2012-2013 AGRO Webinar Series

Co-Sponsored by ABC Laboratories

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Webinar Recordings

This webinar was presented on May 8, 2013.  Click on the title to hear a recordings of the presentation.  

Jessica LawrenceDesigning Studies to Assess the Effects of Pesticides on Honey Bees

Jessica Lawrence, Research Scientist – Entomologist
Eurofins Agroscience Services Inc.

Honey Bee colonies have been under pressure due to a variety of environmental factors. The effect of pesticides has specifically been debated and honey bee studies are being conducted to address this issue. The webinar will discuss how such studies are custom designed to fit both the EPA regulation requirements, and general beekeeping practices. Studies are normally conducted under Good Laboratory Practices but occasionally also include preliminary pilot studies to design the final study for EPA submission. This presentation will cover many of the designing aspects of studies.

ESA Symposium Series BookPesticide Regulation and the Endangered Species Act:  Recommendations for Improvement and Recent Developments
– Based on the ACS Symposium Series Book of the same title

This webinar was presented on Wednesday, April 3, 2013.  Click on the title to hear a recordings of the presentation.  

Ken RackePesticide Regulation and the Endangered Species Act: An Introduction to the Webinar

Kenneth D. Racke, Dow AgroSciences, 9330 Zionsville Road, Bldg 308-2A, Indianapolis, IN  46268.

During the past several years an emerging spirit of cooperation and constructive dialogue has arisen among key stakeholders for resolution of procedural and scientific issues associated with regulation of pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The constructive dialogue first experienced at a 2011 ACS AGRO symposium has now carried over into the 24 contributed chapters assembled by ACS into a new symposium series book.  The book captures diverse viewpoints and, as had been true for the symposium, contributors went beyond outlining present difficulties and included specific recommendations for improvements.  The objectives of this webinar are to highlight noteworthy recommendations from the recently released book and to further advance constructive dialogue.

Nancy GoldenConsideration of Nontraditional Endpoints in the Assessment of Ecological Risk under the Endangered Species Act

Nancy H. Golden, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203.

In assessing risk under the ESA, we are often faced with high uncertainty due to gaps in knowledge regarding life history, population dynamics, and stressors.  Because of their vulnerability, the consequences of missing effects to endangered species may be great. Thus, in order to meet the statute’s mandate to “insure” that actions do not jeopardize species, we approach risk assessment in a manner that avoids overlooking potential effects.  As an example, we examine the role and importance of assessing sublethal effects (those that expand beyond the endpoints of survival, growth, and reproduction), and how we might approach their inclusion in a biological assessment in the face of incomplete information.

Anita PeaseAdvancements in Endangered Species Act Affects Determination for Pesticide Registration Actions

Anita Pease, Office of Pesticide Programs, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Ariel Rios Building, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20460.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is beginning the review of pesticide registrations under the Registration Review provisions of the Food Quality Protection Act.  This process will include the completion of effects determinations and consultation for federally listed threatened and endangered species under Section 7 of the ESA. The spatial, biological and temporal complexity of effects determinations and consultation for pesticide regulatory decisions, often made at a nationwide geographic scale, necessitates the movement toward a process that automates and standardizes many aspects of pesticide risk assessment. This development raises important scientific issues between the EPA and the USFWS and NMFS.

Timothy MaleImproving the Endangered Species Act Pesticide Consultation Process

Timothy D. Male, Defenders of Wildlife, 1130 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC  20036.

To improve pesticide consultations under the ESA, at least three key questions should be answered.  First, under the ESA, what level of risk to ESA-listed species is acceptable from the registration of a pesticide under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act?  Second, how will the federal agencies that implement and comply with the ESA receive enough funding to meet their current and future pesticide consultation workload?  Third, how can these agencies improve the process of consultation, so that it is more effective, efficient, transparent, and predictable?  This presentation explains the importance of each question and provides a starting point for answers.

