The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released several draft risk assessments late last week for public comment, including a combined ecological-risk assessment covering 22 sulfonylurea (SU) chemicals, along with individual human health-risk assessments for each SU (except for bensulfuron-methyl; that assessment has not yet been completed).
The assessment concluded that any risks appear to be limited to other plants on which the pesticide has not been prescribed for use.
"Using a new approach to assessing risks from related chemicals, we have combined the 22 separate ecological-risk assessment into one document, focusing on risks to plants," EPA said in a statement. "This single-document approach is intended to increase efficiency and consistency by assessing risks from a group of similar compounds at the same time. This approach makes for a level playing field for each product as we consider possible approaches to reduce risk.
"We generated separate human-health risk-assessment documents for each of the SUs because of differences in toxicity endpoints and points of departure," the release said. "The SUs are an established and widely used class of agricultural pesticides used in the United States to control broadleaf and grassy weeds, and are registered for many agricultural and non-agricultural uses."
Additionally, the EPA's Federal Register Notice announced the availability of draft registration to review human health and ecological-risk assessments for an additional 13 pesticide chemicals that are not sulfonylureas.
Further information and the full text of risk assessments can be found online at Docket No.EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0386 at www2.epa.gov/laws-regulations.
Comments will be accepted until Nov. 24.