Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Maine Board of Pesticides Control - November 2006

Maine BPC Reports \ BPC November 2006

BPC Addresses Rule Changes

Maine’s Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) held a public hearing on November 17 on several proposed rule changes.
  • A proposed change to Chapter 20 (Special Provisions) requiring a written agreement in order for a commercial pesticide application to take place met with a lot of opposition from the pesticide industry during the public comment period.  The board has been working on a modification of the rule change that would still require some form of ‘positive verification’ before an application, but not necessarily in the form of a written contract.
  • A proposed change to Chapter 27 (Standards for Pesticide Applications and Public Notification in Schools) will allow schools to spray immediately when the Maine Center for Disease Control has identified arbovirus-positive animals (including mosquitoes and ticks) in the area, waiving the otherwise required five-day notification period for pesticides applications.
  • A proposed change to Chapter 31 would have consolidated several categories of commercial pesticide applicators, simplifying the examination process. Several members of the blueberry industry objected to elimination of a blueberry category on the grounds that it would make the examination process more difficult for licensed applicators. The board agreed to maintain the blueberry license category and keep the blueberry exam.
  • Proposed changes to Chapters 40 (Maine Restricted and Limited Use Pesticides) and 41 (Special Restrictions on Pesticide Use) would change the classification of Trichlorfon (Dylox, Proxol) from limited use to restricted use, thereby eliminating the special provisions and procedures previously associated with its application. This rule change was in response to a request from the lawn care industry in order to have a more effective tool against grubs. The proposed change was opposed by MOFGA at the November public hearing, and the board reviewed the rule at its December meeting, where a straw poll showed the proposal, as written, did not have sufficient support to be adopted.  There was some indication that a revised proposal with additional precautions to minimize the potential for exposure may get more support. At the January meeting, a revision of the rule change was brought to the board that included several special restrictions associated with the use of trichlorfon. The board voted to proceed with rulemaking with the language as presented. 
  • Two proposed changes to Chapter 28 (Notification Provisions for Outdoor Pesticide Applications) would increase access to information:
  1. If requested, outdoor pest control applicators shall make ‘reasonable efforts’ to supply a copy of the Material Safety Data Sheet and/or pesticide label;
  2. A mechanism would waive the fee for pesticide notification.
On the Horizon

Possible topics for future rulemaking include:
  • pond dyes (making certain ones available to private pond owners as a solution to algal growth);
  • indoor notification registry (pending outcome of current proposed legislation);
  • development of buffer zones to protect surface water.
Standards for Indoor Pesticide Applications and Notification Requirements (Chapter 26)

This law, requiring applicators to establish procedures and standards for pesticides applications inside specified occupied buildings, including notification about pending pesticide applications, went into effect on January 1. According to board member Richard Stevenson Jr., this new law is proving difficult for the pesticide industry to implement; he estimates about 1% compliance now. Visit the BPC Web site at for more information about this rule.


Chapter 26 of the board’s rules requires indoor applicators to identify pests specifically and evaluate the infestation and the associated damage before treating, except with a history of pest infestation or when treating for public health pests designated by board policy. During the development of Chapter 26, much testimony addressed the need to aggressively treat for bedbugs, an emerging indoor pest problem. At the November meeting, the board voted to designate bedbugs as a public health pest.

Aerial Spray Update

The Aerial Spray Stakeholder Committee members have been chosen and include Heather Spalding, MOFGA’s associate director. Board member John Jemison will co-chair with staff member Henry Jennings, with meetings beginning this spring. The Aerial Spray Technical Committee has met several times. Contact Eric Sideman ( for an update on the committee’s progress.  

Given the timing of the work of these two committees, no rule changes on aerial spraying will be made this legislative session.

Bt Corn

At the December meeting, staff toxicologist Lebelle Hicks told the board that Dow AgroScience had contacted her about applying for registration of genetically-engineered Bt corn. When the board received registration requests for plant-incorporated pesticides in 1994, 1995 and 1998, it convened a Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) to review the health effects and an Ad Hoc Resistance Committee to discuss the potential development of insect resistance.

The board agreed to reconvene the Ad Hoc Resistance Committee and to create a mechanism to evaluate the issue of pollen drift, if it receives an application to register a plant-incorporated insecticide. Most board members thought that the MAC review would not be necessary, as evidence of human health risks associated with the use of plant-incorporated pesticide products does not seem to have emerged with the use of such products over the last decade. However, board member Lee Humphreys noted that studies done in other countries have shown risk to human health; staff toxicologist Hicks will investigate the topic.

As of February 2007, the BPC had not received an application for the use of Bt corn, and no discussion of the issue occurred at the January meeting.

Better Brush Management at Guardrails?

Robert Moosmann of the Maine Department of Transportation told the board about a new mowing system the department may trial to more effectively manage brush adjacent to guardrails. The mower, manufactured by Diamond Mowers of South Dakota, holds herbicide on the bottom of the cutting blade (without spraying or dripping); as the blade cuts the plant, the herbicide is wiped on the cut stem. Moosmann hopes that this will reduce overall pesticide use and eliminate drift and safety issues of backpack applications.

Legislative Update     

The following bills relating to pesticides have been submitted:

LD 1798 An Act To Provide for Public Notification of Indoor Pesticide Applications   

LD 329 An Act To Prohibit the Use of Deltamethrin or “DECA”

LD 728 An Act to Require a Commercial Pesticide Applicator’s License in Food-handling  Establishments   

LD 955 An Act To Prohibit Aerial Spraying of Pesticides Near Buildings, Roads and  Bodies of Water

Another bill, “An Act to Fund Pesticide Education in the State,” is awaiting legislative approval. It proposes a 15 cent charge on pesticide containers to fund homeowner education.

– Melissa White