Tilghman HallData Quality, Reliability, and Relevance Standards for Ecological Risk Assessment: Recommendations for Improvements to Pesticide Regulation in Compliance with the Endangered Species Act

A. Tilghman Hall, Bayer CropScience, 2 T.W. Alexander Drive P.O. Box 12041, Research Triangle Park, NC  27709.

Improvements to pesticide regulations must be based on sound science and clear documentation of all processes, procedures and decision-making involved.  Data quality, including consideration of reliability and relevance, is key to the achieving a rigorous assessment.  The tremendous scale upon which an ecological and endangered species assessment rests makes it critical to have a process that proceeds meaningfully and efficiently from the national to the local level, in a manner that involves all experts appropriately and at the proper point in the assessment process.  Case studies have shown the feasibility of refining risk assessments and enabling informed risk assessment and management decisions, but disagreement can result if the diverse parties involved do not rely on the same dataset for assessment purposes.  Consequently, agreeing on data quality standards, towards the goal of an agreed data set for a given assessment, is of paramount importance.

Bernalyn McGaugheyRecommendations for Improvements to Pesticide Regulation in Compliance with the Endangered Species Act

Bernalyn D. McGaughey, Compliance Services International, 7501 Bridgeport Way West, Lakewood, WA 98499.

It is clear, from the wealth of information and diverse methods presented in the book, that good science abounds with respect to endangered species assessment.  This concluding presentation explores ways in which the complicated intersection of FIFRA and ESA might be best improved within the current framework of consultation under the ESA.  Ideas of chapter authors offer a collective wisdom that can be applied to clarify a common vision for what successful consultation may look like in the future.  Recommendations are made for three main initiatives: (1) establish trust and a cooperative process between agencies; (2) provide resources to establish priorities for accomplishing the task at hand; and (3) improve communication with and early involvement of stakeholders.

The Future of Pyrethroids:  Environmental Detection, Resistance, and Novel Spatial Repellents

This webinar was presented on March 13, 2013.  Click on the title to hear a recording of the presentation.

Kevin ClarkAnalysis of environmental samples for pyrethroid insecticides using multianalyte methods and stable isotope internal standards
Kevin Clark, Morse Laboratories

Over the last decade, analytical method requirements for agrochemicals in a range of environmental matrices have become increasingly-more demanding in terms of ruggedness, breadth of applicability, and sensitivity, with methods for pyrethroid insecticides being a notable example of this trend. The Pyrethroid Working Group (PWG) has developed methodology that monitors for eight different pyrethroids at low (ca. 0.5 – 5.0 ng/L) concentrations in difficult aquatic based matrices. The current approach utilizes negative chemical ionization gas chromatography with mass selective detection (NCI-GC-MSD), which provides embedded confirmatory information via the capability of the GC to provide separation of characteristic pyrethroid stereoisomers (and thus a fingerprint) and by the monitoring of confirmatory ions. The presentation will highlight the benefits of employing stable isotope internal standards in conjunction with a multi-analyte method for analysis of surface waters, sediments, and other matrices of interest, such as wastewater treatment influent/effluent water and biosolids. It will also discuss other key learnings on practical constraints that make quantifying this class of chemistry a challenge.

Identification of a novel pyrethroid receptor site on a mosquito sodium channel
Ke Dong, Michigan State University

Pyrethroids are a large class of structurally diverse, synthetic analogues of natural pyrethrins from the flower extracts of Chrysanthemum spp. The primary target site of pyrethroids is voltage-gated sodium channels, which are essential for the initiation and propagation of action potentials in the nervous system. Currently, pyrethroid insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) are the most powerful control measure to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality. A major threat to the sustained use of pyrethroids is the emergence of mosquito resistance to pyrethroids. Due to the lack of a functional expression system for mosquito sodium channels, the pyrethroid receptor site in mosquitoes has remained elusive. Here, we report the establishment of a functional expression system for the Aedes aegypti sodium channel in Xenopus oocytes and identification of molecular determinants that are critical for the binding and action of pyrethroids. Our study provides critical information for monitoring sodium channel mutation mediated pyrethroid-resistance in mosquito populations.

