The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is initiating the Pesticide Contamination Prevention Act (PCPA) review process for the active ingredient imidacloprid. More information regarding PCPA overall, and on DPR’s specific action for imidacloprid, including a copy of the legal agricultural use determination, study reports, and drinking water assessment, can be found at https://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/emon/grndwtr/imidacloprid.htm.
NOTICE OF IMIDACLOPRID RESIDUE DETECTIONS IN CALIFORNIA GROUNDWATER AND THE PESTICIDE CONTAMINATION PREVENTION ACT (PCPA) REVIEW PROCESS
The 1985 Pesticide Contamination Prevention Act (PCPA) (Assembly Bill 2021, Food and Agricultural Code [FAC] sections 13141 through 13152) requires the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to monitor and review the use of pesticides designated as having the potential to contaminate groundwater. If DPR detects a pesticide or its degradation product in groundwater, the PCPA requires DPR to determine if the detection(s) were the result of legal agricultural use. Once this determination is made, DPR notifies registrants of the detections and provides them with an opportunity to request a hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to review evidence to determine if continued use of the affected agricultural use pesticide products should be allowed. If DPR does not receive a hearing request from a registrant, DPR’s Director will cancel the registrant’s agricultural use product registration(s) containing imidacloprid.
IMIDACLOPRID RESIDUE DETECTIONS IN GROUNDWATER AND AFFECTED PRODUCTS
DPR detected residues of imidacloprid in 15 groundwater wells at concentrations that exceeded the reporting limit of 0.05 parts per billion (ppb). Detected concentrations ranged from 0.051 to 5.97 ppb. Wells with detections above the reporting limit are located in Fresno, Santa Barbara, and Tulare counties. Based on its investigation, DPR determined the imidacloprid residues detected in groundwater were the result of legal agricultural use of a pesticide product or pesticide products containing imidacloprid. As such, DPR is initiating the PCPA review process for imidacloprid.
As of September 10, 2021, 253 pesticide products containing the active ingredient imidacloprid were registered for sale and use in California. DPR has determined 125 of these 253 total products are subject to the PCPA process based on their potential for agricultural use. A list of these 125 products is included on page 4 through page 10 of this notice.
PESTICIDE CONTAMINATION PREVENTION ACT REVIEW PROCESS
When a pesticide or degradation product of a pesticide is first detected and confirmed in groundwater, and DPR determines the detections resulted from legal agricultural use, the provisions of the PCPA require DPR to conduct a formal review to determine if use of the pesticide can continue and, if so, under what conditions. This review process begins when DPR notifies all affected registrants with registered products that contain the detected pesticide active ingredient or degradate, and provides registrants of affected agricultural use products with an opportunity to request a hearing in response to the notification. On September 23, 2021, DPR will notify all imidacloprid registrants of DPR’s groundwater detections and legal agricultural use determination, and will provide registrants of agricultural use products with an opportunity to request a public hearing by October 25, 2021.
Under the PCPA, if the registrant of the affected agricultural use pesticide product(s) requests a hearing within 30 days of the date it was notified of DPR’s determination, a three-member subcommittee of the Pesticide Registration and Evaluation Committee (PREC) will conduct a hearing within 180 days of the initial request. The PREC Subcommittee consists of one member each from DPR, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), and the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). If, however, a registrant does not request a hearing date within 30 days from the notification date, DPR’s Director will cancel the registrant’s agricultural use product registration(s) containing imidacloprid. (FAC sections 13149 through 13150.)
If a hearing is requested, DPR will issue a separate notice specifying the date, time, and location of the public hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to gather evidence regarding the continued agricultural use of imidacloprid products. Pursuant to FAC section 13150, if the registrant requests a hearing, the registrant is required to submit a report and documented evidence to support the continued registration, sale, and use of its pesticide product(s) containing imidacloprid. Each registrant is responsible for submitting its own report and documented evidence as required by FAC section 13150, or alternatively, coordinating with other registrants on the submission of such report and evidence on their behalf. DPR requests registrants submit the report and documented evidence at least 30 days before the scheduled hearing date.
At the hearing, the registrants, or their designated agents, will be given an opportunity to provide written and oral testimony for the PREC Subcommittee’s consideration and answer questions from the Subcommittee about the registrants’ reports and any other materials the registrants submit to DPR. The public will also be given an opportunity to provide written and oral testimony to the PREC Subcommittee for its consideration. Testimony may be limited to ensure that every commenter has an equal opportunity to speak. Staff from OEHHA, SWRCB, and DPR may also provide information for the Subcommittee’s consideration.
The PREC Subcommittee will review the documented evidence presented and submitted by the registrants and others, and will make one of the following findings and recommendations:
That the ingredient found in the soil or groundwater has not polluted, and does not threaten to pollute, the groundwater of the state,
That the agricultural use of the pesticide can be modified so that there is a high probability that the pesticide would not pollute the groundwater of the state, or
That modification of the agricultural use of the pesticide or cancellation of the pesticide will cause severe economic hardship on the state’s agricultural industry, and that no alternative products or practices can be effectively used so that there is a high probability that pollution of the groundwater of the state will not occur. The Subcommittee will recommend a level of the pesticide that does not significantly diminish the margin of safety recognized by the Subcommittee to not cause adverse health effects.
The Director will issue a decision regarding the continued agricultural use of the pesticide within 30 days of the submission of the Subcommittee’s reported findings. If none of the above findings are made, the affected pesticide product registrations will be canceled.