Skip to Content

Rule

Thiabendazole; Pesticide Tolerances for Emergency Exemptions

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Enhanced Content

Relevant information about this document from Regulations.gov provides additional context. This information is not part of the official Federal Register document.

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:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This regulation establishes a time-limited tolerance for residues of thiabendazole in or on succulent shelled peas.

This action is associated with the utilization of a crisis exemption under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) authorizing use of the pesticide as a seed treatment on succulent pea seeds. This regulation establishes a maximum permissible level for residues of thiabendazole in or on this commodity. The time-limited tolerance expires on December 31, 2018.

DATES:

This regulation is effective July 17, 2015. Objections and requests for hearings must be received on or before September 15, 2015, and must be filed in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178 (see also Unit I.C. of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION).

ADDRESSES:

The docket for this action, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0396, is available at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Office of Pesticide Programs Regulatory Public Docket (OPP Docket) in the Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), West William Jefferson Clinton Bldg., Rm. 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the OPP Docket is (703) 305-5805. Please review the visitor instructions and additional information about the docket available at http://www.epa.gov/​dockets.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Susan Lewis, Registration Division (7505P), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; main telephone number: (703) 305-7090; email address: RDFRNotices@epa.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

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. The following list of North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides a guide to help readers determine whether this document applies to them. Potentially affected entities may include:

  • Crop production (NAICS code 111).
  • Animal production (NAICS code 112).
  • Food manufacturing (NAICS code 311).
  • Pesticide manufacturing (NAICS code 32532).

B. How can I get electronic access to other related information?

You may access a frequently updated electronic version of 40 CFR part 180 through the Government Printing Office's e-CFR site at http://www.ecfr.gov/​cgi-bin/​text-idx?​&​c=​ecfr&​tpl=​/​ecfrbrowse/​Title40/​40tab_​02.tpl.

C. How can I file an objection or hearing request?

Under section 408(g) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), 21 U.S.C. 346a, any person may file an objection to any aspect of this regulation and may also request a hearing on those objections. You must file your objection or request a hearing on this regulation in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, you must identify docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0396 in the subject line on the first page of your submission. All objections and requests for a hearing must be in writing, and must be received by the Hearing Clerk on or before September 15, 2015. Addresses for mail and hand delivery of objections and hearing requests are provided in 40 CFR 178.25(b).

In addition to filing an objection or hearing request with the Hearing Clerk as described in 40 CFR part 178, please submit a copy of the filing (excluding any Confidential Business Information (CBI)) for inclusion in the public docket. Information not marked confidential pursuant to 40 CFR part 2 may be disclosed publicly by EPA without prior notice. Submit the non-CBI copy of your objection or hearing request, identified by docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0396, by one of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.
  • Mail: OPP Docket, Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), (28221T), 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001.
  • Hand Delivery: To make special arrangements for hand delivery or delivery of boxed information, please follow the instructions at http://www.epa.gov/​dockets/​contacts.html.

Additional instructions on commenting or visiting the docket, along with more information about dockets generally, is available at http://www.epa.gov/​dockets.

II. Background and Statutory Findings

EPA, on its own initiative, in accordance with FFDCA sections 408(e) and 408(l)(6), 21 U.S.C. 346a(e) and 346a(1)(6), is establishing a time-limited tolerance for the combined residues of the fungicide thiabendazole (2-(4-thiazolyl)benzimidazole) and its metabolite benzimidazole (free and conjugated) in or on pea, succulent shelled at 0.02 parts per million (ppm). This time-limited tolerance expires on December 31, 2018.

Section 408(l)(6) of FFDCA requires EPA to establish a time-limited tolerance or exemption from the requirement for a tolerance for pesticide chemical residues in food that will result from the use of a pesticide under an emergency exemption granted by EPA under FIFRA section 18. Such tolerances can be established without providing notice or period for public comment. EPA does not intend for its actions on FIFRA section 18 related Start Printed Page 42398time-limited tolerances to set binding precedents for the application of FFDCA section 408 and the safety standard to other tolerances and exemptions. Section 408(e) of FFDCA allows EPA to establish a tolerance or an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance on its own initiative, i.e., without having received any petition from an outside party.

Section 408(b)(2)(A)(i) of FFDCA allows EPA to establish a tolerance (the legal limit for a pesticide chemical residue in or on a food) only if EPA determines that the tolerance is “safe.” Section 408(b)(2)(A)(ii) of FFDCA defines “safe” to mean that “there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to the pesticide chemical residue, including all anticipated dietary exposures and all other exposures for which there is reliable information.” This includes exposure through drinking water and in residential settings, but does not include occupational exposure. Section 408(b)(2)(C) of FFDCA requires EPA to give special consideration to exposure of infants and children to the pesticide chemical residue in establishing a tolerance and to “ensure that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to infants and children from aggregate exposure to the pesticide chemical residue. . . .”

Section 18 of FIFRA authorizes EPA to exempt any Federal or State agency from any provision of FIFRA, if EPA determines that “emergency conditions exist which require such exemption.” EPA has established regulations governing such emergency exemptions in 40 CFR part 166.