Making pyrethroids more volatile for spatial repellency against biting arthropods
Kamal Chauhan, USDA-ARS, Beltsville, Maryland

For the development of the reduced risk public health pesticides (PHP), pyrethroids as a class of insecticides stands out to be major player; however, insecticide resistance is a limiting factor. Developing new pyrethroids with high vapor pressure and knockdown efficacy will classify pyrethroids as spatial repellents with modified action.

Pesticides: The Global Need and Do Adjuvants Matter?

This webinar was presented on February 13, 2013.  Click on the title to see a recording of the presentation.

Dr. Leonard GianessiProduction of Export Crops Depends on the Worldwide Annual Use of Pesticides
Leonard P. Gianessi, CropLife Foundation

In the United States and Europe, widespread pesticide use began over 100 years ago as a result of consumer demands for insect-free fruit and vegetables. Today, consumers all around the world have similar expectations: produce free of pest damage. As a result, most of the world’s fruit and vegetables are treated with insecticides and fungicides. Pesticides are widely used in growing export crops in the Tropics. Production of coffee, bananas, cocoa, mangoes, and tea would decline significantly without regular use of insecticides and fungicides to prevent losses to insects and diseases. Hazelnuts from Turkey and kiwi from New Zealand are just two examples of crops for which export markets are dependent on the regular use of pesticides for production.

Effect of adjuvants on residues in relation to routine residue trial variability
Philip A. Brindle and Jane Stewart, BASF Agricultural Solutions

Adjuvants added to farmers’ spray tanks may increase residues in crops, which could have implications for setting Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs). CropLife America’s Residue Expert Work Group analyzed a significant quantity of data to investigate the effect of adjuvants in side-by-side residue trials conducted with or without adjuvants. Residue data sets and methodologies used in development of the OECD MRL Calculator were applied in this work.  Results showed there is a tendency for adjuvants to increase residues in certain crops; however, the observed increase should not be applied as a general rule. Any potential magnitude of increase due to adjuvants was shown to be well within the variability found in routine residue work, as well as the variability in estimating the corresponding MRLs.

Is Your Method Good Enough? Highlights from Philly 2012

This webinar was presented on December 5th, 2012.  Click on the title to see the recording of the presentation.

Current and Emerging mass spectrometry-based methods for pesticide residue analysis in agrochemical R&D
Sergio Nanita, Principal Investigator, DuPont Crop Protection
Mass spectrometry is widely used in research and development efforts that lead to novel agrochemicals. The requirements of analytical methods are variable. This webinar will cover example methods, which are applied at different stages of agrochemical research and development. These diverse methods are based on chromatography/ tandem mass spectrometry and high-throughput flow injection/tandem mass spectrometry to measure insecticides and herbicides at part-per-billion levels in complex matrices, such as food and the environment. The challenges of optimizing quantitative analysis (i.e. accuracy and precision), throughput and sensitivity to meet the objectives of agrochemical research and comply with regulatory guidelines will be highlighted.

Dr. Steven Lehotay

What Is Good Enough?
Steven Lehotay,  Lead Scientist, USDA-ARS
A young Winston Churchill was once asked to write a report by his boss. When Churchill handed in the report, his boss asked, “Is this the best you could do?” and Churchill replied, “No.” “Do it again!” the boss demanded. When Churchill returned with the revised version, he was asked again, “Is this the best you could do?” Churchill was ready with his response, “No, but it is equal to the task.” Although Churchill was not an analytical chemist, he captured the essence of the fit-for-purpose concept well. This presentation is intended to help answer the question, “What is good enough?” when setting standards in the chemical residue analysis arena.

