EPA announces pesticide spray drift reduction technology program

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticides Programs (OPP) recently announced a voluntary program to document the effectiveness of pesticide spray application technologies on reducing spray drift. EPA defines spray drift as the physical movement of a pesticide through the air at the time of application or soon thereafter from the target site to any non- or off-target site. The announcement of the EPA program appeared in the October 15, 2014 issue of the Federal Register (Vol. 79, No. 199, p. 61865).

The new voluntary Drift Reduction Technology (DRT) Program encourages manufacturers to test their technologies (such as nozzles, spray shields, and drift reduction chemicals) for drift reduction potential. EPA will encourage pesticide manufacturers to label their products for use with DRT technologies. One of four DRT ratings represented by one, two, three or four stars will be awarded for technologies that demonstrate at least 25% reduction in potential spray drift compared to the standard.

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 at http://www2.epa.gov/reducing-pesticide-drift. EPA will evaluate the proposed label and conduct the environmental risk assessment using assumptions appropriate for the star rating/application technology. A pesticide manufacturer can choose to label a product for use with a DRT of a particular rating after receiving approval from EPA. The ratings could appear on pesticide labels as early as fall 2015.