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PARC meeting minutes July 19, 2006
Board members present
Chris Kirby – PARC Board Administrator
Dale Mitchell – ODA Co-Chair
Michael Heumann – DHS Co-Chair
Gene Foster – DEQ
Brad Knotts – ODF
Richard Kepler - ODFW
Garnet Cooke – OR/OSHA

Board members absent
Gordon Simeral – OSFM
Sandy Giffin – OHSU/Poison Control

Consultants present
Dr. Jeff Jenkins - OSU
Dr. Dan Sudakin – OSU
Kaci Agle – ODA, PARC
Dr. Fred Berman – CROET
Joan Rothlein – CROET
Lauren Slusser – OSPH
Will Lackey – ODOT

Guests present
Terry Witt – Oregonians for Food & Shelter
Preta Golden – Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides
Tim Stock – Oregon State University Extension

  • All present were introduced. Called to order: 9:10 am.
  • Brad Knotts clarified one point from the May minutes. He said the Siletz tribe actually conducted monitoring, and that prompted the Audubon Society to hold a public meeting (not the other way around).
  • Minutes from the May 17, 2006 meeting were accepted, as amended.

Old business
  • Kaci Agle (PARC Coordinator) gave a presentation on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), also known as Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance (IEI). See attached slides.
    • Joan Rothlein commented that mental illnesses are generally “discounted” in modern times, and that is a broader problem that needs to be addressed.
    • Michael Heumann commented that there are many unknowns, and tracking is a very useful activity. He said that Dr. Sheldon Wagner believed that there may be some validity in MCS claims toward the end of his tenure at OSU, after years of believing it was not a physiological phenomenon.
    • Note: Preta Golden arrived and introduced herself. She said she is writing an article about the Florence case for the September issue of an NCAP Publication.
  • Dale Mitchell (PARC Co-chair) gave a presentation on Confidentiality / Records Exempt from Disclorsure. See attached slides.
    • Michael Heumann suggested that PARC develop a “packet” explaining confidentiality procedures to new (incoming) PARC Board members/representatives and/or consultants.
  • Waldport Workgroup Update - Agle provided a brief description of the Waldport Workgroup meeting that took place last month. She asked DEQ if they might receive (as a complaint) the concerns raised in the petition about PCBs, school grounds, and illegal dumping sites. He said they could. Garnet Cooke said she had been reading about dioxin(s) in Chiloquin, and noted that dioxin concentrations were the highest 4-18 inches deep (in the soil profile). If sampling is conducted, this should be kept in mind. She also learned that the batches of 2,4,5-TP (Silvex) and 2,4,5-T that were applied in 1964 and 1965 were highly contaminated with dioxin (around 10%), but the manufacturing process was much improved afterwards, thus reducing the concentration in later batches. Agle noted that the next meeting of the workgroup will be set based on availability of representatives. Mitchell said that the group is still in the fact-finding stage, and things have been relatively quiet since the last PARC Board meeting. Brad Knotts gave an update on his “to-do” list after the workgroup meeting. He assembled a list of active ingredients that are commonly used in private forestry operations in western Oregon. He looked for sampling sites in the Alsea watershed in a comprehensive 1992 study and found one; the result was “non-detect.” He also provided a copy of a study from the Alsea area, conducted by local concerned citizens to Agle. He summarized the study saying that detections were higher than those observed in other studies, but they were still below the Level of Concern (LOC). Heumann said that Amy Chapman (Lincoln County Health Department) attended a public meeting in Waldport in May. He also said that Mike Watson (EPA Region 10) and Dr. Sudakin started efforts to survey local health care providers (HCPs). He said their goal would be to find out whether or not local HCPs have identified problematic trends in the local population. Heumann also provided an update on his progress toward getting data from Oregon’s cancer registry. He said that the registry began in 1996, so there are only 10 years of data. He has received a set of raw data from the “Cancer Registry Group”, and he noted that most cancers were occurring in people over 65 years of age. When asked, he said that the list of other diseases described in the petition would be addressed by the HCP survey. He said that a survey of the population is not appropriate at this time. Freb Berman asked whether birth defects were a current concern. Heumann and Agle said that they were not mentioned in the petition. Jenkins asked how the group would evaluate available data in light of “other risk factors.” Heumann said, “We’ll put our heads together” and see if any of the data really stand out. Rothlein and Jenkins encouraged the group to avoid going down blind alleys, and pursuing solutions that don’t please anyone. Mitchell said that the disposal concerns in the petition may be referred to the regional DEQ offices for evaluation. Heumann said that any such referral should also include the sensitive sites identified, including local schools. Berman mentioned the bizarre colors in the water of the slough where the Alsea River dumps into the ocean. He asked who might be able to explain this phenomenon, if it isn’t related to historical dumping or chemical misuse. The group was not aware of anyone with the right expertise. Perhaps the Historical Society, someone with knowledge of the land-use history, could be of service.
