The agrochemical industry has been filled with news that has unearthed discoveries the functionality of chemical applications and provides insight into new potential links to pesticide-induced health problems and regulatory reviews. Discover the noteworthy news topics this week in the agrochemical industry:

States Fear Pesticide Regulation Limitations From EPA

While states currently can require extra restrictions for pesticides beyond federal mandates, states fear that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has plans to limit their rights to impose these restrictions. Some of these restrictions include dictating later cut-off dates for chemical applications to crops, requiring companies to provide accountability reports concerning the environment and local pests and requiring pesticide applicators to get more training.

The states’ fear is sparked by the EPA’s announcement about reviewing its potential to disapprove state requests to impose these type of restrictions. The EPA receives hundreds of these requests every year and believes that some state rules curtail the federal guidelines. The EPA’s decision to exercise its rights on disapproving these restrictions can mean less regulation for agrochemical companies.

New Research Reveals New Methods That Explain How Fludioxonil Works

New research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison discovered a new way that explains how the commonly used fungicide fludioxonil kills fungi. While scientists designed the fungicide to protect seeds from any mold during storage, the fungicide is also used to extend the shelf life of crops, vegetables and other produce. However, it’s been a mystery as to how fludioxonil works. The researchers created mutant, fungicide-resistant yeast strains to help make this discovery and reveal how the fungi detect fludioxonil-caused damage.

With this discovery, researchers have provided a way to gain more insight into how fungi sense fludioxonil’s damage and start down a path of cell self-destruction. It also provides more insight into the ways fungi become resistant to anti-fungal chemicals.

Scientists Unearth Clues to Safeners’ Efficacy

Scientists are also making headlines with the discovery of new ways that explain how herbicide safeners work. Since the 1940s, safeners farmers have used safeners to protect corn, grain sorghum and other cereal crops. However, scientists lacked insight on how safeners could selectively protect crops while getting rid of weeds.

But researchers from the University of Illinois helped unearth clues to this mystery with research that indicated various metabolic pathways and genes that explain why safeners work, such as the safeners’ potential to activate existing chemical defenses in grain sorghum. By unlocking clues as to how safeners work, scientists may be able to extend the protection safeners currently provide grain sorghum to other crops, such as cotton and soybeans.

New Study Links Pesticide Exposure to Autism

A recent study from the BMJ Journal has linked prenatal exposure to pesticides with autism. The study used birth data from California’s Office of Vital Statistics between the years 1998 and 2010. The research compared pregnant mothers exposed to ambient pesticides versus individuals void of pesticide exposure. The study indicated that as exposure increased during a mother’s pregnancy so did the risk of developing autism. The study does indicate more research is required but warns the public of the need to avoid exposure to pesticides specific to infants and pregnant mothers.

Agrochemical companies and industry leaders should watch for the development of this research as adverse health issues associated with pesticides can create further obstacles with marketing pesticides and building trust among the public.