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Notice

Thymol; Notice of Filing a Pesticide Petition to Establish a Tolerance for a Certain Pesticide Chemicalin 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 identification (ID) number OPP-2005-0093, must be received on or before May 27, 2005.

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:

Andrew C. Bryceland, Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division (7511C), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; telephone number: (703) 305-6928; e-mail address: bryceland.andrew@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 an agricultural producer, food manufacturer, or pesticide manufacturer. Potentially affected entities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Crop production (NAICS 111)
  • Animal production (NAICS 112)
  • 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 Start Printed Page 21774Industrial 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 identification (ID) number OPP-2005-0093. 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 S. 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/​.

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.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 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-2005-0093. 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-2005-0093. 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 Start Printed Page 21775the 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-2005-0093.

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, 1801 S. Bell St., Arlington, VA, Attention: Docket ID Number OPP-2005-0093. 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. Make sure to submit your comments by the deadline in this notice.

7. 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: April 5, 2005.

Janet L. Andersen,

Director, Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division, Office of Pesticide Programs.

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Summary of Petition

The petitioner summary of the pesticide petition is printed below as required by FFDCA section 408(d)(3). The summary of the petition was prepared by the petitioner and represents the view of the petitioner. 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.

Vita (Europe) Limited

PP 3F6752

EPA has received a pesticide petition (PP 3F6752) from Vita (Europe) Limited, c/o Landis International, P.O. Box 5126, Valdosta, GA 31603-5126, proposing pursuant to section 408(d) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), 21 U.S.C. 346a(d), to amend 40 CFR part 180 to establish an exemption from the requirement for a tolerance for the biochemical pesticide thymol.

Pursuant to section 408(d)(2)(A)(i) of FFDCA, as amended, Vita (Europe) Limited has submitted the following summary of information, data, and arguments in support of their pesticide petition. This summary was prepared by Vita (Europe) Limited and EPA has not fully evaluated the merits of the pesticide petition. The summary may have been edited by EPA if the terminology used was unclear, the summary contained extraneous material, or the summary unintentionally made the reader conclude that the findings reflected EPA's position and not the position of the petitioner.

A. Product Name and Proposed Use Practices

Thymol (5-methyl-2-isopropyl-1-phenol) (CAS No. 89-83-8), when used as an acaricide, controls varroa mites in honeybees. Efficacy is maximized if the product is used in late summer after the honey harvest (when the amount of brood present is diminishing). However, in the case of severe infestations, thymol can also be used during springtime, when temperatures are above 60°F, but not when the maximum daily temperature is above 105°F. If further significant mite fall is observed during the following winter or spring, it is recommended to use an additional secondary winter or spring treatment for varroa.

B. Product Identity/Chemistry

1. Identity of the pesticide and corresponding residues. Thymol is a constituent of oil of thyme, a naturally occurring mixture of compounds in the plant Thymus vulgaris L., or thyme. Thymol is an active ingredient in pesticide products registered for use as animal repellents, fungicides/fungistats, medical disinfectants, tuberculocides, and virucides. Thymol also has many non-pesticidal uses, including use in perfumes, food flavorings, mouthwashes, pharmaceutical preparations, and cosmetics.

Thymol is a constituent of a mixture of organic compounds known to be rapidly degraded in the environment to elemental compounds by normal biological, physical and/or chemical processes that can be reasonably expected to exist where the pesticide is applied.

2. Magnitude of residue at the time of harvest and method used to determine Start Printed Page 21776the residue. In samples collected from supers 30 days and 103 days after thymol was removed from the frames, thymol residues ranged from <0.03 parts per million (ppm) limit of quantitation (LOQ) to 1.5 ppm in honey and 0.75 ppm to 20.59 ppm in wax. These are the residues that are expected as the label requires that the supers be removed from the frames prior to treatment with thymol and re-installed after thymol removal (i.e., no treatment during honey flow). Samples collected from the brood frames, in which honey was being formed while thymol was present, resulted in thymol residues between <0.03 ppm and 4.61 ppm in honey and between 1.18 ppm to 682.83 ppm in wax. These samples were collected 0 to 14 days after thymol removal.

Thymol was applied to brood frames in trays in two applications at 15 day intervals (total thymol = 25 gram (g)) in all three trials. In one of the trials (3B-217) three applications at 10 day intervals (total thymol = 37.5 g) was tested as well as the 25 g rate. These studies were conducted in Europe in two different years (1997 and 1998). Samples were collected in the brood nest for analysis on the last day of treatment (0 day preharvest interval (phi)) and in the super 30 days after treatment (30 day phi) in trial 3B-214. The supers were placed on the brood nest at the end of treatment. Thymol was added in trays at the top and/or bottom of the brood frames in all three trials. In trial 3B-215, samples were collected in the brood nest on the last day of treatment (0 day phi) as well as in the super 103 days after treatment. In trial 3B-217, samples were collected in the brood nest 2 days after treatment and 14 days after treatment. In all honey samples, thymol concentration ranged from 4.61 ppm to <LOQ with a mean concentration of 1.22 ppm. Concurrent recoveries ranged from 73.9% to 116.9%. In wax samples, which were collected at the time of honey collection, residues ranged from 0.75 ppm to 683 ppm with overall concurrent recoveries ranging from 72.0 to 95.9%. All concurrent recoveries were between the acceptable range of 70% and 120%. The data were variable but there does not appear to be a significant difference between residues found in the different treatments for honey or wax samples. Thymol was extracted in hexane dichloromethane and analyzed using gas chromatography with either a (MS)-detection or (FI)-detection. The LOQ using these techniques was 0.03 mg/kg.