Old PARC Cases:
  • Florence Case Recommendations:
    • Dale Mitchell voiced his concerns about making recommendations to EPA, the responsible party for label interpretations, before they have completed their evaluation of the Enforcement Case Review (ECR). The ECR is currently being evaluated by the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assistance (OECA) and by attorneys with the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP). He said PARC would be premature if recommendations made before a determination is made. He argued that EPA is already grappling with questions about the definition of “adequate ventilation” and the responsibility for ventilation.
    • Heumann said he was not aware that the group evaluating the ECR would be looking at broad issues like those listed in #6. He said it would never be “inappropriate’ to add recommendations to the questions that have already been posed. He argued that EPA’s response may be to say, “Yes, we’re on the right path.”
    • Mitchell said that EPA has already issued more detailed guidance about ventilation regarding fumigants. However, without knowing EPA’s conclusions about the enforcement case, any recommendations to EPA from PARC would be premature.
    • Heumann said that the current consultation is narrow, encompassing just one case. He said his concern about the use of pyrethroids (and pyrethrins) is broader. He said he thought it was the right time to make a broader recommendation to EPA.
    • Berman said there is a body of other cases that Michael Heumann discovered after much research. Agle noted that this list of recommendations was based solely on the Florence case. Jenkins said that if that’s the case, PARC could make stronger recommendations based on sensitive subpopulations. Heumann said the case would be stronger if PARC included additional data (incident data) in the rationale for the recommendation.
    • Jenkins said that the EPA considers inhalation exposures in its residential risk assessment process. He said the Florence case may be an extreme outlier when seen in context. He said that a broad survey of national incident data would not necessarily be called for, based on this one case.
    • Heumann said he would present the broader survey data to the board at the next PARC Board meeting. He said there were 28 other cases in Oregon that occurred under similar circumstances, though no other deaths were reported, save one (This case was assigned a certainty index of 4 = unlikely. The unfortunate death was not likely to be related to the pesticide application that took place in her home weeks prior to her death). He said that there were 80 such cases in California, and about 200 cases nationwide. He said that the majority of symptoms reported were low in severity.
    • Jenkins said that the whole data set may be more compelling.
    • Mitchell said his recommendations would depend on EPA’s conclusions. If the product was not used according to the label, then perhaps no label changes would be needed. If it was, then his recommendation might change. He said he is cautious about drawing conclusions.
    • Kirby said it’s appropriate to ask questions. From ODA’s perspective, the questions have already been asked (of EPA through the ECR process).
    • Heumann said that ODA is different from PARC. ODA’s questions had to do with one enforcement case; PARC should ask broader questions based on broader information available. He said that EPA is currently doing a review of pyrethrins and pyrethroids in a broad context, and he’d like for them to have recommendations from PARC.
    • Kirby asked, “Is it your impression that OECA and OPP aren’t talking to each other? (The broad review that Heumann spoke about is being conducted in the Special Reregistration Review Division of the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP).) Heumann didn’t answer before Rothlein spoke up. She said these questions need to be asked regardless of the Florence case.
    • Kirby said that the statute (ORS 634.550) authorizes PARC to make recommendations to state agencies based on one case or a trend or pattern. There’s a difference between what’s good to do, and what’s authorized in the statute [ORS 634.550(5)(e) states, in part, “The function of the Board are to: … (e) Make recommendations for action to a state agency when a majority of the Board considers that such action may be warranted on the basis of the findings of an incident investigation or on the basis of identification of a trend or pattern of problems”].
    • Rothlein said that the label language just sounds vague. Mitchell said that happens all the time. Rothlein said it’s good to know that the questions have been asked. Jenkins said that labels are national legal documents, and the language is vague because that’s what everyone can agree upon.
  • Public Comments: The Board recognized visitors in the meeting, and offered them a chance to speak before breaking for the noon hour.
    • Terry Witt said that Oregonians for Food & Shelter (OFS) was really pleased that PARC is currently funded and operational. He said that Oregon should be proud to have two representatives on an EPA Workgroup called the Pesticide Drift Reduction Workgroup. He also highlighted a recent Illinois court decision that found some label language to be “unconstitutionally vague.” He said that EPA is taking a broader look at labels language after this court ruling. Witt said he was aware of differences in product labels with the same active ingredient, and… “we’re trying to find ways to clarify label language.”
