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Toxics

Court Ruling May Limit Use Of Synthetic Chemicals By Organic Food Producers

A recent federal appellate ruling will limit the amount of synthetic chemicals that food producers can use to be labeled "organic" under regulations by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), according to environmentalists.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled Jan. 26 in Arthur Harvey v. Veneman that several provisions of USDA's rules implementing the Organic Foods Protection Act (OFPA) exceed the department's authority.

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EPA EYES STRICTER PESTICIDE RISK REVIEWS TO PROTECT WATER QUALITY

An EPA task force investigating the effectiveness of federal pesticide law in protecting waterbodies is drafting a report that could recommend the agency tighten its pesticide risk assessment process to better protect water quality, agency sources say.

"We're looking to see if the risk assessment needs to be improved," one EPA source says.

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OMB REPORTEDLY SEEKS ALTERNATIVE RISK ESTIMATES IN EPA CANCER GUIDE

White House regulatory officials are reportedly seeking to include language in EPA's long-awaited revisions to its cancer risk assessment guidelines that would require the agency to present chemical safety estimates to protect a smaller percentage of the general population alongside its more conventional estimates.

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EPA EYES STRICTER PESTICIDE RISK REVIEWS TO PROTECT WATER QUALITY

A U.S. EPA task force investigating the effectiveness of federal pesticide law in protecting water bodies is drafting a report that could recommend the agency tighten its pesticide risk assessment process to better protect water quality, agency sources said.

"We're looking to see if the risk assessment needs to be improved," one EPA source said.

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COMPOSTERS SEEK ADDITIONAL CONTROLS IN DPR CLOPYRALID REGULATIONS

California composters are asking the pesticides department to go further with a rule designed to protect compost from the persistent herbicide clopyralid, which they claim continues to pose a threat to their industry. However, one pesticide dealer says the regulation is already overly burdensome and will likely reduce clopyralid sales.

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INDUSTRY PRESSES OEHHA FOR PROP. 65 EXPOSURE QUANTIFICATION METHOD

Industry lawyers who are seeking Proposition 65 relief for fishing tackle lead warnings say the health hazard office must provide a clear procedure for quantifying exposure or the law may further exacerbate the filing of frivolous lawsuits. The office, in response, recently announced it will consider the industry's petition for a safe-use determination (SUD) for fishing tackle, which may provide the guidance being sought by the industry.

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OMB Reportedly Seeks Alternative Risk Estimates In EPA Cancer Guide

White House regulatory officials are reportedly seeking the inclusion of language in EPA's long-awaited revisions to its cancer risk assessment guidelines that would require the agency to present chemical safety estimates to protect a smaller percentage of the general population alongside its more conventional estimates.

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EPA TO PROPOSE RULE ON WATER PERMITTING FOR PESTICIDE USE

EPA plans to propose a rule that will clarify when aerial pesticide applications over waterbodies require Clean Water Act (CWA) discharge permits, agency sources say. The sources say the agency plans to unveil its proposal Jan. 27, instead of finalizing a 2003 interim guidance that said CWA permits were not needed if pesticide use complies with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act. An EPA source said earlier this month that a final document would resemble the interim guidance, which did not require permits.

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DPR CHIEF CALLS FOR RENEWED IPM FOCUS AS REPORT SHOWS USE INCREASE

While releasing data showing a slight increase in the amount of pesticides used in 2003, pesticides department director Mary-Ann Warmerdam said she will renew the department's emphasis on encouraging integrated pest management (IPM) strategies, an effort that has suffered from budget cuts in recent years. The department's newly released pesticide use report shows that pesticide applications went up about 4% from 2002, marking the second straight year pesticide use has increased.

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CHILDREN'S HEALTH ISSUES RAISED OVER BROWNFIELDS SCREENING LEVELS

Cal/EPA's new brownfields screening levels have sparked environmentalists' worries over just how effective they will be. Concerns about children's health and vapor intrusion have delayed the release of the long-awaited California Human Health Screening Levels (CHHSLs).

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