C. Mammalian Toxicological Profile

Thymol toxicity data reported available literature cite acute oral LD50 values as 980 milligrams/kilogram (mg/kg) and 880 mg/kg for the rat and guinea pig, respectively (Sax, 1984). The acute oral toxicity reported for the rat and guinea pig, respectively, corresponds to Toxicity Category III. The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the manufacture of technical grade thymol cites human health effects as irritating when exposed by inhalation, dermal, or eye contact. The MSDS also estimates a human ingestion LD50 at 2 g of the synthetic thymol. Based upon an estimated thymol dermal toxicity LD50 of greater than 2,000 mg/kg, the dermal toxicity would be Toxicity Category III.

A summary of the submitted information on thymol toxicity allows for the statements that the acute oral LD50 in the rat is 980 mg/kg and in the mouse is 640 to 1,800 mg/kg. Thymol is corrosive to the rabbit eye and skin, and is not reported as a dermal sensitizer in the guinea pig. Thymol is readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and is essentially excreted in the urine as a glucuronate and sulfate conjugate of the parent compound.

Thymol is not mutagenic in Salmonella, but gives statistically significant positive results in an Unscheduled DNA synthesis and Sister Chromatid Exchange tests, and in a cell transformation test with Syrian hamster embryonic cells. Multiple malformations are noted when thymol is injected into the air bubble or yolk sac of embryonic chickens.

Dosing of rats with thymol in the feed at 667 mg/kg body weight/day (highest dose tested) for 19 weeks did not produce any harmful effects.

D. Aggregate Exposure

1. Dietary exposure—i. Food. Thymol is a component of many non-pesticidal consumer products currently marketed in the United States. Thymol is listed as a food additive by the Food and Drug Administration (21 CFR 172.515; synthetic flavoring substances and adjuvants). Thymol is considered Generally Recognized As Safe or GRAS (21 CFR 172.515, 182.10, and 182.20).

ii. Drinking water. No drinking water exposure is expected from the pesticidal use of thymol which is confined to placement in beehives. Thymol is currently registered for use on ornamental plants, shrubs and grasses so there is some potential for exposure to water. However, thymol is a constituent of a mixture of organic compounds known to be rapidly degraded in the environment to elemental compounds by normal biological, physical and/or chemical processes.

2. Non-dietary exposure. The potential for non-dietary exposure to thymol residues for the general population, including infants and children, is unlikely because the proposed use site is limited to beehives. Thymol is a normal constituent of the human diet, as a component of thyme and thyme oil, and as a direct food additive. Therefore, while there exists a great likelihood of prior exposure for most, if not all, individuals to thymol, any increased exposure due to the proposed use would be negligible. Thyme, which contains thymol, is a pesticide active ingredient for the control of aphids on ornamental plants. Thyme and thyme oil are considered minimum risk pesticides, and are exempted as active ingredients under FIFRA 40 CFR 152.25(f).

E. Cumulative Exposure

Thymol does not appear to produce a toxic metabolite produced by other substances.

F. Safety Determination

1. U.S. population. The dietary exposure to residues of thymol to the U.S. population from use of Apiguard is not likely to add significantly to current dietary exposure to thymol.

2. Infants and children. It is typical for language to appear on labels of honey that states “Do not feed to infants under 1 year,” so there likely would be no exposure of this population to residues of thymol in the honey. It is likely that older children have been exposed to thymol residues from consumption of candy, ice cream, and baked goods. Consumption of honey from hives treated with Apiguard is unlikely to significantly increase exposure to thymol. Therefore, based on the long history of use of thyme, thyme oil, and thymol in the diet with no known adverse effects, it is reasonable to conclude that no harm will result from exposure to thymol in honey from beehives treated with Apiguard.

G. Effects on the Immune and Endocrine Systems

Thymol does not belong to a class of chemicals known or suspected of having adverse effects on the endocrine system. There is no evidence that thymol has any effect on endocrine function.

H. Existing Tolerances

There are no existing tolerances for thymol in the United States.

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I. International Tolerances

No Codex Maximum Residue Levels (MRL) are established for thymol. However, Switzerland has established an MRL of 0.8 mg/kg, apparently not from a safety finding, but rather arising from legislation that prohibits foreign odors or tastes in honey. According to the World Health Organization, thymol residues in food are safe to consumers at up to 50 mg/kg. According to European Union regulation Nr. 2377/90, thymol is in group II of the non-toxic veterinary drugs which do not require a MRL.

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[FR Doc. 05-8127 Filed 4-26-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-S