CORVALLIS -The nation's prime information source on pesticides and pesticide safety will continue operating into the new millennium at Oregon State University thanks to renewal of a supporting grant by the Environmental Protection Agency and co-sponsorship by OSU.

The National Pesticide Telecommunications Network, or NPTN, headquartered at OSU since 1995, will stay at the university through 2005, according to project director Terry Miller, OSU Extension Service pesticide coordinator.

"The EPA recently approved continuing NPTN at OSU for another five years," Miller said. "The EPA's continued support of this project at OSU is a great compliment to the university and our staff for the great job they've done."

Before 1995, NPTN had been at Texas Tech University for 10 years.

A consumer information service, NPTN provides a variety of pesticide-related information including pesticide regulations, label instructions, potential toxic effects, impacts on the environment, alternatives, and storage and disposal requirements.

Information is made available to the public via telephone, email, or at the NPTN home page on the web. NPTN is co-managed at OSU by Miller, Jeffrey Jenkins, OSU Extension Service agricultural chemist, and Sheldon Wagner, M.D., clinical toxicologist and professor in the OSU Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology. The network has enjoyed dramatic growth in services offered, staffing and funding over the past four years. Since beginning operations at OSU, the toll-free telephone information service has expanded to 10 hours a day, seven days a week, and the network now offers a series of pesticide fact sheets both in hard copy form and on the web, which is now a central component of the information delivery system. Last year the home page had 200,000 hits, Miller noted. A computer system upgrade is planned because the volume of activity in the home page has outgrown the present computer system, he added. "Our ability to increase services was made possible through additional funding from EPA," Miller said. "We started with three staffers in the telecommunications center in 1995 and our funding that year was $465,000. We now have 15 NPTN staff and our budget last year was just over $1 million." The toll free number for NPTN is 1-800-858-7378. The email address is Note to Editors: This story originally contained a World Wide Web address. The characters used in Web addresses will not telecommunicate in our system. Please call us at1-800-858-7378 for the address.

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Terry Miller, 541-737-1811