EDB and the Agriculture Community: A Background Discussion

EDB is being removed from major agricultural uses because of concerns about possible adverse effects on human health. Regulatory actions to remove EDB from the food system will have impacts on the agricultural community. Uses of EDB in agriculture, regulatory actions to remove EDB from the food system quickly, and possible impacts of those regulatory actions on domestic and international markets are discussed.

/4'.212: cq- 5 q 5 ~ N R , +-- I _ 84-545 ENR ' Congressional Research Service The Library of Congress C 0 z 3 Washington, D.C. 20540 EDB TAE AGRICULTURE WMIUNITY: A BACKGROUND DISCIJSSION J e f f r e y Zinn S p e c i a l i s t i n N a t u r a l Resources P o l i c y Environment and N a t u r a l R e s o u r c e s P o l i c y D i v i s i o n F e b r u a r y 9 , 1984 ( u p d a t e d Xarch 1 9 , 1 9 8 4 ) ABSTRACT EDB is being removed from major a g r i c u l t u r a l uses because of concerns about p o s s i b l e adverse e f f e c t s on human h e a l t h . Regulatory a c t i o n s t o re- move EDB from t h e food system w i l l have impacts on t h e a g r i c u l t u r a l community. Uses of EDB i n a g r i c u l t u r e , r e g u l a t o r y a c t i o n s t o remove EDB from t h e food system q u i c k l y , and p o s s i b l e impacts of t h o s e r e g u l a t o r y a c t i o n s on domestic and i n t e r n a t i o n a l markets a r e d i s c u s s e d . EBD AND THE AGRICULTURE COMMUNITY: A BACKGROUND DISCUSSION Introduction The Environmental P r o t e c t i o n Agency (EPA) h a s t a k e n a c t i o n s t o l i m i t a l l major a g r i c u l t u r a l u s e s of e t h y l e n e dibromide i n t h e f u t u r e . On September 30, 1983, EPA suspended u s e of EDB as a s o i l f u m i g a n t . I n a second a c t i o n , EPA announced t h e emergency s u s p e n s i o n of u s e of EDB a s a fumigant f o r raw g r a i n and m i l l i n g machinery on F e b r u a r y 3 , 1984, e f f e c t i v e March 4 , 1984. And most r e c e n t l y , March 2 , 1984, EPA suspended t h e l a s t major u s e of EDB, t o fumigate c i t r u s f r u i t , e f f e c t i v e September 1984 and set a n i n t e r i m t o l e r a n c e of 30 p a r t s p e r b i l l i o n f o r t h e e d i b l e p o r t i o n s of t h e f r u i t . L/ A t i s s u e now i s not whether EDB s h o u l d be removed from t h e food system, b u t how q u i c k l y i t should be t a k e n o u t . EPA h a s a g r e e d , based on i t s own assessment of p o s s i b l e r i s k s , t h a t EDB i s a t h r e a t t o human h e a l t h . 2/ S t a t e o f f i c i a l s and e n v i r o n m e n t a l groups have r a i s e d c o n c e r n s , p u b l i c i z e d i n numerous media a c c o u n t s , about r e l a t i o n s h i p s between EDB r e s i d u e s i n a g r i c u l t u r a l p r o d u c t s , and r e g u l a t o r y e f f o r t s t o minimize and e l i m i n a t e t h e impact of t h i s c o n t a m i n a t i o n on human h e a l t h . For t h e a g r i c u l t u r e community, two g e n e r a l q u e s t i o n s a r e of g r e a t e s t concern; how can f a r m e r s , p r o c e s s o r s and d i s t r i b u t o r s r e p l a c e EDB w h i l e p r o t e c t i n g t h e i r p r o d u c t s , and what approaches s h o u l d be t a k e n t o r e d u c e c o n c e n t r a t i o n s a l r e a d y i d e n t i f i e d i n food and food p r o d u c t s t o a c c e p t a b l e l e v e l s ? l./ Mangoes and some very minor use commodities a r e n o t i n c l u d e d under t h e arch 2 , announcement. EPA p l a n s t o propose t o l e r a n c e s f o r t h e s e commodities a t a future date. -2/ T h i s view i s summerized i n EPA P o s i t i o n Document 4 p u b l i s h e d i n September, 1983. Recently, congressional interest in EDB has heightened in response to different actions in various States to limit EDB residues in food, along with the perception that EPA has not moved rapidly enough to control this chemical. Congressional interest