series of SDTF field studies of ground boom and airblast methods. All standard aerial application scenarios are based on modelling with AGDISP and are tailored to Australian conditions.
The APVMA website provides details for each standard application scenario including a graph of deposition data and numerical values of deposition as a fraction of field rate every two metres along the downwind range. The website also provides an overview of the Australian spray drift risk assessment framework – APVMA OPERATING PRINCIPLES IN RELATION TO SPRAY DRIFT RISK – and other explanatory documents such as how the APVMA determines the size of protective no-spray zones.
The above APVMA link contains links to the information described below.
Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment
The Belgian Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment is responsible for registering (licensing) pesticides for sale and use in Belgium and to ensure that they can be used without causing unreasonable adverse effects to people or the environment. As part of the responsibility, they consider spray drift in its risk assessments and risk management decisions by imposing spray drift mitigation requirements (buffer zones and/or drift reducing techniques) on pesticide product labels.
Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA)
Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency has a mandate to ensure that pest control products do not pose unacceptable risks to human health or the environment. As such, the PMRA has developed policies and approaches to minimise off-site, non-target, exposures, including spray drift management. These include:
Policy and guidance:
State Phytosanitary Administration
|The State Phytosanitary Administration (SPA) is responsible for plant protection products registration for sale and use in the Czech Republic in the field of pesticides.
SPA’s Application Technique Department is responsible for registration of plant protection equipment and for inspection of sprayers in use.
(Website address to be provided shortly)
Policy and guidance:
Spray drift mitigation - informal leaflet (link to be provided shortly)
Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL)
The German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) is responsible for authorizing plant protection products for sale and use in Germany and to ensure that they can be used without causing unreasonable adverse effects to humans, animals and unacceptable effects to the environment.
The risk caused by spray drift to humans is considered in the risk assessment by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), the risk to wild animals and other non-target organisms by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). BVL considers spray drift in its risk management decisions by imposing spray drift mitigation requirements on the labels of plant protection products such as for example the use of loss reducing equipment which have been tested and listed by the Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants – Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI).
Plant Protection Act and other legal regulations
Policy and guidance:
Information (in German) on JKI website
Board for the Authorisation of Plant Protection Products and Biocides
|The Board for the Authorisation of Plant Protection Products and Biocides has the duty of taking decisions on the authorisation of pesticides; based on the 2007 Plant Protection Products and Biocides Act. The Board takes decisions on the authorisation of pesticides within the framework of the rules and legislation concerned. The Board is an independent administrative body. The general framework and supervision is provided by the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (Plant Protection Products) and the Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment. Other departments involved are the Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sports, the Ministry for Social Services and Employment and the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management.|
Policy and guidance:
Environmental Risk Management Authority New Zealand (ERMA NZ)
ERMA New Zealand considers exposure to spray drift when processing applications for new pesticide formulations to New Zealand, and also through the reassessment of existing pesticides approvals. In order to manage risks from pesticides, ERMA New Zealand aims to control exposure to humans and the environment. Exposure is managed through a number of approaches, including placing controls/restrictions on certain pesticide application methods and rates, and at the point of sale. For example, many products can only be used by persons who are appropriately trained. Additionally, as a result of a recent reassessment of azinphos methyl, 50 m buffer zones to protect human health and the aquatic environment are required.
ERMA New Zealand’s exposure assessments are typically based on the use of data or models from overseas (e.g. the UK Chemicals Regulation Directorate model for bystander exposure and GENEEC2 aquatic exposure assessment model). ERMA New Zealand is working to improve exposure assessments and where possible take New Zealand conditions into account. Additionally, ERMA New Zealand is looking to systematically include exposure to young children as a vulnerable population within decision making processes. Based on this improved exposure assessment ERMA New Zealand aims to make improved decisions regarding the costs and benefits of pesticide use, and where appropriate add controls to pesticides, such as buffer zones, and specifications about spray droplet size or application techniques or technology.
Norwegian Food Safety Authority
The Norwegian Food Safety Authority is responsible for the authorisation of Plant Protection Products (PPPs) in Norway. As part of the evaluations and risk assessments, buffer zones are used to reduce spray drift. In the risk assessments Predicted Environmental Concentrations (PECs) are calculated using the FOCUS surface water scenarios. Step 4 simulations with buffer zones can be used to find acceptable scenarios.
Annex II to the Norwegian PPP regulation specifies the use of buffer zones on product labels. PECs for different buffer widths (5, 10, 20 and 30 meters) and different crops (field crops, fruit crops, berries and crops >50 cm) are calculated using Rautmann et al. 2001. Toxicity Exposure Ratios (TERs) are then calculated for the organism groups fish, invertebrates, aquatic plants and algae. The buffer width is set to ensure that TER is higher than 100 for acute effects on fish/invertebrates and 10 for chronic effects/algae/aquatic plants. An upper limit for buffer width is set to 30 meters. If this is not enough, one has to consider carefully if the PPP can be approved, taking into consideration higher tier studies (micro-/mesocosms). Since spray drift will vary between crops, the buffer width can be differentiated accordingly on the product label. PPPs only approved for use in glasshouses, as seed treatment or for granular dispersion will not get spray drift mitigation requirements specified on the product labels.
