The Environmental Protection Agency this week announced voluntary Drift Reduction Technology program intended to encourage the use of pesticide spray products that are most likely to reduce pesticide drift and save farmers money.
"Our new star-rating system of products and technologies will help farmers reduce drift, protect neighbors and reduce costs by keeping more of the pesticide on the crop," says Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.
DRT is a voluntary program that encourages manufacturers to test their technologies (such as nozzles, spray shields and drift reduction chemicals) for drift reduction potential. EPA encourages pesticide manufacturers to label their products for use with DRT technologies. The four DRT ratings represented by one, two, three or four stars are awarded for technologies that demonstrate at least 25% reduction in potential spray drift compared to the standard.
"We hope the new voluntary DRT will encourage the manufacture, marketing and use of safer spray technology and equipment scientifically proven to reduce pesticide drift."
One percent to 10% of agricultural pesticide sprays drift, losing about 70 million pounds of pesticides valued up to $640 million each year, EPA estimates.
The new rating system is designed also to decrease the amount of time and money spent investigating drift complaints.
Spray technology manufacturers interested in participating in EPA's DRT program may now submit data verifying their technology reduces pesticide movement. EPA will evaluate each data submission and, if appropriate, assign a drift-reduction star rating to the product based on its ability to reduce spray drift.
EPA will post these ratings on a special pesticide drift website. A pesticide manufacturer can choose to label a product for use with a DRT of a particular rating after receiving approval from EPA.
Over time, the program will move the agricultural sector toward the widespread use of low-drift technologies. Drift-reduction ratings could appear on pesticide labels as early as fall 2015.
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