centers on ascertaining the degree of the health hazard, assessing EPA's regulatory attempts to control that hazard, and determining how that response might affect the agriculture sector. A number of congressional committees have conducted briefings or oversight hearings in the past two months to learn more about the EDB problem and to better define the issues. This provides some background information on both the uses of EDB and the effects of EPAts regulatory actions on the agriculture community. Some questions addressed in this paper include: 1. How will the regulatory controls being placed on future domestic EDB uses in agriculture and food processing affect the distribution and sale of food products contaminated or tainted by EDB? 21 2. What are the costs, benefits and limitations associated with alternatives to EDB? 3. How is EDB used and regulated in other countries; how will regulatory decisions in this country affect U.S. agricultural exports and imports? 4. How much do contamination tests cost, who pays for them, and how long do they take to complete? Two other CRS reports discuss other issues surrounding the EDB controversy. A CRS report by Michael Simpson entitled Ethylene Dibromide (84-578 SPR) provides information about some of the health impacts of EDB, as well as alternative chemical fumigants. A CRS report by Jim Aidala entitled Ethylene Dibromide: Regulatory Framework discusses past and future controls over the use of EDB. 3/ Contaminated means in concentrations greater than EPA guidelines, whiletainted means in concentrations smaller than EPA guidelines. Background EDB is a hydrocarbon p e s t i c i d e . annually i n t h i s country. Over 300 m i l l i o n pounds a r e produced An e s t i m a t e d 20 m i l l i o n pounds h a s been used a n n u a l l y a s a p e s t i c i d e and fumigant i n r e c e n t y e a r s . The remainder i s used a s a n anti-knock a d d i t i v e i n l e a d e d g a s o l i n e . EDB is used f o r s i x purposes i n a g r i c u l t u r e . Four of t h e s i x u s e s have been i m p o r t a n t t o a g r i c u l t u r e ; f o r s o i l f u m i g a t i o n , f o r raw g r a i n f u m i g a t i o n , f o r s p o t f u m i g a t i o n of m i l l i n g machinery, and f o r q u a r a n t i n e f u m i g a t i o n of c i t r u s f r u i t s and papayas. The o t h e r two u s e s , f u m i g a t i o n of f e l l e d l o g s and b e e h i v e s , have been l e s s i m p o r t a n t . - The u s e s a r e d e t a i l e d below. The s t a t u s of each u s e and a l t e r n a t i v e t o EDB are a l s o d i s c u s s e d . 1. S o i l Fumigation. S o i l f u m i g a t i o n h a s been t h e main u s e of EDB. 4/ More t h a n 90 p e r c e n t of t h e a g r i c u l t u r a l u s e , by w e i g h t , h a s been a s a s o i l fumigant. P A h a l t e d t h i s u s e on September 30, 1983 by i s s u i n g a n emergency s u s p e n s i o n which immediately t e r m i n a t e d t h e sale and d i s t r i b u t i o n of ED3 a s a s o i l fumigant. ( E x i s t i n g s t o c k s on hand were allowed t o be u s e d . ) A s a s o i l fumigant, D B was used p r i m a r i l y t o c o n t r o l nematodes, m o s t l y i n the Southeast. Discovery of EDB r e s i d u e s i n groundwater i n a r e a s where it had been used a s a s o i l fumigant was t h e major r e a s o n c i t e d by EPA f o r h a l t i n g use of EDB f o r t h i s purpose. Residues have been found i n groundwater i n F l o r d i a , C a l i f o r n i a , Hawaii and Georgia. -4 / Fumigants a r e f o r m u l a t e d a s s o l i d s o r l i q u i d s but a r e e f f e c t i v e a s g a s e s . S o i l fumigants p e n e t r a t e t h e s o i l t o c o n t r o l s o i l i n s e c t s and nematodes. Loss of EDB a s a s o i l fumigant may be a problem f o r a g r i c u l t u r e . Some a l t e r n a t i v e chemicals have a l r e a d y been suspended f o r r e a s o n s s i m i l i a r t o Other chemical o p t i o n s which a r e b e l i e v e d t o be less of a t h r e a