[Legislative Update] Rosenberg, NPMA Look to the Future

Features - Legislation

Recently appointed executive vice president hopes to create a “roadmap” for success in an ever-changing business and regulatory landscape.

March 26, 2013
PCT Magazine

Since being named executive vice president of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) in December, Bob Rosenberg has been criss-crossing the country visiting various industry stakeholders in hopes of gaining a better understanding of the organization’s perceived strengths and weaknesses, with the goal of creating a 21st century trade association. PCT recently caught up with Rosenberg, a 24-year veteran of the association, during a rare break between trips for a brief question and answer session.

Q. What has life been like for you since being named NPMA executive vice president?

A. In a word, hectic. I’ve been on the road pretty much non-stop since December, but I don’t mind. I don’t want to sit in an ivory tower in Fairfax, Va., making decisions about the future of the association. I want to be out interacting with our members, product suppliers, state association officials and other industry stakeholders.

Q. How would you describe the feedback you’ve received from key industry stakeholders?

A. You know, people have a lot of respect for the NPMA, its staff and the services it provides. I also think they’re open to making some changes. I think people are happy where we are at, but agree that we have an opportunity to make the association even better. 

Q. So, what’s the next step?

NPMA Says Recent EPA Initiative on Rodenticides Further Promotes Protection of Public Health

On Jan. 30, EPA announced its intent to cancel the registration of certain do-it-yourself rodent control products. The affected products are sold to consumers as loose baits and don’t have protective bait stations that prevent access by children and pets.

In the works for more than a decade, the mandate will remove products from the market that pose unacceptable risks to children, pets and wildlife — an effort supported by NPMA.

“Rodents pose a significant public health risk. They carry more than 200 human pathogens and rodent droppings are proven asthma triggers in children and adults. Further, rodents are estimated to bite 50,000 people each year,” said Bob Rosenberg, executive vice president of NPMA. “The EPA restrictions will prohibit the use of potentially dangerous loose baits and products that pose risks to wildlife when misused by people who are untrained and unlicensed to ensure their safe application, but will reserve the rights for use by professionals when needed. This important decision underscores the need for professionalism in treatment and allows the pest management industry to retain the means for providing effective, affordable services that protect consumers from rodent-borne dangers.”

For more information regarding the EPA and its most recent decision, visit www.epa.gov. (Source: NPMA)

A. Here’s what I know. In taking a macro view of the organization, I think there is a need to refine our member offerings. There certainly are some things we can do better than we’re currently doing, and there are probably some things we shouldn’t be devoting our resources to as an association. We want to make this a 21st century trade association representing the 21st century needs of our members. You have to recognize that NPMA members today aren’t like members 5 or 10 years ago. The sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters of the original owners are now running many pest control businesses. We need to evolve just like our members have evolved and need to be in a position to address the needs of this new generation of leaders.

Q. How do you hope to achieve that goal?

A. By doing a number of things designed to move the association forward during the next few years. First, we need to create an environment of transparency throughout all levels of the organization, including staff, current and prospective members, association leaders and the media. We want our members to understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Second, we need to take a step back and identify what we’re doing well and what we could be doing better, as well as identify what we don’t need to be in the business of doing, adjusting our resources accordingly. Third, we need to identify where we can collaborate with others to avoid duplication of effort and better meet the needs of our members. Fourth, we need to serve the diverse array of industry stakeholders that make their living in this industry, providing the services and educational resources necessary to help them be successful. And fifth, we need to create a “road map” moving forward that identifies our priorities and establishes a timeline for each of our strategic objectives.

Q. Why is transparency such an important issue for you?

A. It should be important — and a core value — of any organization, in my opinion.

Q. Prior to you being named executive vice president, the NPMA’s Board of Directors was already in the midst of developing a long-term strategic plan. Where does that process currently stand?

A. We’re currently in the fact-finding stage, but our goal is to have a “road map” for the Board when they meet at NPMA Legislative Day. Some of the things we are considering are quite ambitious, while others are more conventional, but all of our efforts are focused on educating, protecting and growing the industry.

