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Department of Pesticide Regulation

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Chris Reardon
Acting Director
  Edmund G. Brown Jr.
May 10, 2011
  ENF 11-17
County Agricultural Commissioners



This letter provides a clarification of some sulfuryl fluoride commodity fumigation permit issues that were addressed on an interim basis in County Agricultural Commissioner (CAC) ENF letter 05-16, issued May 18, 2005. Except for the topics below, permit issuance and licensing issues should continue as described in that ENF letter. This letter pertains only to use of Dow AgroSciences‘ ProFume (EPA Reg No. 62719-376), a sulfuryl fluoride fumigant.

  1. Licensing issues. The Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has determined that use of ProFume for labeled sites is not structural pest control under its statutory definition. Please continue to require pest control businesses to work only under a DPR pest control business license and use the recommended permit conditions. This confirms an interim statement in CAC letter ENF 05-16.
  2. Recommended Permit Conditions. When issuing the use permit for fumigation of a facility that contains commodities, there is sometimes ambiguity about whether the application should be considered a fumigation of the commodity or fumigation of the facility containing the commodity. In case of ambiguity, the intent of the fumigation is the primary determinant:

    1. A commodity fumigation is one in which the commodity is the primary site being fumigated. This is usually a routine, frequently repeated process in an enclosure specifically designed for fumigation of commodities (a chamber or a tarped stack of bins).
    2. A non-residential processing and storage facility fumigation is one in which the space, structure, food-processing facility or equipment, or storage containers are the primary site being fumigated. This is usually an occasional or one-time event.

The type of fumigation is key to using the Decision Table in the Compendium, Volume 3, Restricted Materials and Permitting, Appendix C.6, page C-81 for the recommended permit conditions for sulfuryl fluoride fumigations.

CAC‘s may use multiple indicators to determine the type of fumigation on the Decision Table:

  1. Statement of intent by the permittee. For example, a permit request to treat a commodity would indicate commodity fumigation. A permit request to treat a space, warehouse, mill, or stack of bins would indicate non-residential facility fumigation.
  2. Frequency of application. The currently registered ProFume labeling, Facility Fumigations Restrictions, limits the number of times certain types of facilities can be fumigated. For example, "Rice mills cannot be fumigated more than six times per year. Other food handling establishments cannot be fumigated more than three times per year."
  3. Relative volume of the fumigation containment facility occupied by the commodity.

The ProFume labeling allows for incidental fumigation of a commodity without regard for quantity, so it is not appropriate to use the quantity of commodity within the facility as an indicator of fumigation type.

The ProFume labeling prohibits "direct fumigation of processed foods … unless the processed food is specifically listed" on the labeling section Commodities That Can Be Fumigated. Fumigation would be considered "direct" if it meets the tests above for commodity fumigation. Any processed food "not practical to remove prior to fumigation " could be fumigated incidentally as part of non-residential facility fumigation. A residue tolerance for sulfuryl fluoride on all processed food commodities from postharvest fumigation is established in Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 180.575(a)(1).

If you have any questions, please contact the Enforcement Branch Liaison assigned to your county.

Original Signature by:
Nan Gorder, Ph.D.
Chief, Enforcement Branch

cc:   Mr. Tom Babb, DPR Agricultural Commissioner Liaison
        Enforcement Branch Liaisons

1001 I Street  ·   P.O. Box 4015  ·  Sacramento, California 95812-4015  ·
A Department of the California Environmental Protection Agency