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Notice

Fosetyl-Al; Notice of Filing a Pesticide Petition to Establish a Tolerance for a Certain Pesticide Chemical in or on Food

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

This notice announces the initial filing of a pesticide petition proposing the establishment of regulations for residues of a certain pesticide chemical in or on various food commodities.

DATES:

Comments, identified by docket ID number OPP-2002-0322, must be received on or before February 3, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Comments may be submitted electronically, by mail, or through hand delivery/courier. Follow the detailed instructions as provided in Unit I. of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sidney Jackson, Registration Division (7505C), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; telephone number: (703) 305-7610; e-mail address: jackson.sidney@epa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. General Information

A. Does this Action Apply to Me?

You may be potentially affected by this action if you are an agricultural producer, food manufacturer, or pesticide manufacturer. Potentially affected categories and entities may incude, but are not limited to:

  • Crop production (NAICS Industry 111)
  • Animal production (NAICS 112)Start Printed Page 104
  • Food manufacturing (NAICS 311)
  • Pesticide manufacturing (NAICS 32532)

This listing is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides a guide for readers regarding entities likely to be affected by this action. Other types of entities not listed in this unit could also be affected. The North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes have been provided to assist you and others in determining whether this action might apply to certain entities. If you have any questions regarding the applicability of this action to a particular entity, consult the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

B. How Can I Get Copies of this Document and Other Related Information?

1. Docket. EPA has established an official public docket for this action under docket ID number OPP-2002-0322. The official public docket consists of the documents specifically referenced in this action, any public comments received, and other information related to this action. Although, a part of the official docket, the public docket does not include Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. The official public docket is the collection of materials that is available for public viewing at the Public Information and Records Integrity Branch (PIRIB), Rm. 119, Crystal Mall #2, 1921 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Arlington, VA. This docket facility is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The docket telephone number is (703) 305-5805.

2. Electronic access. You may access this Federal Register document electronically through the EPA Internet under the “Federal Register” listings at http://www.epa.gov/​fedrgstr/​.

An electronic version of the public docket is available through EPA's electronic public docket and comment system, EPA Dockets. You may use EPA Dockets at http://www.epa.gov/​edocket/​ to submit or view public comments, access the index listing of the contents of the official public docket, and to access those documents in the public docket that are available electronically. Although, not all docket materials may be available electronically, you may still access any of the publicly available docket materials through the docket facility identified in Unit I.B.1. Once in the system, select “search,” then key in the appropriate docket ID number.

Certain types of information will not be placed in the EPA Dockets. Information claimed as CBI and other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute, which is not included in the official public docket, will not be available for public viewing in EPA's electronic public docket. EPA's policy is that copyrighted material will not be placed in EPA's electronic public docket but will be available only in printed, paper form in the official public docket. To the extent feasible, publicly available docket materials will be made available in EPA's electronic public docket. When a document is selected from the index list in EPA Dockets, the system will identify whether the document is available for viewing in EPA's electronic public docket. Although, not all docket materials may be available electronically, you may still access any of the publicly available docket materials through the docket facility identified in Unit I.B. EPA intends to work towards providing electronic access to all of the publicly available docket materials through EPA's electronic public docket.

For public commenters, it is important to note that EPA's policy is that public comments, whether submitted electronically or in paper, will be made available for public viewing in EPA's electronic public docket as EPA receives them and without change, unless the comment contains copyrighted material, CBI, or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. When EPA identifies a comment containing copyrighted material, EPA will provide a reference to that material in the version of the comment that is placed in EPA's electronic public docket. The entire printed comment, including the copyrighted material, will be available in the public docket.

Public comments submitted on computer disks that are mailed or delivered to the docket will be transferred to EPA's electronic public docket. Public comments that are mailed or delivered to the docket will be scanned and placed in EPA's electronic public docket. Where practical, physical objects will be photographed, and the photograph will be placed in EPA's electronic public docket along with a brief description written by the docket staff.

C. How and To Whom Do I Submit Comments?

You may submit comments electronically, by mail, or through hand delivery/courier. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, identify the appropriate docket ID number in the subject line on the first page of your comment. Please ensure that your comments are submitted within the specified comment period. Comments received after the close of the comment period will be marked “late.” EPA is not required to consider these late comments. If you wish to submit CBI, or information that is otherwise protected by statute, please follow the instructions in Unit I.D. Do not use EPA dockets or e-mail to submit CBI or information protected by statute.

1. Electronically. If you submit an electronic comment as prescribed in this unit, EPA recommends that you include your name, mailing address, and an e-mail address or other contact information in the body of your comment. Also include this contact information on the outside of any disk or CD ROM you submit, and in any cover letter accompanying the disk or CD ROM. This ensures that you can be identified as the submitter of the comment, and allows EPA to contact you in case EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties or needs further information on the substance of your comment. EPA's policy is that EPA will not edit your comment, and any identifying or contact information provided in the body of a comment will be included as part of the comment that is placed in the official public docket, and made available in EPA's electronic public docket. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties, and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment.

i. EPA dockets. Your use of EPA's electronic public docket to submit comments to EPA electronically is EPA's preferred method for receiving comments. Go directly to EPA dockets at http://www.epa.gov/​edocket, and follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once in the system, select “search,” and then key in docket ID number OPP-2002-0322. The system is an “anonymous access” system, which means, EPA will not know your identity, e-mail address, or other contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment.

ii. E-mail. Comments may be sent by e-mail to opp-docket@epa.gov, Attention: Docket ID number OPP-2002-0322. In contrast to EPA's electronic public docket, EPA's e-mail system is not an “anonymous access” system. If you send an e-mail comment directly to the docket without going through EPA's electronic public docket, EPA's e-mail system automatically captures your e-mail address. E-mail addresses that are automatically captured by EPA's e-mail system are included as part of the comment that is placed in the official public docket, and Start Printed Page 105made available in EPA's electronic public docket.

iii. Disk or CD ROM. You may submit comments on a disk or CD ROM that you mail to the mailing address identified in Unit I.C.2. These electronic submissions will be accepted in WordPerfect or ASCII file format. Avoid the use of special characters and any form of encryption.

2. By mail. Send your comments to: Public Information and Records Integrity Branch (PIRIB) (7502C), Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001, Attention: Docket ID Number OPP-2002-0322.

3. By hand delivery or courier. Deliver your comments to: PIRIB, Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), Environmental Protection Agency, Rm. 119, Crystal Mall #2, 1921 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Arlington, VA, Attention: Docket ID number OPP-2002-0322. Such deliveries are only accepted during the docket's normal hours of operation as identified in Unit I.B.1.

D. How Should I Submit CBI to the Agency?

Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI electronically through EPA's electronic public docket or by e-mail. You may claim information that you submit to EPA as CBI by marking any part or all of that information as CBI (if you submit CBI on disk or CD ROM, mark the outside of the disk or CD ROM as CBI and then identify electronically within the disk or CD ROM the specific information that is CBI). Information so marked will not be disclosed except in accordance with procedures set forth in 40 CFR part 2.

In addition to one complete version of the comment that includes any information claimed as CBI, a copy of the comment that does not contain the information claimed as CBI must be submitted for inclusion in the public docket and EPA's electronic public docket. If you submit the copy that does not contain CBI on disk or CD ROM, mark the outside of the disk or CD ROM clearly that it does not contain CBI. Information not marked as CBI will be included in the public docket and EPA's electronic public docket without prior notice. If you have any questions about CBI, or the procedures for claiming CBI, please consult the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

E. What Should I Consider as I Prepare My Comments for EPA?

You may find the following suggestions helpful for preparing your comments:

1. Explain your views as clearly as possible.

2. Describe any assumptions that you used.

3. Provide copies of any technical information and/or data you used that support your views.

4. If you estimate potential burden or costs, explain how you arrived at the estimate that you provide.

5. Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns.

6. Offer alternative ways to improve the notice or collection activity.

7. Make sure to submit your comments by the deadline in this notice.

8. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, be sure to identify the docket ID number assigned to this action in the subject line on the first page of your response. You may also provide the name, date, and Federal Register citation.

II. What Action is the Agency Taking?

EPA has received a pesticide petition as follows proposing the establishment and/or amendment of regulations for residues of a certain pesticide chemical in or on various food commodities under section 408 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), 21 U.S.C. 346a. EPA has determined that this petition contains data or information regarding the elements set forth in FFDCA section 408(d)(2); however, EPA has not fully evaluated the sufficiency of the submitted data at this time, or whether the data support granting of the petition. Additional data may be needed before EPA rules on the petition.

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List of Subjects

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Dated: December 20, 2002

Debra Edwards,

Acting Director, Registration Division, Office of Pesticide Programs.

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Summary of Petition

The petitioner's summary of the pesticide petition is printed below as required by the FFDCA section 408(d)(3). The summary of the petition was prepared by Bayer CropScience Company and represents the view of the company. The petition summary announces the availability of a description of the analytical methods available to EPA for the detection and measurement of the pesticide chemical residues, or an explanation of why no such method is needed.

PP 2E6366

EPA has received a pesticide petition (PP 2E6366) from the Interregional Research Project Number 4 (IR-4), New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08903 proposing, pursuant to section 408(d) of the FFDCA, 21 U.S.C. 346a(d), to amend 40 CFR 180.415 by establishing a tolerance for residues of the fungicide, fosetyl-al (aluminum tris O-ethylphosphonate), in or on the raw agricultural commodity onion, green, at 10 parts per million (ppm). EPA has determined that the petition contains data or information regarding the elements set forth in section 408(d)(2) of the FFDCA; however, EPA has not fully evaluated the sufficiency of the submitted data at this time or whether the data support granting of the petition. Additional data may be needed before EPA rules on the petition.

A. Residue Chemistry

1. Plant metabolism. The metabolism of fosetyl-al in plants is adequately understood. Adequate data on the nature of the residues in plants, including identification of major metabolites and degradates of fosetyl-al, are available. Radiolabeled studies on the uptake, translocation and metabolism in plants show that the chemical proceeds through hydrolytic cleavage of the ethyl ester. The major residues are fosetyl-al, phosphorus acid, and ethanol. The tolerances are established for the parent only, that is fosetyl-al.

2. Analytical method. Adequate methods are available for enforcement purposes. There are two analytical methods acceptable for determining residues of fosetyl-al in plants: a gas chromatography method is available for enforcement of tolerance in pineapple and is listed as Method I in Pesticide Analytical Manual (PAM), Vol. II; a gas chromatography/phosphorus specific flame photometric detector (FPD-P) method (Rhone-Poulenc Method No. 163) for citrus has undergone a successful method tryout on oranges and has been sent to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for inclusion in PAM as Method II.

3. Magnitude of residues. Magnitude of residue data on green onions were collected form field trials conducted in Texas (Region 6) and California (Region 10). Each treated plot received seven foliar broadcast applications of the test substance at a rate of approximately 4.0 pounds active ingredient/acre (lb a.i./acre), for a total of approximately 28.0 lb a.i./acre. All applications were made 6 to 8 days apart, and marketable green Start Printed Page 106onions were collected 2 to 3 days following the final application. Residues of fosetyl-al in green onions ranged from 0.39 ppm to 7.75 ppm.

B. Toxicological Profile

EPA has evaluated the available fosetyl-al toxicity data and considered their validity, completeness, and reliability as well as the relationship of the results of the studies to human risk. EPA has also considered available information concerning the variability of the sensitivities of major identifiable subgroups of consumers, including infants and children. The nature of the toxic effects caused by fosetyl-al is discussed in the Federal Register of August 18, 2000 (65 FR 50431) (FRL-6599-4), as well as the no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL), and the lowest observed adverse effect level (LOAEL) from the toxicity studies reviewed. Please refer to this document should you desire detailed toxicological information on fosetyl-al.

1. Carcinogenicity. Long-term feeding studies were conducted with technical grade fosetyl-al in mice and rats and with monosodium phosphite, the primary urinary metabolite of fosetyl-al, in rats. These studies, in addition to a mechanistic study in rats, are described below:

i. Rat. Fosetyl-al was administered via admixture in the diet to CD rats at target levels of 0, 2,000, 8,000, and 30,000/40,000 ppm for approximately 2 years. After 2 weeks at 40,000 ppm, this dietary level was reduced to 30,000 ppm due to the occurrence of red coloration of the urine and a decrease in body weight gain. Although, these findings were no longer apparent after week 2, analytical verification of dietary levels revealed that the highest dietary level ranged from approximately 38,000 to 61,000 ppm during the first 32 weeks of the study. Calculi in the urinary bladder were observed for several male and female rats at 30,000/40,000 ppm. Microscopic examination revealed transitional cell carcinomas and papillomas in the urinary bladders of high dose males. In addition, a statistically significant increase in adrenal pheochromocytomas (benign and malignant combined) was observed in males at 8,000 and 30,000/40,000 ppm. The adrenal slides were independently reread by two consulting pathologists who found no significant dose-related increases in the incidence of pheochromocytomas or hyperplasia.

The NOAEL for fosetyl-al in the chronic rat study was 8,000 ppm. A subsequent mechanistic study in rats conducted with dietary levels of 8,000, 30,000 and 50,000 ppm demonstrated that the massive doses of 30,000 and 50,000 ppm fosetyl-al alter calcium/phosphorous homeostasis resulting in severe acute renal injury, similar to that observed in the chromic rat study, and the formation of calculi in kidneys, ureters, and bladder. Under conditions of chronic exposure, these effects could lead to the formation of bladder tumors as seen in the chronic rat study. At 8,000 ppm, no evidence of renal injury was observed, a result consistent with the absence of bladder tumors. Thus, the bladder tumors induced by fosetyl-al were the result of acute renal injury followed by a chronic toxic reaction rather than a true carcinogenic effect. An carcinogenicity study in rats was conducted with monosodium phosphite administered via dietary mixture at levels of 2,000, 8,000, and 32,000 ppm. No evidence of carcinogenicity was observed in this study.

ii. Mouse. A 2-year feeding/carcinogenicity study was conducted in mice fed diets containing fosetyl-al at 0, 2,500, 10,000, or 20,000/30,000 ppm. The 20,000 ppm dose was increased to 30,000 ppm during week 19 of the study. The NOAEL for all effects was 20,000/30,000 ppm (3,000/4,500 milligrams/kilogram (mg/kg/day)). There were no carcinogenic effects observed under the conditions of this study.

iii. EPA's Carcinogenicity Peer Review Committee (CPRC) concluded in their report of June 29, 1993 that the pesticidal use of fosetyl-al is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard for humans given that: (a) Tumors develop in rats under extreme conditions that are unlikely to be achieved other than under laboratory conditions (at a dose in excess of the EPA dose limit for carcinogenicity studies); (b) tumors in rats are believed to develop only at doses that produce stones; (c) human dietary exposure to fosetyl-al is only about one-500,000th of the NOAEL for stone formation in the rat (the most sensitive experimental model); and (d) the dose of fosetyl-al which can be absorbed dermally by applicators is also probably too low to result in stone formation. Therefore, a cancer dietary exposure analysis for fosetyl-al is not performed.

2. Animal metabolism. Rat metabolism studies showed that most of the radiolabel rapidly appeared in exhaled carbon dioxide. There was also some radiolabel excreted in the urine as phosphite, along with a smaller amount as the unchanged parent compound. It appears that fosetyl-al is essentially completely absorbed after ingestion and extensively hydrolyzed to carbon dioxide which is exhaled. The phosphite is excreted in the urine without further oxidation to phosphate. Aluminum does not appear to be absorbed to a significant extent from the gastrointestinal tract.

3. Metabolite toxicology. There are no metabolites of toxicological concern. The tolerances are established for the parent only, that is fosetyl-al.

4. Endocrine disruption. No evidence of estrogenic or androgenic effects were noted in any study with fosetyl-al. No adverse effects on mating or fertility indices and gestation, live birth, or weaning indices were noted in a three-generation rat reproduction study at doses well above EPA's limit of 1,000 mg/kg/day. Therefore, Bayer CropScience concludes that fosetyl-al does not have any effect on the endocrine system.

C. Aggregate Exposure

1. Dietary exposure. EPA has established the chronic reference dose (RfD) for fosetyl-al at 2.5 mg/kg/day. This reference dose (RfD) is based on a NOAEL of 250 mg/kg/day from a 2-year feeding study in dogs and the use of a 100 fold safety factor to account for interspecies and intraspecies differences. No appropriate endpoint attributable to a single dose exposure was identified in oral toxicity studies. Therefore, an acute RfD was not established and there is no expectation of acute risk. Since no dermal or systemic toxicity was seen at the limit dose following repeated dermal applications in the 21-day toxicity study using rats, no endpoint value was calculated for short- and intermediate-term exposure and risk. The Agency has concluded that fosetyl-al is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans. Therefore, a cancer exposure and risk assessment is not appropriate.

i. Food. For all currently registered uses of fosetyl-al, chronic food exposure for various subgroups of the U.S. population was estimated by EPA through the use of the Dietary Exposure Evaluation Model (DEEM) software. The DEEM analysis evaluated the individual food consumption as reported by respondents in the USDA 1989-1992 nationwide continuing surveys of food intake by individuals. As the risk estimate was low for even the most highly exposed subpopulation, no anticipated residues were used. One hundred percent crop treated and tolerance level residues were assumed for all crops. EPA has concluded that exposure to fosetyl-al from food utilizes 4.0% of the chronic population adjusted dose (cPAD) for the U.S. population, 5% of the cPAD for infants, and 8% of the cPAD for children 1-6 years old, the Start Printed Page 107subpopulation at greatest exposure. Based on the results of this conservative analysis, exposure to fosetyl-al residues from the proposed uses is expected to be minimal. Bayer CropScience concludes that dietary exposure to fosetyl-al resulting from the currently registered uses and the proposed use of the product will be well below the Agency's level of concern.

ii. Drinking water. The potential for ground water and/or surface water contamination by fosetyl-al and its degradates is expected to be very low, in most cases, due to the rapid degradation of the compound in soil to non-toxic degradates under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Under aerobic laboratory conditions, the half-life of fosetyl-al is between 1 and 1.5 hours in loamy sand, silt loam, and clay loam and 20 minutes in sandy loam soil. The degradation proceeds through the hydrolysis of the ethyl ester bond, resulting in the formation of phosphorous acid and ethanol. The ethanol is further degraded into carbon dioxide. Based on the short half-life of fosetyl-al and the known fate of phosphates under anaerobic conditions, EPA determined that an anaerobic soil metabolism study was not necessary. An anaerobic aquatic soil metabolism study was conducted. When anaerobic conditions were established by flooding soil, the half-life was 40 hours with silty clay loam, and 14 hours with sandy loam soil. Bayer CropScience expects that potential fosetyl-al residues in drinking water are not a significant contribution to aggregate exposure.

2. Non-dietary exposure. Fosetyl-al is currently registered for residential use on turf and ornamental plants. Chronic exposure is not expected for residential uses. There is also no expectation of acute risk. No appropriate endpoint attributable to a single dose exposure was identified in oral toxicity studies and consequently, an acute RfD cannot be calculated. No endpoint value is calculable for short- and intermediate-term exposure and a risk analysis cannot be performed since no dermal or systemic toxicity was seen at the limit dose following repeated dermal applications in the 21-day toxicity study using rats. The Agency has previously concluded that fosetyl-al is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to human. Therefore, a cancer exposure and risk assessment is not appropriate. Thus, Bayer CropScience concludes that the ornamental and turf uses do not add significantly to the aggregate exposure for fosetyl-al.

D. Cumulative Effects

Effects associated with fosetyl-al are unlikely to be cumulative with any other compound. The formation of calculi and bladder tumors in rats is the only significant toxicological effect observed with fosetyl-al. These effects were observed in rat only at a dose which not only exceeds estimated human exposure by several orders of magnitude but is in excess of the OPP dose limit for carcinogenicity studies. Therefore, an aggregate assessment based on common mechanisms of toxicity is not appropriate as exposure to humans will be well below the levels producing calculi and bladder tumors in rats. Further, considering the rapid elimination of fosetyl-al in the rat metabolism study, any effects associated with fosetyl-al are unlikely to be cumulative with any other compound. Based on these reasons, only the potential risks of fosetyl-al are considered in the exposure assessment.

E. Safety Determination

1. U.S. population. Chronic risk estimates associated with exposure to fosetyl-al in food and water are expected to be well below the Agency's level of concern. The Tier I chronic exposure analysis performed by the Agency for all currently registered food uses shows that exposure to fosetyl-al utilizes 4.0% of the cPAD for the U.S. population, 5% of the cPAD for infants, and 8% of the cPAD for children 1-6 years old, the subpopulation at greatest exposure. This analysis was conducted assuming 100% crop treated and tolerance level residue values for all crops. The contribution of fosetyl-al residues in surface water and ground water to chronic aggregate exposure is expected to be minimal. Therefore, Bayer CropScience concludes that even when considering the potential incremental risk resulting from the proposed use on green onion, there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to fosetyl-al residues.

2. Infants and children. No indication of increased susceptibility of rat or rabbit fetuses to in utero and/or postnatal exposure was noted in the developmental and reproductive toxicity studies. The Agency has previously determined that no additional safety factor to protect infants and children is necessary for this product.

Using the conservative assumptions described in the exposure section above, aggregate exposure to fosetyl-al from currently registered food uses will utilize up to 8% of the RfD for children 1-6 years old, the subpopulation at greatest exposure. Even when considering the potential incremental dietary risk resulting from the proposed use on green onion, the potential for exposure to residues in drinking water and from non-dietary, non-occupational exposure, the aggregate exposure to fosetyl-al is expected to be well below the level of concern. Bayer CropScience concludes that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to infants and children from aggregate exposure to fosetyl-al residues.

F. International Tolerances

There are no Codex Alimentarius Commission (CODEX) maximum residue limits established for residues of fosetyl-al in or on green onion.

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[FR Doc. 02-33107 Filed 12-31-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-S