t t o EDB. human h e a l t h a r e , however, a l s o l e s s e f f e c t i v e . Non-chemical o p t i o n s , such a s a combination of c r o p r o t a t i o n and s p e c i f i c t i l l a g e p r a c t i c e s , may be h e l p f u l , b u t t h e i r e f f e c t i v e n e s s w i l l be l i m i t e d unless f a r m e r s c a n be convinced t o adopt them. of p e s t problems. S t i l l a n o t h e r concern is t h e c o n t i n u i n g e v o l u t i o n For example, t h e c y c s t nematode, which f i r s t appeared i n 1980 is now a s e r i o u s p e s t a f f e c t i n g soybean p r o d u c t i o n i n some s e c t i o n s of t h e s o u t h e a s t . The e f f e c t i v e n e s s of a l t e r n a t i v e s t o EDB on t h i s p e s t a r e not y e t c l e a r . 2. Raw G r a i n Fumigation. A second major u s e of EDB has been t o fumi- g a t e unprocessed g r a i n i n s t o r a g e . EDB i s p a r t i c u l a r l y e f f e c t i v e f o r t h i s u s e because i t p e n e t r a t e s t h e s h e l l of t h e g r a i n and d e s t r o y s t h e e g g s of pests. EPA o r d e r e d t h e t e r m i n a t i o n of t h e s a l e o r u s e of EDB a s a fumigant f o r g r a i n , e f f e c t i v e March 3 , 1984. A p o r t i o n of t h e 7 . 7 b i l l i o n b u s h e l s of U.S. g r a i n c u r r e n t l y i n s t o r a g e h a s been t r e a t e d w i t h EBB o r has been mixed with treated grain. E s t i m a t e s of t h e amount of g r a i n t a i n t e d v a r y from 2 p e r c e n t t o more t h a n 50 p e r c e n t of t h e s t o r e d s u p p l y (0.15 b i l l i o n b u s h e l s t o 3.9 b i l l i o n b u s h e l s ) . Mixing t h e fumigated g r a i n w i t h o t h e r g r a i n could d i l u t e t h e c o n c e n t r a t i o n b u t would t a i n t a l a r g e r p o r t i o n of t h e s t o r e d g r a i n . A l t e r n a t i v e fumigants such a s phostoxine (aluminum phosphide) a r e a v a i l a b l e . These a l t e r n a t i v e s , however, a r e g e n e r a l l y c o n s i d e r e d t o be l e s s e f f e c t i v e t h a n EDB, and many are s u s p e c t e d of a d v e r s e l y a f f e c t i n g human h e a l t h . 61 5 / Phone c o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h D r . Richard P a r r y , c o o r d i n a t o r of t h e USDA ?;ask F o r c e on EDB a l t e r n a t i v e s , February 3 , 1984. -61 Ibid. 3. Spot Fumigation of M i l l i n g Machinery. g a t e m i l l i n g machinery i n some m i l l s . EDB h a s a l s o been used t o fumi- Most m i l l e r s v o l u n t a r i l y s t o p p e d u s i n g EDB by September 30, 1983 because of growing p u b l i c i t y about i t s a d v e r s e a f f e c t s on human h e a l t h . 3 , 1984. The EPA t e r m i n a t e d t h e u s e of EDB i n m i l l s , e f f e c t i v e March EDB u s e has v a r i e d from m i l l t o m i l l . Modern m i l l s w i t h newer equipment and t e c h n o l o g i e s t o p r o c e s s g r a i n s do n o t need f u m i g a t i o n t o meet h e a l t h s t a n d a r d s . But, a number of o l d e r m i l l s t h a t l a c k modern equipment do need t o u s e f u m i g a t i o n . G e n e r a l l y , t h e m i l l s which used EDB tended t o be s m a l l e r and many of them baked s p e c i a l t y products. While millers have v o l u n t a r i l y stopped u s i n g EDB, i t s l o s s may have a n impact on o l d e r m i l l s . The most, e f f e c t i v e a l t e r n a t i v e t o EDB f o r c o n t r o l l i n g p e s t s i s steam t r e a t m e n t . It may be e x p e n s i v e t o modify o l d e r f a c i l i t i e s t o make steam t r e a t m e n t p o s s i b l e . It i s t o o e a r l y t o d e t e r m i n e what e f f e c t t h e l o s s of ERB w i l l have on m i l l o p e r a t i o n s , e s p e c i a l l y i n o l d e r f a c i l i t i e s where a c c e p t a b l e s a n i t a r y c o n d i t i o n s a r e more d i f f i c u l t t o m a i n t a i n . 