  • Florence Case Recommendations (Continued)
    • Knotts said it is disturbing to see a lack of clarity in pesticide labels. Mitchell said he could see some crucial interpretations coming (from EPA), and PARC would need to know about them in order to clearly focus its recommendations. Cooke said that PARC’s recommendations (at this time) would serve to encourage EPA to take the matter more seriously than it might otherwise, with only one enforcement case to review. Berman said that once the EPA makes a decision, they’ll be done with it. He said he would like to submit comments before the opportunity passes.
    • Mitchell said that the questions (already submitted to EPA) will require an agency-wide response. If they say there is no definition (for adequate ventilation), then PARC may want to recommend they work with industrial hygienists to develop one. He also emphasized that there will be an opportunity to provide further input (to OPP) after the ECR is concluded. He also said there may be other entities to carry PARC’s recommendations to EPA, including AAPCO (Association of American Pesticide Control Officials).
    • Kirby said that PARC would be in a bad position if it recommended a definition for ventilation, then found that EPA developed a different recommendation. Heumann said that PARC should not venture a definition; “We’re not the experts.”
    • Mitchell said that the case is still under investigation. If EPA says that the product was used lawfully, that will be important information.
    • Berman asked if the EPA would define the degree of misuse. He said that lawful use and unlawful use may not be so different. He asked where is that margin of safety?
    • Heumann said that dilution was not a factor in this case; the products were ready-to-use, and all the evidence we have to address the amount of use are the swab samples that were collected.
    • Heumann said that the last time PARC made a recommendation to EPA, they did so with “less information than we have now.” [Heumann was referring to a recommendation that EPA clarify the appropriate uses of paint after TBT additive was added (outdoor only).] Mitchell said that those investigations were completed at the time the recommendations were made.
    • Cooke asked if the group would prefer to wait on all of the recommendations. Mitchell said no, just the ones that discuss label language. Kirby verified that the Board could easily finalize one or more recommendations at this time. Heumann said that recommendations 4,5, and 6 are related to member agencies.
    • Berman asked, “Where is EPA on this?” Mitchell said it’s a “big black box, really.” We don’t know the projected date of completion.
    • Dr. Sudakin offered this information. He said he was in Washington DC in March 2006, and his project officer (Frank Davido) was aware of the Florence case, and they also spoke to Jim Jones about it. Jim Jones is the Director of the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP). Jones asked Dr. Sudakin to talk to the Chemical Review Manager (for pyrethroids) about the case, and he did. Mitchell concurred saying the review is taking place at a very high level within EPA. All involved know that the case is highly significant.
    • Heumann said the case must have reached OPP through the draft of report with recommendations (Heumann was referring to the final PARC report on the Florence case, which included a summary of findings from OPHD. OPHD included a list of suggested recommendations for PARC to make. No other agency did so). Mitchell said that the EPA might have thought those were PARC’s recommendations. That would be incorrect; those recommendations were from OPHD. Heumann said it seemed to him like the time had come to make the recommendations. He said the pyrethroids were in the review process now.
    • Kirby noted that the recommendations would be considered, if they have sufficient backing, no matter what the timing. Heumann disagreed, saying t hat he understood that timing is important. However, he noted that ODA works more closely with EPA.
    • Knotts said he would like to see more than talk. He would be in favor of moving on recommendations 4, 5, and 6, while waiting on recommendations 1, 2, and 3. Mitchell concurred. Berman asked if the extra data on pyrethroid incidents (gathered by OPHD) strengthen the recommendation if the Board waits to move on 1, 2, and 3. Jenkins said that the Florence case has everyone interested. However, by itself, it does not provide adequate evidence to support the recommendations as written. Agle commented that PARC is a state-centered Center, and the data driving the proposed recommendations are national. Heumann said that national data are appropriate for the PARC Board to review. Kepler said he would hate to see PARC’s purview become too limited. Kirby said he would have concerns (regarding recommendation #6) if the PARC Board were to ask him to spend Oregon funds on a national survey. Mitchell asked if PARC intends to second-guess EPA’s risk assessment process by making these recommendations. Jenkins added that a cumulative risk assessment on the pyrethroids is already on EPA’s published “To-Do” list, per FQPA (The Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) was passed in 1996, amending FIFRA and FFDCA to require cumulative risk assessments).
    • Heumann asked if Recommendation #6 should be amended, then, to ask EPA to look into it, rather than asking state agencies to do it.
