Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. serves small, medium, and large pesticide product registrants and other stakeholders in the agricultural and biocidal sectors, in virtually every aspect of pesticide law, policy, science, and regulation.

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is pleased to provide our Forecast 2022 to FIFRA Blog readers, offering our best informed judgment as to the trends and key developments we expect to see in the new year. For the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), 2021 was a full year of working from home while addressing ongoing priorities; continuing the march toward meeting the 2022 deadline for registration review of pesticides registered before 2006; attempting to comply with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act (ESA); and meeting Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA) deadlines for registration applications. OPP is expected to focus on long-standing challenges, especially a renewed effort to meet ESA consultation requirements and to meet core pesticide registration review obligations. More details on this, and expected regulatory changes of all varieties, are available in our Forecast for U.S. Federal and International Chemical Regulatory Policy 2022.

WEBINAR
What to Expect in Chemicals in 2022
January 26, 2022, 12:00 p.m. EST
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B&C will be presenting a complimentary webinar, “What to Expect in Chemicals in 2022,” focusing on themes outlined in the forecast. Join Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner; Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., Director of Chemistry; and James V. Aidala, Senior Government Affairs Consultant, for this informative and forward-looking webinar.


 

By Heather F. Collins, M.S.

The January 18, 2022, deadline for payment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual maintenance fee for pesticide registrations is approaching. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 4(i)(1)(A) requires everyone who holds an active or suspended pesticide registration granted under FIFRA Sections 3 and 24(c) (special local needs) to pay an annual maintenance fee to keep the registration in effect. The maintenance fee requirement does not apply to supplemental registrations of distributors, which are identified by a three-element registration number.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EPA states that most EPA staff continue to telework and are not in the EPA offices; therefore, EPA will not send maintenance fee information by mail again this year. The instructions, maintenance fee filing form, fee tables, and product listings grouped by company numbers are available to download on EPA’s website. When completed, the filing submission should be e-mailed to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). A paper copy should not be sent to EPA.

The fee for 2022 is $3,660 for each registration up to the maximum fees that can be assessed to a single registrant. Each registrant of a pesticide must pay the annual fee and e-mail the response to EPA by Tuesday, January 18, 2022. Registrations for which the fee is not paid will be canceled, by order and without a hearing. As in years past, payment must be made electronically online at www.pay.gov.

For certain qualified small businesses, the first product registration maintenance fee may be reduced by 25 percent, if the applicant meets the following criteria:

  1. The applicant has 500 or fewer employees globally;
  2. During the three-year period prior to the most recent maintenance fee billing cycle, the applicant has average annual gross revenue from all sources that does not exceed $10 million; and
  3. The applicant holds a total of five or fewer registrations subject to the maintenance fee.

There also are maintenance fee waivers for products that meet the criteria in two specific categories: minor agricultural use products and public health pesticides. The procedure for requesting a fee waiver for individual products is described in the instructions provided by EPA.

More information on the annual maintenance fees is available on EPA’s website.


 

By James V. Aidala and Lisa R. Burchi

On November 18, 2021, the United Farm Workers and several other non-governmental organizations (NGO) filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to revoke all food tolerances and cancel registrations for organophosphate (OP) pesticides (Petition). The Petition was filed pursuant to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), 21 U.S.C. Section 346a(d), the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. Section 551, and the First Amendment Constitutional Right to Petition.

The Petition seeks final EPA actions to revoke tolerances and cancel registrations for 15 OPs by the registration review deadline of October 1, 2022.

The Petition also states that EPA must take the following actions:

  • Update EPA’s human health risk assessments (HHRA) for OP pesticides to use a regulatory endpoint that the Petition claims will protect children from learning disabilities and other neurodevelopmental harm.
  • Complete Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultations and ensure its registrations comply with the ESA;
  • Conduct endocrine disruptor screening of all pesticides.
  • Complete a cumulative risk assessment for all the OPs to address their cumulative acute poisoning and neurodevelopmental effects.

