ner of this approach, is now as large as or larger than many basic manufacturing agrichemical companies and has revenues of $2 billion. The second path is the formation of consortiums of smaller distributors into a group with more influence than individual firms. In California, for example, a group of distributors joined to form a consortium called Integrated Agricultural Producers (IAP). The consolidation of distribution and agrichemical companies has created some concern for farmers. They are worried that they will have fewer choices and that prices will go up. However, the advent of the Internet is tearing down old structures, and the entire distributor-manufacturer relationship is expected to change for the benefit of farmers, who will be able to order all their products directly over the Internet.

One of the most important trends for agrichemical companies is the growing shift towards the development and registration of reduced-risk pesticides. In 1993, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began a program of expedited review of what were classified as reduced-risk pesticides. Expedited reviews can reduce the time to registration by more than half (EPA 1998). Since the introduction of this program, the number registered as reduced-risk pesticides has steadily increased. Table 4-7 lists almost 20 reduced-risk pesticides that have been registered since 1994.

For a pesticide to be considered of reduced risk, it must have at least one or more of the following characteristics (EPA 1997a):

  • It must have a reduced impact on human health and very low mammalian toxicity.

  • It must have toxicity lower than alternatives (0.01–0.1 as much).

  • It displaces chemicals that pose potential human health concerns or reduces exposures to mixers, loaders, applicators, and re-entry workers.

  • It reduces effects on non-target organism (such as birds, honey bees, and fish).

  • It exhibits a lower potential for contaminating groundwater.

  • It lowers use or entails fewer applications than alternatives.

  • It has lower pest-resistance potential (that is, it has a new mode of action).

  • It has a high compatibility with integrated pest management (IPM).

  • It has increased efficacy.

The Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) went further and mandated expedited registration of reduced-risk pesticides that could be expected to pose less risk to human health and the environment than other pesticides that meet existing safety standards. Since the enactment of FQPA, 62% of the 48 active ingredients registered have been considered “safer”

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