7 / 4. Q u a r a n t i n e Fumigation. I n a d d i t i o n , EDB h a s been used a s a fumig- 8/ g a n t t o c o n t r o l t h e s p r e a d of f r u i t f l i e s i n t h e s h i p p i n g of c i t r u s f r u i t s . Approximately 50,000 pounds, o r l e s s t h a n 1 p e r c e n t of EDB used i n a g r i c u l t u r e was used t o fumigate c i t r u s i n 1983, a c c o r d i n g t o t h e EPA. Approximately 2 p e r c e n t of t h e f r e s h c i t r u s f r u i t consumed d o m e s t i c a l l y i s f u m i g a t e d , a c c o r d i n g t o EPA. Four f r u i t f l i e s have been d e c l a r e d q u a r a n t i n e p e s t s by t h e Department of A g r i c u l t u r e (USDA); t h r e e of them ( M e d i t e r r a n e a n , O r i e n t a l and Melon) a r e l i m i t e d t o Hawaii. 9/ -7/ -8/ Ibid. EDB has a l s o been used t o f u m i g a t e some v e g e t a b l e s . 9 / The Medfly has been i n t r o d u c e d i n t o t h i s c o u n t r y 4 t i m e s s i n c e 1975. But o n o n l y one o c c a s s i o n , i n C a l i f o r n i a , d i d i t g e t e s t a b l i s h e d . The c o s t of e r a d i c t i o n was approximately $100 m i l l i o n . The f o u r t h , t h e Mexican f r u i t f l y , i s found i n Texas. The USDA q u a r e n t i n e means t h a t f r u i t s h i p p e d i n t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s must e i t h e r be c e r t i f i e d t o be f r e e of t h e p e s t o r be t r e a t e d t o remove t h e p e s t . A f i f t h f r u i t f l y , t h e C a r i b b e a n f r u i t f l y i s found i n F l o r i d a and i s n o t q u a r a n t i n e d by USDA. But Texas, A r i z o n a , C a l i f o r n i a and J a p a n have q u a r a n t i n e d t h i s p e s t , s o any c i t r u s s h i p p e d from F l o r i d a t o t h e s e S t a t e s o r J a p a n must e i t h e r be c e r t i f i e d t o be f r e e of p e s t s o r be t r e a t e d . F l o r i d a is p h a s i n g o u t domestic u s e of EDB t o meet q u a r a n t i n e r e q u i r e ments, r e p l a c i n g i t w i t h m e t h y l bromide. The S t a t e i s working o u t agreements f o r u s i n g t h i s d i f f e r e n t fumigant w i t h Texas, Arizona and C a l i f o r n i a . These changes have o c c u r r e d s o r a p i d l y t h a t EPA A d m i n i s t r a t o r Ruckelshaus was a b l e t o s t a t e , on March 2 , 1984, t h a t ; " t h e u s e of EDB on c i t r u s i n t h e - United S t a t e s h a s e s s e n t i a l l y c e a s e d " . 10/ A l t e r n a t i v e s t o EDB a s a q u a r a n t i n e fumigant v a r y w i t h t h e p r o d u c t ( f o r example, g r a p e f r u i t s and o r a n g e s , and e a r l y and l a t e s e a s o n v a r i e t i e s ) and d i s t a n c e t o market. For example, f o r F l o r i d a g r a p e f r u i t s h i p p e d t o J a p a n , c o l d s t o r a g e t r e a t m e n t , a p r o c e s s t h a t r e q u i r e s 28 d a y s , i s e f f e c t i v e . But t h i s t r e a t m e n t i s n o t u s e f u l f o r b r i e f e r i n t e r s t a t e s h i p m e n t s . Chemical a l t e r n a t i v e s , such a s methyl bromide and p h o s t o x i n e , a r e a v a i l a b l e , b u t may be less e f f e c t i v e . S t a f f a t t h e US Department of A g r i c u l t u r e (USDA) b e l i e v e none of t h e s e methods a r e r e a d y t o implement t h i s g r a p e f r u i t s e a s o n , b u t a n a c c e p t a b l e approach s h o u l d be ready by n e x t season-in - t h e f a l l of 1984. 11/ The EDB c o n t r o v e r s y may bypass Texas g r a p e f r u i t p r o d u c e r s t h i s y e a r . The c o l d weather of December 1983 and J a n u a r y 1984, which k i l l e d much of 10/ S t a t e m e n t by William Ruckelshaus on a c t i o n s t a k e n t o c o n t r o l r e s i EDB on c i t r u s and papayas, March 2 , 1984, p.2. 