NC Pesticide Board Meeting Notes
November 14, 2017
12:30 – 4:30 PM
Governor James Martin Building
NC State Fairgrounds
In attendance: Dr. Allen Scarborough (Vice Chair and presiding); Dr. Colleen Hudak-Wise; Dr. Benson Kirkman; Mr. Shawn Harding; Mr. Don Rodgers; Mr. Jim Burnette (Secretary); Ms. Mary P. Kelley
Not in attendance: Dr. Rick Langley (Chair)
Dr. Scarborough reminded the member to avoid conflicts of interest and/or appearance of conflicts of interest. No members acknowledged conflicts of interest.
Introduction of new Board Member – Mary P. Kelley
Dr. Scarborough introduced Mary P. Kelley who was introduced as the new member of the NC Pesticide Board to represent NC Department of Environmental Quality.
Consider Board minutes from the June 8, 2017 meeting
Mr. Harding moved that the minutes be approved as is and Mr. Rodgers seconded that motion. Unanimously approved.
HB 74, Agency Rules Review Update – Jim Burnette, SPC&PD
HB 74 requires a periodic review of all rules by the enforcement agency. The Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (DOA&CS) had proposed to the Pesticide Board the staff’s classification of the rules as “necessary with substantive public interest”; “necessary without substantive public interest”; or “unnecessary”, which the Board approved. This approval also allowed for the DOA to published the rules on an agency website for public comment. All comments will then come back to the Board, and then a final decision will be made.
Mr. Rodgers moved that the rules be published for public comment. Dr. Scarborough seconded. Unanimously approved.
Pollinator Outreach Update & PETF Request for DriftWatch and Pollinator Outreach – Patrick Jones, SPC&PD
Mr. Jones gave an update on outreach for the Division’s pollinator protection program that has been going on since June 2014. The goal of this outreach initiative is to increase communication between beekeepers, pesticide applicators, farmers, and landscapers. The Division’s strategy is to get beekeepers to register their hives on BeeCheck, which is a program of DriftWatch, so that applicators can check for hives in the area before they apply pesticides.
Mr. Jones asked the Board for an additional $6,500 for the annual fee to use DriftWatch, $1,500 for publications and “Get to Know Your Beekeeper/Farmer/Applicator/Landscaper” pamphlets, and $2,000 for outreach materials. The total proposal was for $10,000 from the Pesticide Environmental Trust Fund (PETF).
Dr. Kirkman made a motion to approve the proposal for $10,000 from the PETF. Dr. Hudak-Wise seconded the motion. Unanimously approved.
Auxin Technologies Update – Dr. Alan York, NCSU
Dr. Alan York of the Weed Science Department at NC State University gave a summary about the training that they offered this year on auxin technologies, lessons learned, and next steps. Auxin technologies allow use of dicamba and 2,4 D on cotton and soybeans, which are not new products. Auxin technologies (Xtend – dicamba resistant and Enlist – 2,4D resistant) allow the use for longer period of times and on more land.
Dr. York expressed that many broadleaf crops are extremely sensitive to some of these products, and that many growers did not know this, or didn’t respect it. Last summer, Dr. York felt like it was time to do some outreach and education as to not make the same mistakes as some growers did in the mid-South.
Overall, in the 2017 growing season, there were few complaints from drift of dicamba (15 complaints) that were reported to the DOA&CS. Eight incidents were involving drift onto tobacco, and no official complaints of vegetables or homeowners. Dr. York felt these could be explained by spray drift by growers that were not paying attention to wind speed, direction, etc.
Dr. York discussed how the EPA is examining the label for dicamba and are expected to reduce the maximum wind speed when the chemical can be applied, time of day that the chemical can be applied, and a few other things. Dr. York and DOA&CS will monitor the exact language and develop outreach as they understand the breadth of the proposed changes.
Monitoring Surface Water for Pesticides – John Allran, SPC&PD
Mr. Allran explained the potential changes that made be made through a collaboration with NC DOA&CS, DHHS, and DEQ. This new system would use the current Random Ambient Monitoring System (RAMS) Program to sample and evaluate newer pesticides through randomly sampling 30 streams across the state twice a year. Currently, RAMS evaluates 88 pesticides, but fewer than half of the pesticides are currently registered for use in NC. The Quality Assurance manager with NCDEQ, Nick Jones, wants to streamline this current list and make sure that it is testing for relevant pesticides.
To help to classify the ~900 active ingredients that are registered for use in NC, the DOA&CS developed a methodology that will break down these chemicals into low, moderate, and high risk to aquatic species. This was done through a formulation examining run-off potential through soil adsorption (mobility) and soil metabolism half-life (persistence). The DOA&CS also examined EPA toxicity data on various species of fish and aquatic invertebrates to rank the mortality from exposure as a measure of acute toxicity. Through this system, out of 373 pesticide active ingredients registered for use in NC, 88% rank as moderate or high risk to aquatic species.
Mr. Allran suggested that DEP will use the RAMS Program to collect samples, the DHHS will analyze the samples for 148 pesticides, and potentially more, and the results will be used to compare to EPA Aquatic Life Benchmarks, make management decisions, focus on outreach and education, support enforcement, and report to EPA for use in risk assessment, registration, and label amendments process.
The Pesticide Board members were supportive of the initiative, but no formal action was required.
Public Comment – Bev and Scott Veals
Bev and Scott Veals of Carolina Beach spoke to the Board about a current situation with a neighbor that uses pesticides to chemically mow his yard. They have had ongoing problems with this neighbor for years and have complained on numerous occasions to the DOA&CS about potential violations.
Mrs. Veals is a three-time cancer survivor who has chemical sensitivity due to her radiation therapy. Mr. Veals has spoken with the neighbor on numerous occasions to try to find a compromise on when he can spray chemicals and Mrs. Veals wouldn’t be exposed; however, the neighbor is insistent that he will continue to spray even if that means that Mrs. Veals will be exposed.
Mrs. Veals feels that this is not a unique problem in neighborhoods across the state and wanted to reach out to the Board about potential for collaboration on education and outreach. The Board was receptive to this and felt it appropriate to continue the conversation.