EPA launches voluntary program to reduce pesticide drift
The Environmental Protection Agency is announcing a new voluntary Drift Reduction Technology (DRT) program to encourage the use of verified, safer pesticide spray products to reduce exposure and pesticide movement while saving farmers money in pesticide loss.
“Every year state and local agencies receive thousands of complaints about the impacts of pesticide drift on people, wildlife and plants,” said Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Our new star-rating system of products and technologies will help farmers reduce drift, protect neighbors and reduce costs by keeping more of the pesticide on the crop. We hope the new voluntary DRT will encourage the manufacture, marketing and use of safer spray technology and equipment scientifically proven to reduce pesticide drift.”
One to ten percent of agricultural pesticide sprays drift or move from the intended target crop. Every year about 70 million pounds of pesticides valued up to $640 million are lost to pesticide drift. And, state agencies use substantial resources each year investigating drift complaints. Farmers have long been concerned about reducing pesticide product loss during and after application to crops and minimizing drift to neighbors.
DRT is a voluntary program that encourages manufacturers to test their technologies (such as nozzles, spray shields and drift reduction chemicals) for drift reduction potential. EPA encourages pesticide manufacturers to label their products for use with DRT technologies. The four DRT ratings represented by one, two, three or four stars are awarded for technologies that demonstrate at least 25 percent reduction in potential spray drift compared to the standard.
Spray technology manufacturers interested in participating in EPA’s DRT program may now submit data verifying their technology reduces pesticide movement. EPA will evaluate each data submission and, if appropriate, assign a drift-reduction star rating to the product based on its ability to reduce spray drift. EPA will post these ratings at: http://www2.epa.gov/reducing-pesticide-drift
A pesticide manufacturer can choose to label a product for use with a DRT of a particular rating after receiving approval from EPA.
Over time, the program will move the agricultural sector toward the widespread use of low-drift technologies. Drift-reduction ratings could appear on pesticide labels as early as fall 2015.