Sometimes it's good to take a look at history to better appreciate where we are today. After just completing our annually published "Turfgrass chemical update" series that appeared in our January, February and March issues, I dusted off an old 1970 issue of GM to find out what we listed in our "Herbicide updates" back then. There I found familiar, tried-and-true products such as 2,4-D, dicamba, DCPA, mecoprop, siduron and trifluralin. Other products that were listed-2,4,5-T, silvex, terbutol, and calcium and lead arsenates, for example-are no longer available.
Since 1970, many new products have been introduced, and, conversely, some products have been voluntarily dropped or regulated off the market. The balance, however, has been in favor of new introductions. In fact, many more turf herbicides are listed in our most recent "Herbicide update" than existed in 1970. All this happened during a period when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established and a long list of pesticide regulations was put in place.
It seems that as more regulations have been adopted, manufacturers have respond with newer and better products to meet these new regulations. This is contrary to the widely held notion that stricter regulations are limiting pesticide availability. Just the opposite seems to be true, and a good, sustainable check-and-balance system appears to exist. Hopefully, this trend will continue. Fortunately, you are the benefactors of this give-and-take relationship between the manufacturers and regulatory agencies. You now have more products from which to choose. These products also meet increasingly higher risk standards imposed by EPA and, in most cases, offer better control, as well.
The only way that this check-and-balance system has, and will, continue to work is if all parties rely on sound science to make their case and base their decisions. No room exists for politics, scare tactics, emotional appeals and agenda building in dealing with this critical issue, which is so important to all of us in this industry and society as a whole. Considering this perspective, this issue focuses on pest control.
In accordance with the dictates of the Food quality Protection Act (FqPA), organophosphates and carbamate insecticides are under scrutiny. The FqPA allows for the concept of cumulative-risk assessment, where pesticides with similar human-health effects are grouped together and contribute to the same cumulative risk. Under cumulative risk, therefore, many pesticides are assessed as groups. Organophosphate and carbamate insecticides, including those used for grub control in turf, are in the group of pesticides EPA will reassess in August 1999. Some of them are bound to face restrictions or cancellation. Responding to the regulatory climate and market conditions, manufacturers have introduced new grub-control products that markedly differ in their mode of action and application timing in comparison to organophosphates and carbamates. Dr. Daniel Potter, professor of entomology at the University of Kentucky, discusses what these new insecticides have to offer (page 12).
For about 30 years, we have annually published comprehensive listings of turf pesticides under various titles, such as "Turfgrass chemical updates" and "Turfgrass control guides." These "Updates" are time consuming, taking up to 6 months to compile. However, the result is the most comprehensive and accurate listing available. This year we are expanding the "Updates" to include fertilizer/pesticide combinations, non-selective herbicides and ornamental pest-control products. Check out our first annual installment of the "Chemical update" series on fertilizer/pesticide combinations (page 38). These and more pest-control-related articles appear in this issue.
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