Growers comment on pesticide ban


News staff writer

June 17, 2006

The effect of the Environmental Protection Agency’s potential ban on use of azinphos methyl by fruit growers has yet to be fully known in the Hood River Valley.

The agency announced last week that it was proposing to phase out the remaining uses of the pesticide, known more commonly as Guthion. The EPA is taking comments for two months before making its final decision.

The act stemmed from a court case settled in January involving the United Farm Workers agency in Western Washington concerning the health effects of the pesticide.

Guthion belongs to the class of pesticides known as organophosphates, which fruit growers use to kill the codling moth.

“It has for some time now been the cornerstone of the codling moth program,” said Craig Mallon, a field man for Duckwall-Pooley fruit growers.

He also grows pears and cherries on his own. Mallon said the change has been expected for some time now by people in the industry. Pear and apple grower Larry Martin said he began transitioning away from using Guthion two years ago.

“For me, because I’m transitioning away from organophosphates it (the ban) won’t have that much effect,” he said. “But I’m also actively working toward not using phosmets either, known as Imidan.”

In addition to the potential Guthion ban, the EPA is also seeking comment on extending the interval between spraying and re-entering orchards for nine phosmet uses. The EPA proposed to phase out by 2010 the use of Guthion on apples, blueberries, cherries, parsley and pears.

During the interim period, the agency has suggested additional restrictions on reducing annual application rates, additional monitoring of workers, and larger buffer zones. The agency’s timeline includes determining by Aug. 3 whether to approve or deny growers’ applications to retain use for the remaining 10 uses. That includes use of Guthion on apples, cherries, and pears.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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