NCSU Transition Team for Methyl Bromide helps growers maintain yields while improving the ozone layer

A group of extension specialists at NC State University have helped growers use integrated pest management to transition away from a toxic fumigant while maintaining their yields. Decreased use of the fumigant has had positive environmental consequences as well: the decreased use has led to lower bromine levels in the atmosphere, accounting for one-third of the measured decrease in ozone depleting halogens above the Antarctica.

The transition away from the pesticide methyl bromide began in 2005, in response to scientific data linking it to decreasing ozone levels in the atmosphere. Developed countries banned methyl bromide under the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty signed in 1987 to protect the stratospheric ozone layer. In the United States, the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture devised a funding mechanism to help scientists gradually wean farmers away from methyl bromide use. Each year, scientists would apply for “critical use exemptions” to specify how much methyl bromide they felt farmers in their state would need while they searched for alternatives. The funding mechanism was called the “Methyl Bromide Alternatives Program.” Continue reading

New Website on Soil Fumigants

As part of the EPA’s effort to build a more user-friendly website, we have compiled all of our information on soil fumigants into a microsite so that visitors can find the information they need more quickly and easily. The Soil Fumigant Toolbox contains material on

  • training,
  • fumigant management plans,
  • buffer zones and
  • other safety measures for the protection of agricultural workers and bystanders.

You will find background information on soil fumigants and links to fact sheets and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Research Foundation’s Soil Fumigation Manual, a national pesticide applicator study guide.

This toolbox will be useful to fumigant handlers and certified applicators, state and tribal agencies, and communities that may be affected by the fumigation of soil. It can be accessed at http://www2.epa.gov/soil-fumigants.

A Pesticide Primer for Homeowners

I took this post from the StopPests in Housing Program blog, because it has a lot of information about what different pesticides are and do. Although one of the goals of IPM is to reduce the amount of pesticides used for a pest situation, some situations call for pesticide use. The information in this blog will hopefully help you make a more informed decision the next time you go to the big box store to get something to kill the ants in your kitchen.

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