Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) label requirements for soil fumigant products containing chloropicrin, metam sodium and metam potassium are intended to further limit user exposure and increase protection of workers, bystanders and the environment. Growers and applicators should ensure they have the most current version of product labels before applying any fumigant. Detailed instructions can be found on product labels, but requirements include:
- A Fumigation Management Plan (FMP) must be completed prior to the start of any fumigant application. This is an organized, written description of the steps involved to ensure a safe and effective fumigation. The specific requirements for the FMP will be listed on the product label.
- Mandatory Good Agricultural Practices are now required. This standardizes many practices already on existing labels and helps improve the safety and efficacy of soil fumigations. These practices will vary with the product and application method but will include identifying optimal weather conditions, proper soil preparation, requirements for soil moisture and temperature, methods for soil sealing and use of proper application depths.
- DO NOT apply these products when a temperature inversion is occurring or is predicted to occur within 48 hours after application is complete, as fumigant vapours may drift. For more information on how inversions affect drift of pest control products, see www.sprayers101.com/ inversion-operators/.
- DO NOT apply these products if light wind conditions (less than 3 km/h) are forecast to persist for more than 18 consecutive hours from the time the application starts until 48 hours after the application is complete. Calm conditions could indicate a temperature inversion, which could lead to spray drift. See www.sprayers101.com for more information on temperature inversions.
- Any person involved in the use of fumigants is considered a fumigant handler. All fumigant handlers must hold an appropriate pesticide applicator certificate or license recognized by the provincial pesticide regulatory agency where the pesticide application is to occur.
- Entry into fumigant application blocks by any person (other than fumigant handlers, emergency personnel and local, provincial or federal officials performing inspection, sampling or other official duties) is PROHIBITED during the Application Block Period.
- The Application Block Period begins at the start of application and expires at least 5 days after the application is complete. The length of the period will depend on application criteria (e.g., tarped or non-tarped, etc.). The applicator must verbally warn workers of the application.
- Fumigant application signs must be posted on all entrances to the application block. Signs must be posted prior to the start of the application (but no earlier than 24 hours prior to application) and remain posted for the duration of the Application Block Period. Signs must be removed within 3 days of the end of the Application Block Period.
- Only fumigant handlers with an appropriate pesticide applicator certificate or license recognized by the provincial regulatory agency may be in the application block from the start of the application until the Application Block Period expires, and in the buffer zone during the Buffer Zone Period.
- A buffer zone must be established for all fumigant applications. A buffer zone is an area around the perimeter of the fumigated area that extends equally in all directions. The size of the buffer zone area will depend on the product and application criteria.
- Only fumigant handlers with appropriate certification may enter the buffer zone during the Buffer Zone Period, the 48-hour period following application. All non-handlers, including field workers, residents and pedestrians must be excluded from the buffer zone during the Buffer Zone Period, except for transit (e.g., vehicular or bicycle traffic).
- The size of the buffer zone will vary with application method, rate and field size. Product labels will include tables to determine the required buffer zone distance.
- Buffer zones cannot include any residential area or occupied building, outdoor residential areas (e.g., lawns, gardens, play areas) or other areas that may be occupied during the 48-hour period following application.
- An emergency preparedness plan will be required when residences or businesses are located in close proximity to the outer edge of the buffer zone.