Lorsban will be available to use in fruits and vegetables for 2019

Legal proceedings need to finish before a decision on availability of chlorpyrifos is made, which should give fruit and vegetable growers time to use this product for pest control in 2019.

Cabbage maggot
Chlorpyrifos should be available to control pests in fruits and vegetables in 2019, including key pests like cabbage maggot (pictured here). Photo by Ben Werling, MSU Extension.

Chlorpyrifos—sold under the tradename Lorsban— should be legal to use in fruits and vegetables for 2019. This insecticide is the main or only option for controlling key pests in crops including apples, asparagus, cabbage, cherries, transplanted onions, peaches, radishes, rutabagas, and turnips. Growers have expressed concern given a recent ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that, if it stands, will require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin a Federal Insecticide Fungicide Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) process to revoke all label uses of this product.

In our recent communications with colleagues at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), we learned that chlorpyrifos will remain available to use until legal proceedings are finished. This is expected to take time, especially since the EPA has asked for a rehearing of the case before all judges of the 9th Circuit Court.

Dave Epstein of USDA noted, “The 9th Circuit Court has not yet responded, and has given no indication when it will. I see no scenario where Lorsban will not be available for use in 2019, as any cancellation would have to undergo a FIFRA review, and that takes time.”

A contact at MDARD also noted that “even if the 9th Circuit decides not to rehear the case, it’s anticipated that the [Trump] administration will file an appeal with the Supreme Court. I don’t anticipate that this issue will be settled for some time and even if it is, I believe there will be a phase-out process rather than an [immediate] ban.”

It is, of course, impossible to predict exactly what will happen, but the best indications are that chlorpyrifos purchased this winter and spring will be available to use for 2019. We encourage you to keep updated at EPA’s chlorpyrifos website.

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