Q. With your new responsibilities, do you still plan to be involved in the regulatory arena?

A. A lot of what Gene Harrington and I do is based on our knowledge of the issues and the relationships we’ve developed over time, so it wouldn’t be a good investment by NPMA to take me totally out of that role. If anything we’re going to beef up the Government Affairs Department in the months ahead. It’s also not uncommon for trade associations in Washington, D.C., to have a chief executive officer that is actively involved in regulatory and public affairs, so I’m going to stay involved.

Q. Any final words?

A. I’m looking forward to leading the association during this exciting time in its history.


Pyrethroid Label Requirements Tweaked Again By Mike Merchant

Editor’s Note: The following article appeared on Mike Merchant’s blog, “Insects in the City,” which can be found at insectsinthecity.blogspot.com. The blog offers readers news and commentary about the urban pest management industry and is excerpted here with permission of the author.

Last year, I posted a story about the new pyrethroid insecticide label requirements being sent to pesticide manufacturers by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The requirements were designed in 2009 to reduce the risk of drift (wind-carried contamination) and runoff (stormwater-carried contamination) of these commonly used insecticides. Since last spring, when pesticide manufacturers were officially informed of the new standards, EPA has continued to dialog with both regulators and the pest control industry. The results of this dialog are now out, and the final product is a big improvement, in my opinion.

At issue were applications needed to control certain overwintering insects like the brown marmorated stink bug and kudzu bug, both of which aggregate on the sides and eaves of structures prior to entering the home or other buildings. Under the 2009 rules, outdoor applications to the sides of structures were limited to crack and crevice applications or building foundations up to a height of three feet only. In addition, all outdoor applications to impervious surfaces such as sidewalks, driveways, patios, porches and structural surfaces (such as windows, doors and eaves) were to be limited to spot and crack-and-crevice applications, only.

After consultation with NPMA, the Association of Structural Pest Control Regulatory Officials (ASPCRO) and the State FIFRA Issues Research and Evaluation Group (an EPA advisory group also comprised of regulatory officials), EPA agreed to make further changes to the original label requirements to allow for more effective control of overwintering insects.

While restrictions on insecticide applications to impervious surfaces and prior to expected rainfall have not changed, there are some big changes on applications to structures, as published in a Jan. 10 letter to pesticide manufacturers (see bit.ly/WupfbC). The three changes are summarized as follows:

  • Now applications of pyrethroids may be made to the exterior of buildings where the treated surfaces are underneath eaves, soffits, windows or doors that are protected by coverings, overhangs, awnings or other structures that protect the residues from rainfall;
  • application bands up to 1 inch-wide may be applied to cracks or other potential pest entry points;
  • and applications may be made using a coarse, low-pressure spray to portions of surfaces that are directly above bare soil, lawn, mulch or other vegetation.

The purpose of these requirements is to prevent pyrethroid pesticides from entering storm water and getting into streams, something that is most likely when pyrethroid sprays land on impervious surfaces like asphalt or concrete.

In addition to giving back to PMPs the ability to use pyrethroids against overwintering pests, these new regulations should help applicators control nuisance and public health mosquitoes that frequently rest on the sides of buildings and around doorways. This was, in my view, a potentially serious public health issue that existed with the 2009 rules.

So what will be the big change to the way your company applies pyrethroids after the dust is all settled? The new labels will prohibit power spraying driveways and over sidewalks, garage doors and any vertical building surfaces over pavement. Assuming the manufacturers follow these guidelines closely, labels should allow low-pressure sprays to the sides of structures over vegetation or soil and in sites protected from the rain, in addition to cracks and crevices.

Congratulations to the EPA and to those regulators and NPMA experts who took the time to look for ways to keep the pyrethroid label requirements reasonable while continuing to protect the environment. This is one of those examples of how the system sometimes works in everyone’s favor — except, in this case, the pests’.