EPA Seeks Public Comment on Hemp Pesticides

Environment Protection Agency has announced a 30-day public comment period on 10 pesticide products that are being considered for industrial hemp farming.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to hear from the American public on pesticides for use on hemp.

In a Federal Register filing, EPA announced it had received 10 pesticide product applications for use on hemp. In response, the agency has opened a 30-day public comment period for feedback on the applications.

“EPA seeks information on any groups or segments of the population who, as a result of their location, cultural practices, or other factors, may have atypical or disproportionately high and adverse human health impacts or environmental effects from exposure to the pesticides discussed in this document, compared to the general population,” reads the notice.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the agency is taking the next step toward registering “crop protection tools” for the 2020 industrial hemp growing season and wants to enhance transparency in the process.

“We hope this transparent and public process will bring hemp farmers and researchers increased regulatory clarity in time for next growing season — something they have asked for since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and the legalization of commercial hemp,” Wheeler said in an EPA press release.

The 10 pesticide products all originate from three California-based companies: Agro Logistic Systems, Inc., Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc., and Hawthorne Hydroponics, LLC. According to the EPA, these pesticides have previously been deemed safe, but the agency wants to offer the American public a chance to speak up on potential environmental justice issues.

The deadline for public comment is September 23.

Those interested in commenting on hemp pesticides to the EPA can submit feedback electronically here. Comments can also be mailed in or hand delivered. Information on rules and restrictions can be found here.

According to the EPA’s news release, after the comment period ends the agency anticipates deciding on the use of the pesticide products by the end of 2019. To learn more about hemp, check out our article on the Basics of Hemp.

Potential Dangers of Pesticides

After the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill by President Donald Trump in December 2018, hemp production became officially legal in the United States. With it came an agricultural resurgence for industrial hemp, resulting in a 368 percent jump in acreage used for hemp production in just the last year alone.

With any industrial crop, particularly in the U.S., comes the question of how to yield the most product. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides) have contributed to substantial increases in crop yields over the past five decades.

Many believe that pesticide use can be detrimental to human health. According to some research, exposure to pesticides has been positively associated with various types of cancers and other serious conditions.

Pesticides can also linger on crops, particularly on bioaccumulators like hemp, after production. The pesticides may then be transferred to those who consume the plant or its extracts. With the current boom in the hemp-derived product market, this could pose serious implications for consumers.

It is for this reason that Medical Marijuana, Inc. elects to grow the hemp used to make our CBD oil products without the use of pesticides, including herbicides and insecticides, and chemical fertilizers.

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