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The structural fumigation industry in California is seeking modification of a preliminary risk management directive proposed by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). As written, the DPR draft proposal would result in significant business and economic impacts. Industry’s response addresses both the science and political considerations, says Tim McPherson, global regulatory leader with Douglas Products.
“Douglas Products has been working with the industry to present the scientific and economic facts about structural fumigation,” McPherson says. “Our goal is to maintain science-based, workable regulations.”
In late June, technical documents were submitted to DPR, he adds. The documents were developed by Douglas Products regulatory with outside technical consultants that included the three former The Dow Chemical Company scientists who authored the original papers that supported the risk assessment process. The documents are now under review by DPR.
John Sansone, chair of the Pest Control Operators of California (PCOC) Fumigation Enforcement Committee, says his committee submitted a report to DPR on trials completed in April 2017.
“That report confirms the conclusions reached from earlier trials conducted in the summer of 2016, which showed that re-entry levels of sulfuryl fluoride do not significantly increase postcertification,” Sansone says. “My committee continues to provide real-world fumigation expertise to DPR as they work through the evaluation process.”
McPherson adds that the industry is in constant communication with DPR staff to understand the status of the risk assessment.
“We are also in contact with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” McPherson says. “While the California DPR draft proposal focuses on residential exposure, all uses of sulfuryl fluoride are being reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the normal reregistration process. So, we want the regulatory agencies to all have the same information. We want to ensure that the reregistration process continues to move forward.”
As proposed, the DPR preliminary directive would significantly impact homeowners, the real estate and lending industries, fumigation companies and others, says Janet Rowley, international business leader for the Douglas Products Pest Management Division. DPR is under a legislative deadline, so the industry is working to ask that all impacts are taken into consideration.
“Our goal is that DPR have the time needed to review the science,” Rowley says. “DPR is resource-constrained and under a legislative deadline, but it needs adequate time to review the science.
The industry’s goal is to help educate DPR at all levels on why an extension of the deadline is very important for the state of California.
Educational efforts include working with associations as a coalition, she says, including the Alliance to protect California homes, property and jobs and the California Association of Realtors. The Hispanic community is also being engaged as 75 percent of fumigation companies are minority-owned and half of homeowners in Los Angeles County are Hispanic.
Rowley says PCOC has engaged its termite and fumigation companies, which have submitted hundreds of letters in support of the industry’s position. The association also has produced an infographic that helps educate others on the potential impact.
It’s vital that the impact of all stakeholders be considered, says Chris Reardon, executive vice president of PCOC.
“This is a very important issue to our membership, so our association is working with a broad group of stakeholders, including Douglas Products,” he says. “We will continue to work closely with DPR on the process to determine where the mitigation decision ends. We will also continue to educate our legislative representatives throughout California on the importance of fumigation in the state.”
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