III. Emergency Exemption for Thiabendazole on Succulent Peas and FFDCA Tolerances

The emergency exemption to treat pea seed with thiabendazole was requested by the State of Idaho (Applicant) because the seed will be treated in Idaho. However, the seed is being planted in Minnesota, Illinois, and Wisconsin, where the emergency conditions exist. Pea growers in these states are faced with a new complex of pea root and foliar disease pathogens that current cultural practices, varieties, and seed treatments do not manage. Pea crop failure in commercial fields has become a severe problem and growers have experienced rapidly increasing yield losses within the pea production area each year for several years.

The Applicant asserts that an emergency condition exists in accordance with the criteria for approval of an emergency exemption, and has utilized a crisis exemption under FIFRA section 18 to allow the use of thiabendazole on as a seed treatment on succulent peas in Idaho for control of Fusarium and Ascochyta blight in Minnesota, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

As part of its evaluation of the emergency exemption application, EPA assessed the potential risks presented by residues of thiabendazole in or on succulent peas. In doing so, EPA considered the safety standard in FFDCA section 408(b)(2), and EPA decided that the necessary tolerance under FFDCA section 408(l)(6) would be consistent with the safety standard and with FIFRA section 18. Consistent with the need to move quickly on the emergency exemption in order to address an urgent non-routine situation and to ensure that the resulting food is safe and lawful, EPA is issuing this tolerance without notice and opportunity for public comment as provided in FFDCA section 408(l)(6). Although this time-limited tolerance expires on December 31, 2018, under FFDCA section 408(l)(5), residues of the pesticide not in excess of the amounts specified in the tolerance remaining in or on succulent peas after that date will not be unlawful, provided the pesticide was applied in a manner that was lawful under FIFRA, and the residues do not exceed a level that was authorized by these time-limited tolerances at the time of that application. EPA will take action to revoke these time-limited tolerances earlier if any experience with, scientific data on, or other relevant information on this pesticide indicate that the residues are not safe.

Because this time-limited tolerance is being approved under emergency conditions, EPA has not made any decisions about whether thiabendazole meets FIFRA's registration requirements for use on succulent peas or whether permanent tolerances for this use would be appropriate. Under these circumstances, EPA does not believe that this time-limited tolerance decision serves as a basis for registration of thiabendazole by a State for special local needs under FIFRA section 24(c). Nor does this tolerance by itself serve as the authority for persons in any State other than Idaho to use this pesticide on the applicable crops under FIFRA section 18 absent the issuance of an emergency exemption applicable within that State. For additional information regarding the emergency exemption for thiabendazole, contact the Agency's Registration Division at the address provided under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

IV. Aggregate Risk Assessment and Determination of Safety

Section 408(b)(2)(A)(i) of FFDCA allows EPA to establish a tolerance (the legal limit for a pesticide chemical residue in or on a food) only if EPA determines that the tolerance is “safe.” Section 408(b)(2)(A)(ii) of FFDCA defines “safe” to mean that “there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to the pesticide chemical residue, including all anticipated dietary exposures and all other exposures for which there is reliable information.” This includes exposure through drinking water and in residential settings, but does not include occupational exposure. Section 408(b)(2)(C) of FFDCA requires EPA to give special consideration to exposure of infants and children to the pesticide chemical residue in establishing a tolerance and to “ensure that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to infants and children from aggregate exposure to the pesticide chemical residue. . . .”

Consistent with the factors specified in FFDCA section 408(b)(2)(D), EPA has reviewed the available scientific data and other relevant information in support of this action. EPA has sufficient data to assess the hazards of and to make a determination on aggregate exposure expected as a result of this emergency exemption request and the time-limited tolerance for combined residues of the fungicide thiabendazole (2-(4-thiazolyl)benzimidazole) and its metabolite benzimidazole (free and conjugated) on succulent shelled peas at 0.02 ppm.

EPA recently updated its dietary risk assessment in connection with a Federal Register rule on September 25, 2014 (79 FR 57450) (FRL-9915-78) establishing permanent tolerances for residues of thiabendazole in or on multiple commodities, and has evaluated the potential increase in exposure resulting from the Section 18 emergency exemption use of thiabendazole on succulent shelled peas (Pisum spp., including English pea, garden pea, and green pea). Based on the supporting residue chemistry data, the combined residues of thiabendazole and benzimidazole in/on succulent shelled peas (Pisum spp., including English pea, garden pea, and green pea) are estimated at 0.01 ppm (i.e., 1/2 limit on quantitation (LOQ) for each analyte) for the Section 18 emergency exemption use. To estimate the contribution to drinking water residues resulting from the emergency seed treatment use on succulent shelled peas, EPA relied on Start Printed Page 42399the drinking water residue estimates for the currently registered seed treatment use on wheat at 0.20 lbs. active ingredient/acre (ai/A), which is higher than the 0.083 lbs. ai/A maximum seed treatment use allowed under the emergency exemption. The addition of the emergency use on succulent shelled peas and the assumption of 100% of succulent shelled peas treated did not change the findings of the most recent dietary exposure and risk assessment which are discussed in the Federal Register of September 25, 2014. The Agency's exposure and risk assessment for the emergency use on succulent shelled peas is discussed in greater detail in “Section 18 Emergency Exemption for the Use of Thiabendazole as a Seed Treatment on Succulent Peas in Bonneville and Latah Counties in Idaho,” May 14, 2015, available in docket at the address provided under ADDRESSES.

