EPA is working to protect wildlife from a mosquito control pesticide, Malathion, a product sold by disgraced, conflicted former Florida Mosquito Control Association President DONNIE POWERS, a resident of Alabama and am employee of FMC Corporation:
EPA Takes Steps to Protect Endangered and Threatened Species from Insecticide
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will take action to protect endangered and threatened species in response to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) nationwide final biological opinion (BiOp) for the insecticide malathion. This insecticide is commonly used for wide-area mosquito control and to control insects that attack crops and ornamental plants.
Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), EPA ensures that certain actions, including many pesticide registration actions, do not jeopardize federally threatened and endangered (i.e., listed) species or adversely modify their designated critical habitats. In January 2017, EPA released the biological evaluation for malathion, which found the registration of this pesticide is likely to adversely affect listed species and their designated critical habitats.
Because of these findings, EPA initiated formal consultation with FWS. FWS then developed a draft BiOp, which evaluates whether the use of malathion is likely to jeopardize listed species or adversely modify their critical habitats. In April 2021, EPA posted FWS’s draft BiOp for public comment and then summarized the comments for FWS to consider when finalizing its BiOp.
The final BiOp is the product of a collaborative interagency effort. Working together, FWS, EPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and pesticide registrants identified mitigation measures to protect listed species. Registrants involved in the consultation agreed to implement these measures by modifying their product labels.
FWS’s draft BiOp identified species that could be jeopardized by how malathion was used before this consultation process. FWS determined that the new mitigation measures, once implemented, will adequately reduce the potential effects of malathion products on listed species. EPA and FWS believe these measures, which are specifically intended to minimize malathion exposure, protect listed species.
Agreed-upon mitigation measures include no spray zones, reductions in application rates and number of applications, and other changes to the labels that, once approved, pesticide users must follow. Some of these measures will be implemented via Bulletins Live! Two, an online system that describes geographically specific pesticide use limitations to protect listed species and their designated critical habitats. These measures will not only protect listed species but also reduce exposure and ecological effects more broadly wherever malathion is used.
In addition to label changes that will reduce exposure and prevent jeopardy to listed species, the BiOp provides several reasonable and prudent measures — actions intended to minimize unintentional harm (i.e., “take”) to individuals of these listed species and minimize damage to their critical habitats that could result from malathion use.
This is the first nationwide final BiOp to result from EPA’s consultation with FWS for a pesticide under registration review. The BiOp thus reflects a major milestone in EPA’s work with FWS to protect listed species from pesticides and will advance the agencies’ broader efforts to improve the pesticide consultation process.
The final BiOp is the last step in EPA’s formal ESA consultation process with FWS. EPA is responsible for implementing the BiOp. By April 29, 2022, EPA will request that registrants submit amended labels to EPA. Registrants will then have 60 days to submit these amended labels. EPA will approve the amended labels and develop Endangered Species Protection Bulletins per registrant commitment letters within 18 months of the final BiOp issuance.