11/ - Phone c o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h Dr. Richard P a r r y , February 4 , 1984. dues t h e c r o p , a l s o reduced t h e Mexican f r u i t f l y p o p u l a t i o n . Mexico and t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s a r e now a t t e m p t i n g t o c o n t r o l t h i s f r u i t f l y by a p p l y i n g chemical t r e a t m e n t s t o e r a d i c a t e i t s p o p u l a t i o n n o r t h of a n e c o l o g i c a l b a r r i e r i n N o r t h e r n Mexico. I f t h i s e f f o r t i s s u c c e s s f u l , Texas c i t r u s w i l l not r e q u i r e fumigation f o r f r u i t f l i e s i n t h e f u t u r e . Another f r u i t b e i n g t e s t e d f o r a l t e r n a t i v e t r e a t m e n t s i s papaya, grown i n Hawaii. The most promising o p t i o n t o EDB is a c o l d t r e a t m e n t t h a t r e q u i r e s s e v e r a l days t o be e f f e c t i v e . When t h i s f r u i t i s s h i p p e d by b o a t , t h e t r e a t m e n t h a s t i m e t o work, b u t when s h i p p e d by a i r , s u c h a s t o e a s t c o a s t m a r k e t s , f a s t e r t r e a t m e n t s a r e needed. S h i p p e r s a r e now c o o p e r a t i n g - w i t h USDA t o t e s t a wider r a n g e of a l t e r n a t i v e s . 1 2 / 5 and 6. Other Fumigation Uses: The o t h e r two a g r i c u l t u r a l u s e s of EDB, t o k i l l b a r k b e e t l e s i n f e l l e d l o g s and t o k i l l wax moths i n b e e h i v e s , a r e minimal i n b o t h volume of c h e m i c a l used and p o t e n t i a l f o r impact on human health. EPA h a s c a n c e l l e d u s e of EDB i n f e l l e d l o g s , a d e c i s i o n t h e S t a t e of Colorado i s a p p e a l i n g . EPA h a s n o t c a n c e l l e d E D B ' s u s e i n b e e h i v e s , b u t h a s r e q u i r e d some l a b e l changes. R e g u l a t o r y C o n t r o l s on EDB Use Background i n f o r m a t i o n on t h e development of r e g u l a t o r y c o n t r o l s on t h e u s e s of EDB i s d i s c u s s e d in t h e CRS p a p e r by J i m A i d a l a . It is i m p o r t a n t t o remember t h a t w h i l e t h e Environmental P r o t e c t i o n Agency h a s recommended s t a n d a r d s f o r EDB, S t a t e s a r e f r e e t o set s t r i c t e r s t a n d a r d s . S e v e r a l S t a t e s , i n c l u d i n g M a s s a c h u s e t t s , C a l i f o r n i a , Texas and New York have e s t a b l i s h e d , o r a r e c o n s i d e r i n g more s t r i n g e n t s t a n d a r d s t o EDB l e v e l s 121 Development of A l t e r n a t i v e T e c h n o l o g i e s f o r Q u a r a n t i n e Treatment of F r u i t s and V e g e t a b l e s . Report p r e p a r e d by USDA a t t h e r e q u e s t of Congress, February 1 5 , 1 9 8 4 . p. 12-17. i n m i l l e d g r a i n p r o d u c t s , s u c h a s c a k e and hush puppy mixes, and r e a d y to-eat p r o d u c t s , such as c o o k i e s and b r e a d . A s u r v e y of s t a t e s p u b l i s h e d i n t h e February 8 , 1984 e d i t i o n of USA Today r e p o r t s t h a t 10 states have banned c e r t a i n goods t a i n t e d w i t h EDB. Another 29 s t a t e s have a c c e p t e d EPA's g u i d e l i n e s f o r maximum EDB c o n c e n t r a t i o n f o r grain-based foods. These g u i d e l i n e s a r e 900 p a r t s per b i l l i o n i n raw g r a i n s , 150 p a r t s p e r b i l l i o n i n m i l l e d g r a i n and 30 p a r t s p e r b i l l i o n i n ready-to-eat products. On F e b r u a r y 25, 1984, s i x n o r t h e a s t e r n s t a t e s (New York, New J e r s e y , C o n n e c t i c u t , Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont) announced more s t r i n g e n t p e r m i s s a b l e l e v e l s f o r EDB; 50 p a r t s per b i l l i o n f o r m i l l e d g r a i n , 10 p a r t s p e r b i l l i o n f o r ready-to-eat p r o d u c t s , and z e r o t o l e r a n c e i n baby f o o d s . U n t i l r e c e n t l y , o p i n i o n s on t h e d e g r e e t o which t h e c o u n t r y ' s g r a i n s and c i t r u s have been t a i n t e d by EDB have v a r i e d . Generally, groups r e p r e s e n t i n g food p r o c e s s o r s and d i s t r i b u t o r s have minimized t h e e x t e n t of t h e problem. The Grocery M a n u f a c t u r e r s of America r