Volume 7, Issue 9 (October 2010)
Validation Testing of Drift Reduction Technology Testing Protocol
A number of pesticide application technologies offer the potential to reduce spray drift from pesticide applications. However, limited information exists on the effectiveness of these technologies in reducing spray drift. Working with a stakeholder technical panel under EPA’s Environmental Technology Council, the Office of Pesticide Programs in EPA has developed and is in the process of validating a testing protocol to verify the effectiveness of drift reduction technologies (DRTs). The DRT testing protocol was adapted from standard test methods and regulatory methods used in other countries and describes the testing approach that will be used to generate high-quality, peer-reviewed data for DRTs, including test design and quality assurance aspects. Both low-speed and high-speed wind tunnel tests were completed using a reference nozzle and two test nozzles to evaluate the performance of the generic DRT testing protocol. By Summer 2010, EPA anticipates to finalize this testing protocol based on the test results performed by EPA and other stakeholders. As a next step, EPA intends to encourage equipment manufacturers to voluntarily use the protocol for testing their equipment. Tested technologies that are proven to significantly reduce spray drift may be considered for addition to pesticide product labels by pesticide registrants and by EPA in its risk assessment and management decisions for the registration of new pesticide and uses and registration review (reevaluation) of currently registered pesticides. Pesticide product labels citing the use of DRTs could have reduced restrictions for applications, provide applicators with greater flexibility, and result in less off-target pesticide deposition. This paper will provide an update of EPA’s efforts to validate the DRT testing protocol and discuss future plans for using a validated protocol in evaluating DRTs in an effort to reduce load from unintended spray drift of pesticides in the environment.