Perfecting the Communication of Chemical Risk

Symposium presented on August 15, 2012 at the ACS Fall National Meeting in Philadelphia.  Click on the title to see a recording of the presentation.

Ivan KennedyIntroductory RemarksIvan Kennedy, University of Sydney




David FischhoffCommunicating science-based assessment of risks and benefits of agricultural biotechnologyDavid A. Fischhoff, Monsanto Company
The first generation of agricultural biotechnology crop products resulted in the successful development of new systems for insect and weed control that replaced or reduced alternative pest management methods with higher risk profiles. Significant scientific efforts were undertaken globally to assess whether the use of transgenic technology presented new benefits and/or risks to food, feed and environmental safety in the crops and in food and feed products compared to conventional counterparts. Scientific
data has continued to demonstrate that biotechnology offers substantial benefits to the environment, consumers and farmers using these new tools to control pests compared to traditional methods. However, opponents of this science platform continue to challenge its safety generating doubt while its supporters use science as the proof of its safety. Communicating the results of science-based risk and benefit assessments is a continuing challenge for agricultural biotechnology. Lessons learned and new insights into improving communications will be shared.

Communicating risks and benefits of soil fumigant useJames N Seiber, University of California at Davis
Soil fumigants continue to be needed for the production of a number of valuable food commodities ranging from carrots and grapes to strawberries. One preplant application of soil fumigant chemicals or mixtures can control nematodes, weeds, and plant pathogens and protects the crop from planting to harvest. But the use of fumigants entails risks to the applicators and other farm workers as well as those residing or working in the vicinity of fumigated fields. Research data can provide information that addresses risks and assists in the communication of these risks to the public. Examples will be given for risks from airborne exposure to methyl bromide and chloropicrin, including the use of buffer zones, barriers, and other tools to minimize exposure. Risk communication associated with methyl bromide alternatives, and the potential for reduced risk approaches to control of soil pests in strawberry fields, will be discussed from a ‘lessons learned’ perspective.

John JohnstonInter-agency risk communication: Inorganic arsenic residues in poultryJohn J. Johnston, USDA Food Safety Inspection Service
Roxarsone was used as a coccidiostat in poultry for 50 years. Using recent advances in instrumentation, FDA detected very low concentrations of carcinogenic inorganic arsenic in the livers of Roxarsone treated chickens. By combining these residue data with a prospective risk assessment, FDA concluded that the future cancer risk to consumers of Roxarsone-treated poultry was very low yet avoidable. The manufacturer initiated actions to suspend Roxarsone use in the United States. Anticipating public concern, USDA conducted a risk assessment based on historic poultry consumption and arsenic residue data to estimate the magnitude of cancer induced by consumption of inorganic arsenic residues in poultry meat prior to the termination of Roxarsone. USDA concluded that historic use of Roxarsone resulted in negligible public health risk. This presentation discusses the risk communication challenges associated with this situation and the inter-agency coordination that resulted in successful risk communication to the public.

Kevin ArmbrustCommunicating the risk of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) measured in seafood in Mississippi following the Gulf oil spill Kevin L. Armbrust, Mississippi State University
Following the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon, the state of Mississippi began sampling and monitoring crabs, shrimp, oysters, and several species of fish from numerous locations within Mississippi state waters. From the end of May 2010 to date, over 400 samples have  been analyzed by the State for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) as listed in the NOAA method for analysis of PAHs in seafood. Additional samples were also collected and  submitted to the NOAA laboratory in Pascagoula, MS to support the reopening of  state waters in accordance with the protocol jointly developed by the gulf coast states, FDA  and NOAA. PAHs have not been detected in any sample collected to date at levels  above the level of concern (LOC) as established in the reopening protocol. PAHs were  routinely detected in most samples at low part-per-billion levels and are consistent with  values commonly detected in samples measured in other studies unrelated to the oil spill.  However, to allay consumer concerns about low detections of PAHs in seafood and to best  communicate the risk of these levels to consumers, concentrations of PAHs were also evaluated in common meat products (smoked turkey, ham, chicken, catfish, and  barbecued pork) purchased at local restaurants and super markets. The levels of PAHs  measured in seafood were consistent with or below levels of PAHs detected in these food items.