Because the Section 18 emergency use of thiabendazole on succulent shelled peas will result in negligible increases in dietary exposure to all subgroups relative to the safety findings reached in the September 25, 2014 Federal Register Notice, EPA concludes that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to the general population, or to infants and children, from aggregate exposure to thiabendazole residues.

V. Other Considerations

A. Analytical Enforcement Methodology

Acceptable enforcement analytical methods are available for thiabendazole and benzimidazole in plant commodities. Four spectrophoto fluoro metric methods for the determination of thiabendazole are published in the Pesticide Analytical Manual (PAM) Vol. II, and a high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method with fluorescence detection (FLD) for the determination of benzimidazole (free and conjugated) is identified in the U.S. EPA Index of Residue Analytical Methods under thiabendazole as Study No. 93020.

B. International Residue Limits

In making its tolerance decisions, EPA seeks to harmonize U.S. tolerances with international standards whenever possible, consistent with U.S. food safety standards and agricultural practices. EPA considers the international maximum residue limits (MRLs) established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), as required by FFDCA section 408(b)(4). The Codex Alimentarius is a joint United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization food standards program, and it is recognized as an international food safety standards-setting organization in trade agreements to which the United States is a party. EPA may establish a tolerance that is different from a Codex MRL; however, FFDCA section 408(b)(4) requires that EPA explain the reasons for departing from the Codex level.

The Codex has not established a MRL for thiabendazole in or on the requested commodity.

VI. Conclusion

Therefore, a time-limited tolerance is established for residues of thiabendazole (2-(4-thiazolyl)benzimidazole) and its metabolite benzimidazole (free and conjugated), calculated as the stoichiometric equivalent of thiabendazole, in or on pea, succulent shelled at 0.02 ppm. This tolerance expires on December 31, 2018.

VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

This action establishes tolerances under FFDCA sections 408(e) and 408(l)(6). The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has exempted these types of actions from review under Executive Order 12866, entitled “Regulatory Planning and Review” (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993). Because this action has been exempted from review under Executive Order 12866, this action is not subject to Executive Order 13211, entitled “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use” (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001) or Executive Order 13045, entitled “Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks” (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997). This action does not contain any information collections subject to OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq., nor does it require any special considerations under Executive Order 12898, entitled “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations” (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994).

Since tolerances and exemptions that are established in accordance with FFDCA sections 408(e) and 408(l)(6), such as the tolerances in this final rule, do not require the issuance of a proposed rule, the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) do not apply.

This action directly regulates growers, food processors, food handlers, and food retailers, not States or tribes, nor does this action alter the relationships or distribution of power and responsibilities established by Congress in the preemption provisions of FFDCA section 408(n)(4). As such, the Agency has determined that this action will not have a substantial direct effect on States or tribal governments, on the relationship between the national government and the States or tribal governments, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government or between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. Thus, the Agency has determined that Executive Order 13132, entitled “Federalism” (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999) and Executive Order 13175, entitled “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments” (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000) do not apply to this action. In addition, this action does not impose any enforceable duty or contain any unfunded mandate as described under Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.).

This action does not involve any technical standards that would require Agency consideration of voluntary consensus standards pursuant to section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 U.S.C. 272 note).

VIII. Congressional Review Act

Pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), EPA will submit a report containing this rule and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 180

  • Environmental protection
  • Administrative practice and procedure
  • Agricultural commodities
  • Pesticides and pests
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
End List of Subjects Start Signature

Dated: July 9, 2015.

Susan Lewis,

Director, Registration Division, Office of Pesticide Programs.

End Signature

Therefore, 40 CFR chapter I is amended as follows:

Start Part

PART 180—[AMENDED]

End Part Start Amendment Part

1. The authority citation for part 180 continues to read as follows:

End Amendment Part Start Authority

Authority: 21 U.S.C. 321(q), 346a and 371.

End Authority Start Amendment Part

2. In § 180.242, revise paragraph (b) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Start Printed Page 42400
Thiabendazole; tolerances for residues.
* * * * *

(b) Section 18 emergency exemptions. Time-limited tolerances specified in the following table are established for residues of the thiabendazole, including its metabolites and degradates, in or on the specified agricultural commodities, resulting from use of the pesticide pursuant to FIFRA section 18 emergency exemptions. Compliance with the tolerance levels specified below is to be determined by measuring only the sum of thiabendazole (2-(4-thiazolyl)benzimidazole) and its metabolite benzimidazole (free and conjugated), calculated as the stoichiometric equivalent of thiabendazole. The tolerances expire on the date specified in the table.

CommodityParts per millionExpiration date
Pea, succulent shelled0.02December 31, 2018.
* * * * *
End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2015-17681 Filed 7-16-15; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-P