Raleigh, N.C.-based Adama plans to market its reformulated pesticides that contain low levels of volatile organic compounds under the Voxien brand umbrella.

The reformulations were prompted by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and its effort to have the state comply with the federal Clean Air Act.

As a result, Adama—formerly known as MANA—introduced Abba Ultra, a low-VOC formulation of abamectin, and Vulcan, a low-VOC formulation of chlorpyrifos, says Herb Young, brand leader.

While some manufacturers transitioned to water-based formulations, Adama stuck with an oil base, substituting vegetable oil for the former petroleum oil, he says.

Not only does the new chemistry meet the air regulations, but the products still produce a fuming action when applied—a trait that many growers have relied upon.

“And we’ve been able to achieve a lot of other things that are important to growers,” Young says. “We’ve maintained the fuming. We’ve maintained the EC (emulsifiable concentrate) class, we’ve been able to reduce the significant word from ‘warning’ to ‘caution,’ and we’ve dramatically reduced the odor.”

With Abba Ultra, for example, applicators need only wear a long-sleeved shirt and chemical-resistant gloves, he said.

With the older formulation, they have to wear head gear, face gear and chemical aprons as well as other personal protection equipment.

 

Adama introduces low-VOC pesticide umbrella brandWhat are VOCs and what's with the rules? 

VOCs, whether from pesticides or other industrial emissions, can combine with nitrogen oxide emissions in the atmosphere to form ozone. As part of the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency has set limits for ozone.

California began monitoring regional air basins in the state several years ago for several pollutants, including ozone and VOCs.

In 2013, the Central Valley exceeded those levels, reaching a high of 18.3 tons per day of VOCs. The threshold was 17.2 tons per day.

The state reacted by prohibiting use of products containing high VOC levels from May 1-Oct. 31, 2015, on alfalfa, almonds, citrus, cotton, grapes, pistachios and walnuts in the eight-county San Joaquin Valley. The prohibition also is in effect from May 1-Oct. 31, 2016.

The restrictions will apply to high-VOC formulations of products that contain the active ingredients abamectin or chlorpyrifos insecticide, gibberellin plant growth regulators or oxyfluorfen herbicide.

Growers and pest control advisers who choose low-VOC equivalents will not face these restrictions.