Skip to Content

Notice

FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel; Notice of Public Meeting

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

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

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

There will be a 2-day meeting of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (FIFRA SAP) to consider and review human health issues associated with the Cry34Ab1 protein.

DATES:

The meeting will be held on March 1-2, 2005, from 8:30 a.m. to approximately 5 p.m, eastern time.

Comments: For the deadlines for the submission of requests to present oral comments and the submission of written comments, see Unit I.E. of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

Nominations:

Nominations of scientific experts to serve as ad hoc Start Printed Page 71033members of the FIFRA SAP for this meeting should be provided on or before December 20, 2004.

Special seating: Requests for special seating arrangements should be made at least 5 business days prior to the meeting.

ADDRESSES:

The meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn-National Airport, 2650 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington,VA 22202. The telephone number for the Holiday Inn-National Airport is 703-684-7200.

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

Nominations, Requests to present oral comments, and Special seating: To submit nominations for ad hoc members of the FIFRA SAP for this meeting, requests for special seating arrangements, or requests to present oral comments, notify the Designated Federal Official (DFO) listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, your request must identify docket ID number OPP-2004-0395 in the subject line on the first page of your response.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Paul I. Lewis, DFO, Office of Science Coordination and Policy (7201M), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 202-564-8450; fax number: 202-564-8382; e-mail addresses: lewis.paul@epa.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. General Information

A. Does this Action Apply to Me?

This action is directed to the public in general. This action may, however, be of interest to persons who are or may be required to conduct testing of chemical substances under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), FIFRA, and the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 (FQPA). Since other entities may also 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 DFO 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-2004-0395. 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, 1801 South Bell St., 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/​.

EPA's position paper, charge/questions to FIFRA SAP, FIFRA SAP composition (i.e., members and consultants for this meeting) and the meeting agenda will be available as soon as possible, but no later than early February 2005. In addition, the Agency may provide additional background documents as the materials become available. You may obtain electronic copies of these documents, and certain other related documents that might be available electronically, from the FIFRA SAP Internet Home Page at http://www.epa.gov/​scipoly/​sap.

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 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.1. 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 in hard copy 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 (preferred), through hand delivery/courier, or by mail. 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. 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 Start Printed Page 71034or 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-2004-0395. 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-2004-0395. 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 deliver as described in Unit I.C.2. or mail to the address provided in Unit I.C.3. 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 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, 1801 South Bell St., Arlington, VA, Attention: Docket ID Number OPP-2004-0395. Such deliveries are only accepted during the docket's normal hours of operation as identified in Unit I.B.1.

3. By mail. Due to potential delays in EPA's receipt and processing of mail, respondents are strongly encouraged to submit comments either electronically or by hand delivery or courier. We cannot guarantee that comments sent via mail will be received prior to the close of the comment period. If mailed, please 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-2004-0395.

D. 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. Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns.

5. Make sure to submit your comments by the deadline in this document.

6. 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.

E. How May I Participate in this Meeting?

You may participate in this meeting by following the instructions in this unit. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, it is imperative that you identify docket ID number OPP-2004-0395 in the subject line on the first page of your request.

1. Oral comments. Oral comments presented at the meetings should not be repetitive of previously submitted oral or written comments. Although requests to present oral comments are accepted until the date of the meeting (unless otherwise stated), to the extent that time permits, interested persons may be permitted by the Chair of FIFRA SAP to present oral comments at the meeting. Each individual or group wishing to make brief oral comments to FIFRA SAP is strongly advised to submit their request to the DFO listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT no later than noon, eastern time, February 24, 2005, in order to be included on the meeting agenda. The request should identify the name of the individual making the presentation, the organization (if any) the individual will represent, and any requirements for audiovisual equipment (e.g., overhead projector, 35 mm projector, chalkboard). Oral comments before FIFRA SAP are limited to approximately 5 minutes unless prior arrangements have been made. In addition, each speaker should bring 30 copies of his or her comments and presentation slides for distribution to FIFRA SAP at the meeting.