The Petition focuses on 15 OPs that are currently going through registration review:

  • Acephate (EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0915);
  • Bensulide (EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0022);
  • Chlorethoxyfos (EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0843);
  • Chlorpyrifos-methyl (EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0119);
  • Diazinon (EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0351);
  • Dichlorvos (EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0209);
  • Dicrotophos (EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0440);
  • Dimethoate (EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0059);
  • Ethoprop (EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0560);
  • Malathion (EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0317);
  • Naled (EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0053);
  • Phorate (EPA-HQ-OPP-2007-0674);
  • Phosmet (EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0316);
  • Terbufos (EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0119); and
  • Tribufos (EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0883).

Commentary

Now that EPA is in receipt of the Petition, it must determine that it has received a “complete” petition to revoke a tolerance based on criteria set forth in EPA’s regulations (40. C.F.R. § 180.7). If EPA determines the Petition is complete, it will publish in the Federal Register within 30 days a notice of filing for the Petition, which must include the informative summary of the Petition submitted by the petitioner. FFDCA Section 408(d)(3). A public comment period follows.

Generally, the Petition is an important signaling document that the petitioners use to outline how EPA should approach the 2022 registration review deadline for these OP products. It signals that unless EPA completes all elements of a registration review, including a complete ESA assessment and an endocrine disruptor review -- which may be impossible for EPA to complete -- then EPA should act now to revoke OP tolerances in light of arguments contained in the Petition. It stresses the environmental justice commitments announced by the Biden Administration, arguing that evidence is clear, in their view, of the need to take immediate action to end OP use across virtually all of the members of the class. It seems to anticipate that even if EPA rolls out registration reviews of the individual OP pesticides before the deadline, there will likely be comment and debate about the specific analyses and evaluation of each member of the category. This would additionally delay the completion of any revised cumulative risk assessment for the OPs.

From the view of the petitioners, not only will EPA miss the 2022 deadline, but they also argue the evidence is sufficient now for EPA to take action to revoke tolerances for these compounds based on evidence already before EPA. Other stakeholders and EPA’s eventual analyses will dispute such conclusions, but completing registration review (as defined in the Petition) will likely be impossible to complete before next October. As a result, the Petition here suggests the template these advocacy groups will use to challenge continued registration of OP products past the 2022 deadline.


 

By Lisa R. Burchi and Barbara A. Christianson

On December 2, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it released the registration review schedule for the next four years through fiscal year (FY) 2025. While historically this schedule has been updated once each year, EPA states that going forward it will be updated on a quarterly basis.

The 2007 amendment of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) requires that EPA review each registered pesticide at least every 15 years. For the 726 pesticide cases that were registered before October 1, 2007, the amendment to FIFRA requires EPA to complete its review by October 1, 2022. This is significant, as it is intended to mark the end of the first 15-year registration review cycle.

Working toward that goal, EPA states that it has completed the following over the past 15 years:

  • Issued more than 550 interim or final decisions;
  • Completed more than 600 proposed interim decisions;
  • Conducted more than 680 human health and ecological draft risk assessments (excluding endangered species assessments);
  • Imposed new risk mitigation requirements for 51 percent of antimicrobial pesticides and 70 percent of conventional pesticides for which EPA issued an interim or final decision; and
  • Canceled some or all uses in 120 cases.

EPA states its updated registration review schedule provides a “roadmap” for the next four years of EPA’s registration review program. EPA’s schedule includes 297 entries describing the registration review “action” (e.g., Draft Risk Assessment, Proposed Interim Decision, Interim Decision, Preliminary Work Plan, Final Work Plan) to be addressed by EPA’s different divisions (e.g., Pesticide Reevaluation Division; Antimicrobials Division, Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division). Throughout its review, EPA makes the information, assessments, and supporting material for each case available to the public at regulations.gov.

Significantly, but not surprisingly, EPA acknowledges that for some pesticides registered before October 1, 2007, it “anticipates that its review will extend beyond” the October 1, 2022, deadline “due to a number of challenges including delays in receiving data from registrants; the demands of responding to COVID-19; and a significant increase in recent years of resources devoted to litigation.” EPA also warns that the schedule is “subject to change based on shifting priorities and is intended to be an estimated timeline.” EPA notes further that data that are not submitted on time may affect EPA’s registration review timeline and that “several cases are not found on the schedule due to uncertainty of when necessary data will be received.”