e p o r t s t h a t e x t e n s i v e sampling ind i c a t e s an a v e r a g e EDB r e s i d u e s of 2 p a r t s p e r b i l l i o n o r less. s/A s a r e s u l t , t h e y have argued t h a t t h e c u r r e n t r i s k s a r e n o t g r e a t and w i l l cont i n u e t o d e c l i n e , so s t a n d a r d s a r e n o t n e c e s s a r y . Meanwhile, e n v i r o n m e n t a l groups and consumer a c t i v i s t s have emphasized t h a t EDB r e s i d u e s a r e b o t h wides p r e a d and s e r i o u s , and no l e v e l should be c o n s i d e r e d " s a f e . " They have pushed f o r s t a n d a r d s more s t r i n g e n t t h a n t h o s e recommended by EPA. EPA's g u i d e l i n e s can be viewed a s a compromise between t h e s e two p o i n t s of view. A r a p i d l y growing number of samples t a k e n around t h e c o u n t y a r e y i e l d i n g more i n f o r m a t i o n about t h e d e g r e e t o which f o o d s a r e t a i n t e d . The r e l a t i o n s h i p 13/ I n f o r m a t i o n p r e s e n t e d a t a S e n a t e A g r i c u l t u r e Committee b r i e f i n g , ~ a n u a 62 4 , 1984. between EDB and t h e American d i e t c a n be viewed i n two ways, based on t h i s a d d i t i o a a l information. F i r s t , t h e t y p i c a l American d i e t p r o b a b l y c o n t a i n s a b o u t 3 p a r t s p e r b i l l i o n of EDB i n g r a i n p r o d u c t s , a c c o r d i n g t o i n f o r m a t i o n provided by a s t a f f member r e p r e s e n t i n g EPA a t a S e n a t e A g r i c u l t u r e Committee b r i e f i n g , h e l d on F e b r u a r y 8 , 1984. According t o t h i s o f f i c i a l , t h i s l e v e l w i l l d e c r e a s e t o z e r o i n t h r e e t o f i v e y e a r s a s EDB u s e s t o p s and t a i n t e d p r o d u c t s a r e g r a d u a l l y consumed. EPA has concluded t h a t t h e i n c r e m e n t a l r i s k t o human h e a l t h d u r i n g t h e time p e r i o d when EDB is phased o u t w i l l be e x t r e m e l y small. Second, samples show t h a t w h i l e a l a r g e p o r t i o n of t h e g r a i n i n s t o r a g e is t a i n t e d w i t h EDB, o n l y a s m a l l p o r t i o n of t h a t g r a i n e x c e e d s EPA's recommended g u i d e l i n e s . mixes and ready-to-eat I n a d d i t i o n , o n l y a small p o r t i o n of p r o d u c t s a l s o exceed EPA's recommended g u i d e l i n e s . EPA has now compiled d a t a from s e v e r a l thousand samples examined by Fede r a l a g e n c i e s and t h e i r c o n t r a c t o r s , S t a t e s , and t h e Grocery M a n u f a c t u r e r s of America. The d a t a show t h a t about 2 p e r c e n t of t h e t o t a l g r a i n i n s t o r a g e exceeds t h e raw g r a i n g u i d e l i n e of 900 p a r t s p e r b i l l i o n . Con- c e n t r a t i o n s i n s t o r e d g r a i n can be reduced t o a c c e p t a b l e l e v e l s by h e a t i n g , 14/ by a e r a t i n g , o r by j u s t l e t t i n g i t s i t ( t h e g a s s l o w l y d i s s i p a t e s . ) About 1 p e r c e n t of t h e mixes c o n t a i n i n g wheat f l o u r and 7 p e r c e n t of t h e mixes c o n t a i n i n g c o r n f l o u r exceed t h e g u i d e l i n e of 150 p a r t s p e r b i l l i o n . 14/ Some c r i t i c s concerned about t h e p o s s i b l e e f f e c t of EPA's r e g u l a t o r y a c t i o n s on t h e s u p p l y of s t o r e d g r a i n have s u g g e s t e d t h a t contaminated g r a i n could be mixed w i t h o t h e r g r a i n t o reduce a v e r a g e c o n c e n t r a t i o n s of EDB below EPAts g u i d e l i n e s . Under t h e Food and Drug A d m i n i s t r a t i o n ' s g u i d e l i n e s f o r good manufacturing p r a c t i c e s , p r o c e s s o r s a r e p r o h i b i t e d from mixing l o t s found t o be " a d u l t e r a t e d " ( e x c e e d i n g a l l o w a b l e t o l e r a n c e s ) t o reduce concent r a t i o n s of r e g u l a t e d s u b s t a n c e s . Only 1 to 2 percent of the tested ready-to-eat products