2. Written comments. Although submission of written comments are accepted until the date of the meeting (unless otherwise stated), the Agency encourages that written comments be submitted, using the instructions in Unit I., no later than noon, eastern time, February 24, 2005, to provide FIFRA SAP the time necessary to consider and review the written comments. There is no limit on the extent of written comments for consideration by FIFRA SAP. Persons wishing to submit written comments at the meeting should contact the DFO listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT and submit 30 copies.

3. Seating at the meeting. Seating at the meeting will be on a first-come basis. Individuals requiring special accommodations at this meeting, including wheelchair access and assistance for the hearing impaired, should contact the DFO at least 5 business days prior to the meeting using the information under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

4. Request for nominations of prospective candidates for service as ad hoc members of the FIFRA SAP for this meeting. As part of a broader process for developing a pool of candidates for each meeting, the FIFRA SAP staff routinely solicit the stakeholder community for nominations of prospective candidates for service as ad hoc members of the FIFRA SAP. Any interested person or organization may nominate qualified individuals to be considered as prospective candidates for a specific meeting. Individuals nominated for this meeting should have expertise in one or more of the following areas: Allergenicity, enzyme kinetics, pepsin digestibility assays, and proteases. Nominees should be scientists who have sufficient professional qualifications, including training and experience, to be capable of providing expert comments on the scientific issues for this meeting. Nominees should be identified by name, occupation, position, address, and telephone number. Nominations should be provided to the DFO listed under FOR Start Printed Page 71035FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT on or before December 20, 2004.

The Agency will consider all nominations of prospective candidates for this meeting that are received on or before this date. However, final selection of ad hoc members for this meeting is a discretionary function of the Agency.

The selection of scientists to serve on the FIFRA SAP is based on the function of the panel and the expertise needed to address the Agency's charge to the panel. No interested scientists shall be ineligible to serve by reason of their membership on any other advisory committee to a Federal department or agency or their employment by a Federal department or agency (except the EPA). Other factors considered during the selection process include availability of the potential panel member to fully participate in the panel's reviews, absence of any conflicts of interest or appearance of lack of impartiality, independence with respect to the matters under review, and lack of bias. Though financial conflicts of interest, the appearance of lack of impartiality, lack of independence, and bias may result in disqualification, the absence of such concerns does not assure that a candidate will be selected to serve on the FIFRA SAP. Numerous qualified candidates are identified for each panel. Therefore, selection decisions involve carefully weighing a number of factors including the candidates' areas of expertise and professional qualifications and achieving an overall balance of different scientific perspectives on the panel. In order to have the collective breadth of experience needed to address the Agency's charge for this meeting, the Agency anticipates selecting approximately 12 ad hoc scientists.

If a prospective candidate for service on the FIFRA SAP is considered for participation in a particular session, the candidate is subject to the provisions of 5 CFR part 2634, Executive Branch Financial Disclosure, as supplemented by the EPA in 5 CFR part 6401. As such, the FIFRA SAP candidate is required to submit a Confidential Financial Disclosure Form for Special Government Employees Serving on Federal Advisory Committees at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA Form 3110-48 5-02) which shall fully disclose, among other financial interests, the candidate's employment, stocks, and bonds, and where applicable, sources of research support. The EPA will evaluate the candidate's financial disclosure form to assess that there are no financial conflicts of interest, no appearance of lack of impartiality and no prior involvement with the development of the documents under consideration (including previous scientific peer review) before the candidate is considered further for service on the FIFRA SAP.

Those who are selected from the pool of prospective candidates will be asked to attend the public meetings and to participate in the discussion of key issues and assumptions at these meetings. In addition, they will be asked to review and to help finalize the meeting minutes. The list of FIFRA SAP members participating at this meeting will be posted on the FIFRA SAP web site or may be obtained by contacting the PIRIB at the address or telephone number listed in Unit I.