Complying with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is also part of the registration review process. Since 2007, EPA states that it has completed ESA assessments for certain high-priority pesticides and, in the coming years, plans to assess the effects of many more pesticides on endangered species in registration review. According to EPA, it will release its first ESA pesticides work plan in the coming months, which will outline steps EPA will take to come into compliance with the ESA in ways that are fair and transparent to the agriculture sector.

Information on EPA’s registration review process is available here.


 

By Barbara A. Christianson

On November 19, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is extending COVID-19 activation of the emerging viral pathogens (EVP) guidance for antimicrobial pesticides indefinitely. EPA states that its EVP guidance for antimicrobial pesticides is a part of the federal government’s pandemic preparedness, allowing manufacturers to provide EPA with data, even in advance of an outbreak, demonstrating that their products are effective against hard-to-kill viruses.

EPA activated its EVP guidance for antimicrobial pesticides for the first time in January 2020 in response to the emergence of SARS-CoV-2. EPA has allowed for expedited review and approval of surface disinfectant products for use against SARS-CoV-2 for more than 12 months, including accelerated review for products seeking to add EVP claims to product labels. To date, EPA has added 591 products with emerging viral pathogens claims to its list of Disinfectants for Coronavirus (List N).

EPA states that registrants must remove EVP claims from consumer messaging no later than 24 months after the original notification of the outbreak, unless directed otherwise by EPA. With this extension, EPA will now provide a notification at least six months before inactivating the EVP guidance for SARS-CoV-2 to allow registrants time to adjust product marketing materials as required.

Additional information on the EVP guidance is available here.


 

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is pleased to announce that FIFRA Tutor™ regulatory training courses are now available at www.FIFRAtutor.com. Professionals can preview and enroll in on-demand classes to complete at their own pace and timing. FIFRA Tutor joins B&C’s existing TSCA Tutor® training courses in offering efficient and essential training for chemical regulatory professionals, and a third training program, HazCom GHS Tutor, is planned for 2022.
 
The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) product approval process is protracted, and often challenging, for any given product. Further complicating matters are the ensuing -- often expensive -- data, recordkeeping, and advocacy requirements associated with obtaining FIFRA product approvals. These courses are intended to provide on-demand knowledge to assist with the strategic planning that is critical to global product development. The subtleties of FIFRA are presented in a clear and business-focused context.
 
FIFRA Tutor online training courses include video lessons and detailed handout materials, including copies of all presentations and relevant course materials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other sources. The newly-released modules cover:

  • F101 -- An Overview of FIFRA
  • F102 -- Import and Export of Pesticides
  • F109 -- Defining Tolerances and Their Regulation
  • F110 -- Adverse Effects Reporting Requirements

Additional modules in the FIFRA Tutor curriculum will be released throughout 2022.

FIFRA Tutor courses are developed and presented by members of B&C’s renowned FIFRA practice group, which includes former EPA officials, an extensive scientific staff, and a robust and highly experienced team of lawyers and non-lawyer professionals extremely well versed in all aspects of FIFRA law, regulation, policy, compliance, and litigation.

Courses can be completed at the learner’s own pace, and enrollment is valid for one full year. Interested professionals should visit www.FIFRAtutor.com to view sample course segments and purchase modules.

Watch a preview of TSCA Tutor and FIFRA Tutor courses: T101 – TSCA Inventory Overview, T202 – TSCA Section 5 (Part 1) TSCA Chemical Inventory, Exemptions, and F109 – Defining Tolerances and Their Regulation.

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. is a Washington, D.C., law firm focusing on conventional, biobased, and nanoscale industrial, agricultural, and specialty chemical product approval and regulation, and associated business issues. B&C represents clients in many businesses, including basic, specialty, and agricultural and antimicrobial chemicals; biotechnology, nanotechnology, and emerging transformative technologies; paints and coatings; plastic products; and chemical manufacturing, formulation, distribution, and consumer product sectors. Visit www.lawbc.com for more information.


 

By Carla N. Hutton

On November 3, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of the Interior “reaffirm[ed] their commitment to working together and with stakeholders to protect endangered species, provide effective pest control tools, and regulate pesticide use in a fair, transparent, and predictable manner.” According to EPA’s November 3, 2021, press release, on October 15, 2021, all five agencies met as part of the Interagency Working Group (IWG) created under the 2018 Farm Bill to discuss improvements to the consultation process for pesticide registration and registration review under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). EPA states that the group’s first meeting resulted in specific commitments to improve the pesticide consultation process for endangered species and engaging stakeholders, including by capitalizing on the strong interest among stakeholders for a workable process.