    • Kirby said he was concerned about using Oregon dollars for national research. Jenkins said that EPA was already planning to evaluate pyrethroids, and may not need such a recommendation to prompt the action. Heumann said that collecting incident data (the activity) would fall to my agency (OPHD). He said he would use current NIOSH funds to conduct the research. Kepler asked what he would do with the data. Heumann said he would report back to the Board. Kepler asked what the Board would do in response; Heumann said he didn’t know. Heumann said he would like 15 minutes on the next PARC Board meeting agenda in order to present the results of his research into nationwide pyrethroid incidents (related to indoor re-entry).
    • Rothlein said she could see no problems with making recommendations 1, 2 and 3 at this time. Heumann said that recommendation #5 stands alone, and could be considered at this time. Kirby suggested omitting the words “its member agencies, to include”. This way, the recommendation is targeted to the specifically named entities. The group agreed. Cooke said that case studies are very helpful in training events. Jenkins said that it makes perfect sense. Mitchell agreed. Cooke said that one of her colleagues at OR-OSHA has the right background to help with the effort. Heumann said, “It looks like we’re recommending #5 at this time. All other recommendations would be tabled.” Foster said that the Florence case will be on the Board’s next agenda, and Mitchell agreed that the issue will not go away. Kepler said the Board should not stay silent on these issues, and Jenkins agreed that it will come up again.
  • Pesticide Stewardship Programs: Rather than discuss the Pudding River Watershed project alone, Foster discussed the framework that has grown since the first such project in Hood River. The projects involve 1) Identification of pesticides in water at a problematic level and 2) voluntary involvement of the user communities to reduce impacts to water from pesticide use. The first such effort was in Hood River working with orchardists. Now the Pudding River project is underway, as well as projects in Walla Walla, The Dalles, the Yamhill Basin and the Clackamas Basin. He said they (DEQ) work with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to identify pesticides in streams, then they involve local water providers, pesticide users and watershed councils to identify possible solutions. He said that the watershed councils are often the “drivers” of the process, identifying and communicating problems, and then facilitating disussion about the appropriate solutions. As part of the Pudding River watershed program, DEQ provided funds and Wilco Farmers (a local pesticide dealer) provided the venue for a pesticide collection event. The goal was to remove old pesticides from barns, sheds and storage facilities in the watershed to reduce the potential for spills or accidents that could contaminate local waterways. Foster said the event was very successful, resulting in the collection of over 13,000 pounds of pesticides. He said that 95% of them were cancelled pesticides (no longer allowed to be used), and 3000 pounds were substances of unknown identity. He said they collected over 3000 pounds of arsenicals (99% lead arsenate, which was commonly used in orchards before it was banned), over 800 pounds of DDT, and over 2100 pounds of dinoseb. (wow!) Foster said that Wilco is interested in expanding the program with DEQ dollars. He said the program is particularly popular (and effective) because it is free, local, and anonymous. Kirby said that having a dealership as the face of the project is probably very helpful, too. Foster said they have a licensed contractor who disposes of the waste. He assumes that some of it is taken to Arlington, and some is incinerated.
  • Dallas community concerns: Agle gave an update on a new complaint from a Dallas area resident last week. The complainant saw an airplane (fixed wing) flying overhead and reported health effects soon afterward. ODA investigated and identified the pilot, who was flying from Newport to Salem logging hours for his pilot’s license with an employee of the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). Knotts said that a timber company is planning some applications in the area around the complainant’s home, and he said “we can expect some calls.” He distributed a map of the application area, with the complainant’s property identified nearby. He said he thinks the forester has been doing hand applications near her property and hiring helicopters to do most of the work. Mitchell said that ODA performs Agricultural Use Observations (AUOs) routinely, and might consider observing the pending applications to determine compliance with applicable laws. Knotts said he would forward contact information for the timber company (and/or the commercial operator?) to Mitchell so that arrangements could be made. Heumann said that TOSC (Technical Outreach Services for Communities) has not returned multiple phone calls; he asked Agle to try contacting them.
  • Pitchfork Rebellion – Nothing new to report, but let’s not forget the community concerns. Knotts said that some local residents have been submitting notifications (provided by ODF for a fee, regarding pending pesticide application) to the Eugene Weekly for publication. He said the fee for notifications is $5.00 per section (one square mile) per year.