II. Background

A. Purpose of the FIFRA SAP

Amendments to FIFRA enacted November 28, 1975 (7 U.S.C. 136w(d)), include a requirement under section 25(d) of FIFRA that notices of intent to cancel or reclassify pesticide registrations pursuant to section 6(b)(2) of FIFRA, as well as proposed and final forms of regulations pursuant to section 25(a) of FIFRA, be submitted to a SAP prior to being made public or issued to a registrant. In accordance with section 25(d) of FIFRA, the FIFRA SAP is to have an opportunity to comment on the health and environmental impact of such actions. The FIFRA SAP also shall make comments, evaluations, and recommendations for operating guidelines to improve the effectiveness and quality of analyses made by Agency scientists. Members are scientists who have sufficient professional qualifications, including training and experience, to be capable of providing expert comments as to the impact on health and the environment of regulatory actions under sections 6(b) and 25(a) of FIFRA. The Deputy Administrator appoints seven individuals to serve on the FIFRA SAP for staggered terms of 4 years, based on recommendations from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Section 104 of FQPA (Public Law 104-170) established the FQPA Science Review Board (SRB). These scientists shall be available to the FIFRA SAP on an ad hoc basis to assist in reviews conducted by the FIFRA SAP.

B. Public Meeting

The FIFRA SAP will meet to consider and review human health issues associated with the Cry34Ab1 protein. Dow AgroSciences and Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. have submitted applications for FIFRA section 3 registration of the plant-incorporated protectant (PIP) Bacillus thuringiensis Cry34Ab1 and Cry35Ab1 proteins and the genetic material necessary for their production in corn. These products are intended to provide protection against western and northern corn rootworm larvae.

Although a tolerance exemption is in place for Cry34/35, this exemption is temporary and was granted for Experimental Use Permits (EUPs) for Dow and Pioneer totaling 5867 acres. The Agency is still evaluating the allergenicity potential of Cry34/35 as part of the current request for section 3 registration. In assessing the allergenicity potential, the Agency is using a weight of the evidence approach that utilizes information on amino acid sequence, source of the trait, prevalence in food, and biochemical properties of the proteins. Cry34Ab1 and Cry35Ab1 do not have properties that would indicate a potential for allergenicity, given the current state of knowledge. However, Cry34Ab1 does appear to digest more slowly in simulated gastric fluid (SGF) than other registered proteins. Moreover, it digests faster than most allergens but slower than most previously tested non-allergens.

As part of the registrants' request for an EUP and temporary exemption from the requirement of a tolerance, they have submitted several studies investigating the in vitro digestibility of the proteins in simulated gastric fluid (SGF), which contains the enzyme pepsin.

In the first submitted study, Cry35Ab1 was shown to digest within 1-5 minutes. Cry34Ab1 was shown to digest within 20-30 minutes. This study, as is typical of in vitro digestibility studies for PIPs, focused on the time required for the proteins to become undetectable, and therefore, the results are dependent on the detection limit of the analytical method used. Most other Cry proteins digest within 30 seconds to 5 minutes.

A second study used a kinetic approach where the rate of pepsin digestion of Cry34Ab1 was investigated by measuring the relative amount of Cry34Ab1 remaining at each of the time points. The registrants estimated the half-life and DT90 (time to 90% disappearance) to be 2 minutes and 6 minutes, respectively. In this experiment, Cry34Ab1 was undetectable after 15 to 20 minutes. Finally, the Agency has recently received a study from the registrants that further evaluates the kinetic method of assessing pepsin digestion using allergens and non-allergens.

Start Printed Page 71036

Kinetic approach data from studies on Cry34Ab1 and studies with known allergens and non-allergens, as well as the Agency's allergenicity assessment of Cry34Ab1 will be presented to the FIFRA SAP. The Panel will be asked to consider the appropriateness of the kinetic approach, how digestion assays should be used in allergenicity assessments, and what assay conditions should be used for comparing the digestion of different proteins.

C. FIFRA SAP Meeting Minutes

The FIFRA SAP will prepare meeting minutes summarizing its recommendations to the Agency in approximately 60 days after the meeting. The meeting minutes will be posted on the FIFRA SAP web site or may be obtained by contacting the PIRIB at the address or telephone number listed in Unit I.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects

End List of Subjects Start Signature

Dated: November 30, 2004.

Joseph Merenda, Jr,

Director, Office of Science Coordination and Policy.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 04-26946 Filed 12-7-04; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-S