According to the press release, the IWG is optimistic about its ability to collaborate on improvements that the Biden Administration can implement. The IWG’s actions focused on improving processes that will contribute to tangible benefits for species conservation and for stakeholders. EPA states that the IWG “is intent to adopt improvements expeditiously and that endure across administrations.” To guide its future work, the IWG has identified the following initial priorities and approaches:

  • Focus on improvements that deliver real world benefits for species conservation, public health, and food production. Examples include:
    • Use pilot projects to begin implementing mitigation measures as part of upcoming pesticide consultations and to demonstrate process improvements;
    • Adopt measures early in the pesticide consultation process to avoid, minimize, and offset the effects of pesticide use on ESA-listed species; and
    • Ensure that mitigation measures are effective and practical to implement;
  • Consider opportunities to engage with stakeholders as an interagency body to complement the stakeholder activities of each agency; and
  • Communicate the IWG’s work to stakeholders in a transparent manner.

EPA states that “[e]ffective endangered species protection cannot be accomplished solely by federal agencies,” but also requires “open and continuous engagement with stakeholders on practical solutions to harmonizing species conservation with pesticide use.” To that end, the IWG plans to hold its first stakeholder listening session in early 2022 and will provide details on the proposed session before the end of 2021.


 

By Heather F. Collins, M.S. and Barbara A. Christianson

On October 15, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has revised its guidance for evaluating the efficacy of antimicrobial pesticides against Candida auris (C. auris). EPA states that pesticide manufacturers seeking to register their products with a C. auris claim should use this updated guidance to test the effectiveness of the products against a drug-resistant strain of C. auris.

EPA states that C. auris is an emerging, multidrug-resistant yeast (a type of fungus). It can cause serious infections and spreads easily among hospitalized patients and nursing home residents. C. auris can spread in healthcare settings through contact with contaminated environmental surfaces or equipment, or from person to person. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one in three patients with an invasive (e.g., affecting the blood, heart, or brain) C. auris infection die.

In 2017, in consultation with the CDC, EPA issued interim guidance for testing the effectiveness of hospital disinfectants against C. auris. Subsequently, based on input from the CDC on its tracking of clinical cases of multi-drug resistant C. auris isolates in the United States, the laboratory data were generated to ensure antimicrobial efficacy against a more relevant strain of the pathogen.

Working closely with experts from the CDC, EPA conducted a comparative evaluation of isolates and found that the drug-resistant isolates were more tolerant to some disinfectant treatments. Since a drug-resistant isolate (AR Bank #0385) is highly relevant to current outbreaks in the United States, it is considered a suitable test microbe for regulatory purposes.

The guidance provides recommendations for laboratory methodology on how to:

  1. produce and store cultures of drug-resistant C. auris, and
  2. evaluate the effectiveness of antimicrobial products intended to treat surfaces contaminated with drug-resistant C. auris.

Under the updated guidance, all new products seeking registration with claims against C. auris should test for efficacy using the more relevant strain (AR Bank #0385). Efficacy testing using AR Bank #0381 is acceptable in some cases where the study initiation date is between October 15, 2020, and October 15, 2021. For study initiation dates between October 15, 2020, and October 15, 2021, EPA will accept studies conducted with isolate AR Bank #0381 for products whose active ingredients are either sodium hypochlorite or hydrogen peroxide plus acetic acid. For products with other active ingredients, it will be necessary to retest using isolate AR Bank #0385.

Existing antimicrobial products with C. auris claims based on the previous strain (AR Bank #0381) will be allowed to retain their claim of effectiveness against C. auris. To claim effectiveness against drug-resistant C. auris, EPA requires retesting with the more relevant strain (AR Bank #0385) identified in the updated guidance and according to the revised test method.


 

By Lisa M. Campbell and Carla N. Hutton

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a Federal Register notice on October 13, 2021, announcing the withdrawal of three guidance documents: “Temporary Policy for Preparation of Certain Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products During the Public Health Emergency (COVID-19)”; “Policy for Temporary Compounding of Certain Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products During the Public Health Emergency”; and “Temporary Policy for Manufacture of Alcohol for Incorporation Into Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products During the Public Health Emergency (COVID-19).” 86 Fed. Reg. 56960. According to the notice, FDA is withdrawing the guidance documents “because current data indicate that consumers and healthcare personnel are no longer experiencing difficulties accessing alcohol-based hand sanitizer products, and these temporary policies are no longer needed to help meet demand for alcohol-based hand sanitizer products or for alcohol for use in alcohol-based hand sanitizer.” The withdrawal date for the guidance documents is December 31, 2021. The notice states that firms manufacturing alcohol under the temporary policies for use in alcohol-based hand sanitizers and firms preparing alcohol-based hand sanitizers under the temporary policies must cease production of these products by December 31, 2021. Firms must cease, by March 31, 2022, distribution of any remaining hand sanitizer products that were prepared under the temporary policies before or on December 31, 2021. After March 31, 2022, FDA states that it intends to cease its temporary policy of not taking action with regard to distribution of hand sanitizers, or alcohol for use in alcohol-based hand sanitizers, prepared consistent with the circumstances described in the guidance documents.

Commentary

The withdrawal of these documents is not unexpected. FDA issued the documents in March 2020 to provide regulatory flexibility to certain firms to help meet the demand for alcohol-based hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). FDA states that it has determined that the demand for alcohol-based hand sanitizer has decreased and the supply of hand sanitizer from traditional manufacturers (i.e., firms other than those that entered into the over-the-counter drug industry for the first time to supply hand sanitizers during the PHE) has increased. FDA notes that although the temporary policies are being withdrawn, firms may continue to manufacture alcohol-based hand sanitizer products without an approved application, provided they comply with the applicable tentative final monograph and other applicable requirements, including current good manufacturing practice requirements under Section 501(a)(2)(B) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. FDA reminds distributors, re-packagers, and importers that they are also responsible for the safety and quality of the drugs they introduce into interstate commerce. Firms that registered and submitted drug product listing(s) for hand sanitizer(s) only but no longer manufacture such product, or plan to cease manufacturing such product, can deregister and delist their hand sanitizer product listing(s) by following the Electronic Drug Registration and Listing Instructions.


 

By James V. Aidala and Barbara A. Christianson

On October 7, 2021, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan announced the appointment of Rod Snyder to become EPA’s Agriculture Advisor. Snyder will lead outreach and engagement efforts with the agricultural community for EPA.

Snyder is nationally recognized for his leadership at the intersection of agricultural and environmental policy, and joins EPA after serving as president of Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, the largest multi-stakeholder initiative working to advance the sustainability of commodity crop farming in the United States. In that role, he forged science-based consensus among stakeholders across the food and agriculture value chain on issues such as climate change, water quality, biodiversity, and pest management.

Prior to his time at Field to Market, Snyder worked for the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. He previously organized farmer delegations to participate in UN Climate Summits in Paris and Copenhagen. In 2015, Snyder co-founded the Sustainable Agriculture Summit, which has grown to be the largest and most prominent annual sustainable agriculture conference in North America. Snyder holds a B.A. in Political Science from Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania.

Commentary

This position is important in the Office of the EPA Administrator. It allows stakeholders interested in issues that affect agriculture or agricultural policies a central contact point within the Administrator’s office. EPA in all program areas has a large number of interested stakeholders, but agricultural groups may be less likely to focus on EPA activities across all of the EPA media programs. This position facilitates outreach to agricultural stakeholders who might otherwise not realize they may have an interest in certain EPA policies (example, hazardous waste), in addition to those issues with a more obvious impact on agriculture (renewable fuel policies, pesticides, non-point pollution). Given the Biden Administration emphasis on addressing climate change, agricultural interests are expected to play a role in advocating “climate positive” agriculture policies, and could be affected by EPA’s climate initiatives.

The Agriculture Advisor position has potential to provide EPA leadership with input from stakeholders who otherwise may not typically focus on EPA activities. The impact of such input on EPA subsequent actions varies widely across different Administrations. Some Administrations leave the position vacant altogether. Outside groups will be interested in how influential this office will be for the current Administration. 


 
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