New business
  • New incidents/cases (5/17-7/19):
    • UPS case: Agle gave a brief explanation of the case. A ready-to-use herbicide leaked on other packages in route to its destination via UPS (United Parcel Service). One of the “saturated” packages was delivered to a Portland office building that is part of the Department of Homeland Security. Individuals may have been exposed to the package through handling and/or inhalation, and one employee reported symptoms and sought medical attention. UPS was not willing to share information about the leaky package’s origin or destination, the identity of the driver who delivered the package, or other information that would have been useful in the investigation. OR-OSHA conducted an inspection, with closing scheduled for next week. OPHD coordinated efforts with an investigator from the Department of Homeland Security.
    • Suspected residue on produce: Agle gave a brief explanation of the case. Two people reported becoming ill after consuming produce from a roadside stand; they suspected pesticide residue as the cause. Medical records were reviewed by OPHD, and pesticides were considered an unlikely cause of the symptoms. The local health department contacted the grower directly, violating published protocols for this type of investigation and complicating the investigation. Process for Food Safety Investigations in Oregon. This case prompted the agenda item. Mitchell reviewed the appropriate lines of communication for cases like these. ODA has a relationship with road-side stands and other like markets through the licensing process. Their Food Safety Division has sanitarians with existing relationships with licensees, and they are the appropriate entities to contact the entities. When a local health department is aware of a potential food-borne illness or pesticide residue concern, they should contact OPHD; OPHD contacts ODA; ODA contacts the grower/retailer. For more information, or to see this policy in writing, contact Dale Mitchell (503) 986-4646.
    • Lakeview High School: Agle provided a brief explanation of a recent case, wherein a high school student dared another student to eat an unknown substance (ant bait with arsenic trioxide). The student never presented with symptoms, but he was observed at a local hospital as a precaution. This incident took place in the same school district where rodenticides were used mischievously last year, resulting in the incarceration of two students. The school district has adopted a new policy against pesticide use. PARC received one letter from an angry parent who called for more oversight regarding pesticides in schools.
    • Qwest employee: A utility employee called PARC after reading about the Florence case in the newspaper. He said that landlords and property owners often use pesticides at a residence when it changes hands. Therefore, he is often exposed to pesticides when he performs hookup/disconnect activities at residences. He described crawl-spaces that were recently treated, saying he has refused to enter some situations. He asked PARC to consider requiring posting and re-entry intervals. Agle discussed the situation as one that PARC may consider in the future. Agle noted that “re-entry intervals” do not apply to home-use pesticides, because they are described only in the Worker Protection Standard (WPS) that only applies to agricultural workers. Cooke said she spoke with the employee, also, and they talked about his employer’s responsibility to maintain a safe working environment. The Board discussed the challenge in communicating risks when the employer is not aware of the date of application or identity of the products.
  • Agle announced that she accepted a new position as Project Coordinator for the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) starting in August. She thanked the Board for the great experience working with, and learning from them. The Board thanked Agle for her service as PARC Coordinator and wished her well. (Thank you!)
  • Antimicrobials –within or outside of PARC’s purview?
  • Agle said that she had recently been notified about a compelling incident that involved an occupational user of antimicrobial products. She said there was nothing in PARC’s published policies to justify disregarding the complaint, though PARC has never included (considered, investigated, tracked) antimicrobial incidents in the past. Heumann said the Oregon Poison Center doesn’t forward antimicrobial incidents to OPHD, and suggested that PARC consider these on a case-by-case basis. Mitchell said that Washington’s sister program, PIRT (Pesticide Incident Reporting & Tracking) includes antimicrobials in their purview. Will Lackey asked if ODOT would be required to report antimicrobial uses to ODA (under PURS ). Kirby said that the PURS statute specifically omitted antimicrobials from the list of reportable pesticides. Agle explained that antimicrobials are considered “pesticides” under the definition in FIFRA.  Jenkins said that NPIC recently started taking calls (and recording incidents) regarding antimicrobials, and said that the volume has been low in the past year. Cooke said that antimicrobials are not being tracked in the Pesticide Emphasis Program at this time. We don’t know if there are many incidents out there or not. Agle suggested tracking reports as incident reports (IR)s but not cases, although they do meet the case definition. She suggested adding “Antimicrobial exposure” to the list of justifications for not elevating an IR to the level of a case. If a pattern of exposure is found through IR tracking, PARC could consider a different focus in the future. Agle agreed to make the change and redistribute the revised information.
  • Public Comments: No members of the public were still present at the close of the meeting.
  • General Comments: The all-day meeting seemed to be appropriate this time, but “let’s not make a habit of it.” Also, some members had schedule conflicts with the next PARC Board meeting scheduled for September 20; it was rescheduled for September 27 from 9:00 am – noon.