exceed the guideline of 30 parts per billion. The fact that about 64 percent of the wheat in ready-to-eat products is used in manufacturing white bread, a process which appears to remove all detectable quantities of EDB, may partially account for this low percentage of contamination. Alternatives to EDB The Department of Agriculture is exploring alternatives for the four major agricultural uses of EDB, while concentrating on fumigation of fruits and vegetables. It submitted a study of alternative fruit and vegetable fumigants to the House Agriculture Committee in response to provisions inserted into the Agriculture Department's Appropriations legislation in the fall of 1983. The report, Development of Alternative Technologies for Quarantine Treatment of Fruits and Vegetables, was submitted to Congress in February, 1984 and published by the Committee. Many of the alternatives examined in their report were discussed earlier in this paper. To summarize these discussions, other chemicals are likely to have impacts similiar to EDB on human health and may be less effective as fumigants. The CRS white paper, Ethylene Dibromide, by Michael Simpson reports on acute and long-term effects of four alternatives; methyl bromide, carbon disulfide, carbon tetrachloride, and ethylene dicloride. Some other effective treatments require extended storage times under precise conditions. One other treatment receiving consider- able attention is irradiation. This treatment, strongly supported by the Food and Drug Administration as a long term alternative to EDB, is expensive. In addition, wide-spread use of irradiation for fruits and vegetables would not be available for 3 to 5 years, according to a spokesperson for this industry. 15/ J A 15/ Issues surrounding irpdiation are discussed in USDAts paper on Alternatives, submitted to Congress February 15, 1984, p. 20. B i l l s t o promote u s e of i r r a d i a t i o n were i n t r o d u c e d l a t e i n t h e f i r s t s e s s i o n i n both houses (H.R. 4555/Morrison of Washington and S.Z254/Gorton). The USDA a l t e r n a t i v e s r e p o r t i n c l u d e s d e t a i l e d e s t i m a t e s of t r e a t m e n t c o s t s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h s e v e r a l of t h e a l t e r n a t i v e s f o r t r e a t i n g g r a p e f r u i t and papaya. Use of EDB i n Other C o u n t r i e s Concerns have been e x p r e s s e d about c o n t a m i n a t i o n by EDB of c e r t a i n food p r o d u c t s imported i n t o t h i s c o u n t r y . EDB i s used by a number of o t h e r n a t i o n s i n c l u d i n g most t r o p i c a l and s u b t r o p i c a l e x p o r t e r s of c i t r u s and f r u i t s where About 7 p e r c e n t o r 40 m i l l i o n pounds of t h e c i t r u s f r u i t f l i e s a r e found. consumed i n t h i s c o u n t r y is imported, a c c o r d i n g t o USDA. EPA, i n t h e i r March 2 , 1984 announcement, s t a t e d t h a t about 50 samples of imported c i t r u s c o n t a i n e d from 1 . 3 t o 2200 p a r t s p e r b i l l i o n i n t h e e d i b l e p o r t i o n of t h e f r u i t . Imports now must meet t h e i n t e r i m t o l e r a n c e of 30 p a r t s p e r b i l l i o n . United S t a t e s a g r i c u l t u r a l e x p o r t s c o u l d a l s o be a f f e c t e d by t h e domest i c c o n t r o v e r s y a b o u t EDB c o n t a m i n a t i o n . One major i m p o r t e r of U.S. g r a i n , t h e USSR, has i n q u i r e d about t h e e x t e n t of t h e EDB c o n t a m i n a t i o n problem. A second e x p o r t concern i s t h e c i t r u s q u a r a n t i n e requirement of J a p a n . If f u m i g a t i o n w i t h EDB is p r o h i b i t e d , J a p a n c o u l d r e f u s e t o buy F l o r i d a c i t r u s and a n e x p o r t market w i t h a n e s t i m a t e d v a l u e of $28 m i l l i o n c o u l d be l o s t t o Florida c i t r u s producers. Most of t h e c i t r u s e x p o r t e d t o Japan i s g r a p e f r u i t . About 18 p e r c e n t of