Central Control and Testing Institute of Agriculture (abbr. CCTIA)
|Central Control and Testing Institute of Agriculture (abbr. CCTIA) is responsible for registration and control of the plant protection products (agricultural pesticides) placed on the market in the Slovak Republic. This organisation is subsidiary body of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Slovak Republic|
Policy and guidance:
The goal of the measurements referred in the registration report and the subsequent control of their performance is to ensure that plant protection products are used without causing unreasonable adverse effects to people or the environment.
There is no specific website dealing with spray drift in the Slovak Republic, however risk mitigation measures for safe use of pesticides incl. management of spray drift are established and applied:
1. Spray drift mitigation requirements on pesticide product labels;
2. Use of appropriate machinery for application (the machinery must be designed and constructed to ensure that pesticide is deposited on target areas, to minimise losses to other areas and to prevent drift of pesticide to the environment; the machinery is regularly controlled by an accredited institution);
3. The performance of technological rules during application – appropriate low temperature, humidity (under 60%), calm etc;
4. Education of users;
5. Establishment of stricter buffer zones in the case of problematic pesticides.
Federal Office for Agriculture FOA
|The Federal Office for Agriculture FOAG is responsible for registering pesticides for sale and use in Switzerland. It must ensure that they can effectively be used without adverse effects to humans, animals and environment. As part of the responsibility, FOAG considers spray drift in its surface-waters related risk assessments and risk management decisions. It imposes minimal distances from surface-waters for spraying on pesticide product labels and requires related spray drift mitigation measures.|
Policy and guidance:
Chemicals Regulation Directorate
|The UK’s Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD) primary aim is to ensure the safe use of biocides, industrial chemicals, pesticides and detergents to protect the health of people and the environment. Before pesticides are authorised for use in the UK an environmental risk assessment that considers the potential for surface water contamination via spray drift is completed. Where the risk assessment identifies the potential for an unacceptably high predicted environmental concentration (PEC), a no-spray buffer zone may be used as a risk mitigation tool to ensure aquatic ecosystems are protected, otherwise the product is not authorised. For some products farmers have the opportunity to reduce no spray buffer zone via the LERAP (Local Environmental Risk Assessment for Pesticides) scheme. The LERAP scheme provides arrangements for field crop (boom) sprayers and broadcast air-assisted (orchard) type sprayers.|
Policy and guidance:
Environmental Protection Agency
|The US EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs is responsible for registering (licensing) pesticides for sale and use in the US and to ensure that they can be used without causing unreasonable adverse effects to people or the environment. As part of the responsibility, EPA considers spray drift in its risk assessments and risk management decisions by imposing spray drift mitigation requirements on pesticide product labels.|
Laws and Regulations:
In general, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) authorizes EPA to register each pesticide product intended for distribution or sale in the US. To register a pesticide, EPA must determine that its use will not cause “unreasonable adverse effect on the environment”, considering the economic, social, and environmental costs and benefits of the use or human dietary risk that does not meet the safety standard in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. EPA only registers pesticides in which it has determined the benefits out weigh the risks of use. In making this determination, EPA considers required scientific data, the product label, and potential risks posed by potential off-target drift of pesticide sprays and dust.
EPA considers exposure to pesticide handlers as part of its risk assessment process, and develops appropriate mitigation measures to address risk associated with occupational exposure to pesticides. This principle led to labeling prohibiting drift exposure to workers or other persons for products subject to the Worker Protection Standands in regulation 40 Code of Federal Regulations Part 156 and 170. These regulation require agricultural pesticide product labels to include the statement “Do not apply this product in a way that will contact workers or other persons, either directly or through drift.”
In addition to these federal laws and regulations, many state regulatory agencies responsible for pesticide sale and use in their states do have regulations that are specific to pesticide use and spray drift mitigation measures. These regulations vary from state to state and may impose greater use restrictions than required by EPA and requirements on pesticide product labels.
Policy and Guidance:
On 4 November 2009 the US EPA issued for public comment (ending 5 March 2010) three documents which support EPA's proposed guidance for pesticide spray drift labeling for pesticide products. These documents include:
These three documents and the received public comments on these documents are available at www.regulations.gov at docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0628.
EPA is reviewing the received public comments on this proposed guidance and will decide in the future upon an appropriate course of action.
“Spray Drift Workgroup – Final Report to PPDC”: This document is a response by the EPA to an external stakeholder group which provided EPA with advice on a wide variety of spray drift policy issues. The stakeholder group’s advice document is also located at this website.
Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS