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Notice

Availability of Atrazine Interim Risk Management Decision Document

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

This notice announces the availability of the Interim Reregistration Eligibility Decision (IRED) document for the triazine pesticide atrazine. This decision document has been developed as part of the public participation process that EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are now using for involving the public in the reassessment of pesticide tolerances under the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), and the reregistration of individual pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

DATES:

Comments, identified by docket ID number OPP-2003-0072, must be received on or before April 29, 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:

Kimberly Nesci, Special Review and Reregistration Division (7508C), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; telephone number: (703) 308-8059; fax number: (703) 308-8041; e-mail address: nesci.kimberly@epa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. General Information

A. Does this Action Apply to Me?

This action is directed to the public in general, nevertheless, a wide range of stakeholders will be interested in obtaining the interim risk management decision document for atrazine, including environmental, human health, and agricultural advocates; the chemical industry; pesticide users; and members of the public interested in the use of pesticides on food. Since other entities also may be interested, the Agency has not attempted to describe all the specific entities that may be affected by this action. 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 identification (ID) number OPP-2003-0072. 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 Start Printed Page 9653Confidential 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. 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-2003-0072. 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-2003-0072. 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 made 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), Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), Environmental Protection Agency (7502C), 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001, Attention: Docket ID Number OPP- 2003-0072.

3. By hand delivery or courier. Deliver your comments to: Public Information and Records Integrity Branch (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-2003-0072. 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 Start Printed Page 9654CBI 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 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 your estimate.

5. Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns.

6. Offer alternatives.

7. Make sure to submit your comments by the comment period deadline identified.

8. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, identify the appropriate docket ID number in the subject line on the first page of your response. It would also be helpful if you provided the name, date, and Federal Register citation related to your comments

II. Background

A. What Action is the Agency Taking?

EPA has assessed the risks of atrazine and reached an Interim Reregistration Eligibility Decision (IRED) for this triazine pesticide. Provided that risk mitigation measures are adopted, atrazine fits into its own risk cup--its individual, aggregate risks are within acceptable levels. A chemical used mainly to control weeds on corn, sorghum, and sugarcane, atrazine residues in food do not pose risk concerns. The Agency's drinking water, occupational, residential and ecological risk assessments for atrazine indicate risks of concern. Intermediate-term (seasonal) dietary risk from drinking water exceeds the Agency's level of concern (> 100% cPAD (chronic population adjusted dose)) at the 99.9th exposure percentile for infants, children 1-6 years of age, and adults in 34 community water systems primarily in the Midwest.

Further, there are some concerns for workers who mix, load, and apply atrazine to agricultural and turf sites and for homeowners who apply atrazine products to home lawns. In addition, there are risks of concern for adults and children exposed to atrazine-treated lawns after applications.

For ecological effects, the Agency has conducted a screening level assessment for terrestrial impacts and a refined exposure assessment for aquatic impacts of atrazine use. These assessments indicate that atrazine is likely to result in community- and population-level risk at 10 to 20 parts per billion. The ecological assessment does not address the potential for effects on amphibians endocrinology and reproductive and developmental responses. The Agency will consider amphibian risk after the Agency obtains further data and will address any risks identified in a revision to the IRED to be published by October 31, 2003.

To mitigate risks of concern posed by the uses of atrazine, the Agency considered the mitigation proposal submitted by the technical registrants, as well as comments and mitigation ideas from other interested parties, and has decided on a number of label amendments to address the dietary (drinking water), worker, and residential concerns. In addition, to further address drinking water concerns and to address ecological concerns, the Agency and the technical registrants have agreed to a performance standard for atrazine that must be met in community water systems, prohibition of use in watersheds if the standard is not met, and monitoring data requirements as described in a Memorandum of Agreement between the primary technical registrants of atrazine and the Agency. Results of the risk assessments, the necessary label amendments to mitigate those risks, and information on the Agreement between the Agency and the technical registrants are presented in the IRED.

The interim risk management decision document for atrazine was made through the pilot public participation process, which increases transparency and maximizes stakeholder involvement in EPA's development of risk assessments and risk management decisions. The pilot public participation process was developed as part of the EPA-USDA Tolerance Reassessment Advisory Committee (TRAC), which was established in April 1998, as a subcommittee under the auspices of EPA's National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology. A goal of the pilot public participation process is to find a more effective way for the public to participate at critical junctures in the Agency's development of pesticide risk assessments and risk management decisions. EPA and USDA began implementing this pilot process in August 1998, to increase transparency and opportunities for stakeholder consultation.

EPA worked extensively with affected parties to reach the decisions presented in this interim risk management decision document, which conclude the pilot public participation process for atrazine. As part of the pilot public participation process, numerous opportunities for public comment were offered as this interim risk management decision document was being developed.

The risk assessments for atrazine were released to the public through notices published in the Federal Register on February 14, 2001 (66 FR 10287) (FRL-6765-3), and May 6, 2002 (67 FR 30379) (FRL-6836-1).

EPA's next step under FQPA is to complete a cumulative risk assessment and risk management decision for the triazine pesticides, which share a common mechanism of toxicity. This interim risk management decision document on atrazine cannot be considered final until this cumulative assessment is complete.

When the cumulative risk assessment for the triazine pesticides has been completed, EPA will issue its final tolerance reassessment decision for atrazine and further risk mitigation measures may be needed.

B. What is the Agency's Authority for Taking this Action?

The legal authority for this IRED falls under FIFRA, as amended in 1988 and 1996. Section 4(g)(2)(A) of FIFRA directs that, after submission of all data concerning a pesticide active ingredient, “the Administrator shall determine whether pesticides containing such active ingredient are eligible for reregistration,” before calling in product-specific data on individual end-use products, and either reregistering Start Printed Page 9655 products or taking “other appropriate regulatory action.”

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List of Subjects

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Dated: February 21, 2003.

Betty Shackleford,

Acting Director, Special Review and Reregistration Division, Office of Pesticide Programs.

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[FR Doc. 03-4778 Filed 2-27-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-S