Keith SolomonPOPs on the cusp: The case of endosulfanKeith Solomon, University of Guelph
Criteria for the identification of POPs were developed from the properties of the so-called “dirty dozen” (DDT, etc.) that had been observed to be persistent (P), bioacumulative (B), toxic (T), and transported over long distances (LRAT). The quantitative criteria for identification of POPs are deterministic values for P and B and qualitative for T and LRAT. The objective of these regulations is to avoid the use of chemicals that, over time, will increase in concentration in environmental compartments to the extent that they cause harm to organisms, including humans. Thus, the combined properties that drive P, B, and T must have, or will, result in accumulation to harmful levels. This was the case for some of the legacy POPs, but not necessarily for compounds that have properties close to the criterion values. These compounds are “on the cusp” and present scientific challenges that will be discussed using endosulfan as a case example.

Using local community-protection values to provide evidence of reduced catchment-scale risk from pesticidesMitchell Burns, University of Sydney
River concentrations of pesticides result from practices undertaken by individual farmers over an entire catchment. This might contain environments of different ecological value, for example irrigation channels vs. a protected wetland. Subsequently, ecological risk assessments (ERA), when applied at the catchment-scale, could use assessment endpoints that reflect the ecological significance of the different environments according to the local environmental protection goals, such as those defined by the local catchment management agency. Advances in spatial information techniques, applied to ERA, have provided the capability for distinguishing and estimating ecological impacts of pesticides in the different environments of a catchment. This paper presents an Australian case study that evaluates the ecological risk of diuron in an agricultural catchment. In this study a set of assessment endpoints formed in consultation are used to distinguish different environments and a refinement of the current management scale is suggested.

Real world exposure and biomonitoring are not part of the alarmist agendaLarry E. Hammond, 2,4-D Task Force
Toxicological data has been misrepresented to express alarm and multiple health effects. Detection does not mean health concerns. To a large segment of the public and environmentalists, exposure to pesticides means harm. EPA guideline testing requires determining toxicological limits of a pesticide called hazard, thus those values are the focus of the alarmists. The NOAEL, nor the 100X lower RfD, nor realworld biomonitoring exposure is considered. Selected old publications and adverse findings are highlighted. In contrast there is a huge difference in the recent 2,4-D one-gen reproduction study; the male systemic toxicity NOAEL is ~13,000-fold higher than 2,4-D exposures reported in human biomonitoring studies. Also, there is a huge difference between the Agency’s 2,4-D reference dose and the CDC NHANES biomonitoring. After rigorous analysis of the relevant scientific data, expert panels and government agencies all reach the same conclusion: 2,4-D is acceptable for use according to label directions.

Ivan KennedyLessons from the endosulfan case for achieving rational risk assessment in the face of chemical paranoiaIvan R. Kennedy, University of Sydney
On April 21, 2011, COP5 of the UNEP’s Stockholm
Convention ratified POPRC’s recommendation to list the insecticide endosulfan as a persistent organic pollutant (POP) and be added to the “dirty dozen.” A case has been made that the Convention exceeded its brief in declaring endosulfan a POP, as there is little environmental evidence to support the conclusion that it is persistent. Only by choosing apparent outliers for degradation rates was POPRC able to support its case for the listing. Furthermore, little or no input was sought from experts in insect control or food security. The decision might therefore be regarded more as an act of eco-politics rather than one based on rational science. This case raises important issues related to the regulation of agrochemicals and how stewardship is best achieved. Feeding 10 billion humans in the foreseeable future in the face of climate change might require continued access to a range of chemicals.