The fungicide Captan has long been a mainstay of disease-control programs for growers of apples, small fruits, and berries. Sevral years ago, EPA put Captan went through its Special Reviewprocess to better assess its health risks as well as its benefits. Captan emerged from Special Review with a new restriction on itslabel: a 4-day reentry interval. The reentry interval meant thatworkers could no reenter a Captan-sprayed field for 4 days unlessthey wore protective clothing (long-sleeved shirt, long pants, andnonabsorbent boots and gloves). This restriction, designed toprotect the health of workers, greatly reduced the usefulness ofCaptan to many fruit growers, particularly if they applied it closeor during the harvest period.
The 4-day reentry interval was determined somewhat arbitrarilydue to a lack of data on worker exposure. Subsequent studies onsome crops have indicated that the interval didn't need to be solengthy.
As a result, EPA very recently (summer 1994) approved changingthe Captan label for strawberries to shorten the reentry intervalto 24 hr. This means that workers, pick-your-own customers, andanyone else can re-enter a Captan-sprayed field only 24 hr afterspraying rather than 4 days after spraying. This change shouldmake it much more practical for growers to use Captan duringharvest if the need arises. The new label will be especiallywelcome to pick-your-own operators and those who grow day-neutralstrawberries.
Can you spray Captan according to the new regulations if youhave bags of Captan with the old (4-day reentry) label? The answeris yes - but not until you are in possession of the new, 24-hrlabel. A representative of Zeneca Ag Products, manufacturer ofCaptan, indicated that the company that will be the exclusivemarketer of Captan, Micro-Flo Co., will issue the supplementallabels in fall 1994.
They should be available in plenty of time for the 1995 strawberryseason.
It is also possible that the 4-day reentry period for Captanon apples will be modified, but no final action has been taken yet.
This article originally appeared in the September 16, 1994 issue, p. 139.