F l o r i d a ' s f r e s h g r a p e f r u i t , 293 m i l l i o n pounds i n t h e 1982/83 s e a s o n , w a s shipped t o J a p a n . a v a i l a b l e from Japan. No d a t a on EDB l e v e l s i n e x p o r t e d c i t r u s i s However fumigated f r u i t s have averaged over 200 p a r t s p e r b i l l i o n of EDB when r e c e i v e d i n C a l i f o r n i a from F l o r i d a o v e r a f i v e y e a r (1977-82), a c c o r d i n g t o S t a t e o f f i c i a l s , and t h e h i g h e s t sample exceeded 5,000 p a r t s per b i l l i o n . EPA s t a t e d , i n t h e i r March 2 , 1984 announcement, t h a t e x p o r t s from t h i s c o u n t r y c o u l d s t i l l be fumigated w i t h EDB t o meet t h e r e q u i r e m e n t s of t h e i m p o r t i n g c o u n t r y . D e s p i t e t h e s e c o n c e r n s e x p r e s s e d by J a p a n and t h e USSR, t h e d o m e s t i c c o n t r o v e r s y and r e g u l a t o r y a c t i o n s appear t o be having l i t t l e impact a t t h i s time on i n t e r n a t i o n a l markets f o r U.S. commodities a f f e c t e d by EDB. Testing f o r ED3 T e s t i n g f o r EDB is a s t a n d a r d i z e d p r o c e s s t h a t any t o x i c o l o g y l a b o r a t o r y w i t h modern equipment should be a b l e t o u n d e r t a k e . The s t a n d a r d EDB t e s t r e q u i r e s about t h r e e days and c o s t s $200 d o l l a r s o r less. T e s t s of mixes b e f o r e and a f t e r p r e p a r a t i o n a r e more e x p e n s i v e ; EPA s t a t e d a t a b r i e f i n g -.. f o r t h e S e n a t e A g r i c u l t u r e Committee t h a t i t r e c e n t l y p a i d $100,000 t o have 40 samples t e s t e d . 16,' The F e d e r a l government and over 40 S t a t e s have been t e s t i n g f o r EDB. F e d e r a l and s t a t e a g e n c i e s have l i m i t e d f u n d i n g a v a i l a b l e t o t e s t f o r EDB. Because of growing p u b l i c c o n c e r n a b o u t EDB, a g e n c i e s a r e d i v e r t i n g funds i n t e n d e d f o r o t h e r purposes t o t e s t f o r EDB. I n addition, t h e h i g h p r i o r i t y g i v e n t o t e s t i n g f o r EDB h a s f o r c e d s t a t e s t o d e l a y o t h e r food-testing a c t i v i t i e s . EPA and Food and Drug A d m i n i s t r a t i o n r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s , w h i l e b r i e f i n g t h e S e n a t e A g r i c u l t u r e Committee s t a f f , a l s o s t a t e d t h a t t h e y do not f o r e s e e a s h o r t a g e of l a b o r a t o r y f a c i l i t i e s o r t e s t i n g equipment s o any l i m i t a t i o n on t e s t i n g w i l l be caused by l a c k of funds. A s more i s l e a r n e d about EDB, t e s t s can be c o n c e n t r a t e d i n c r e a s i n g l y on t h o s e t y p e s of p r o d u c t s t h a t a r e found t o most o f t e n c o n t a i n b e v e l s t h a t exceed F e d e r a l guidelines. T h i s i n f o r m a t i o n should b e t t e r e n a b l e r e g u l a t i n g a g e n c i e s t o determine which brands and b a t c h e s should be removed from market s h e l v e s . 16/ Comment by EPA s t a f f i n r e s p o n s e t o q u e s t i o n s . ~ e n a t r ~ ~ r i c u l t Committee, ure February 8 , 1984. B r i e f i n g h e l d by Summarx Federal agencies, States and interest groups such as the Grocery Manufacturers of America are all pressing for resolution of the EDB issue. Congress does not currently have any legislative proposals on this issue, but has been responding to constituent concerns and confusion with oversight hearings and briefings. EDB in foods, alternatives to More information on amounts of EDB, costs of alternative solutions to the EDB problem and EDB in the world's food supply is rapidly becoming available. Congress will doubtless continue to monitor this information as well as EPA regulatory decisions to determine if the public's health is being protected in a timely manner while disruptions to the production, distribution and sale of food are minimized.