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E-Commerce Pesticides

EPA regulates the sale, distribution, and release of pesticides, pesticide products, and pesticide devices under FIFRA.  Some states and some federally recognized Indian tribes also have their own pesticide laws that supplement FIFRA.

In general, under FIFRA, it is against the law to sell unregistered, misbranded, suspended, or canceled pesticides in the United States. This means that if someone tries to sell via the Internet a pesticide product or device that is mislabeled, not registered, or no longer registered, that person could be breaking the law and subject to civil or criminal penalties, including fines.

Before a company or individual can sell or distribute any pesticide in the United States, EPA must review data on the pesticide to determine that it will not pose unreasonable risks to human health or the environment. Once EPA has made that determination, it will license or register that pesticide for sale, distribution, or use in accordance with label directions.

All label language must be approved by EPA before a pesticide can be lawfully sold or distributed in the United States. The overall intent of the label is to provide directions for product use while managing risks to human health and the environment. It is a violation of federal law to use a pesticide in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.

Any material, whether naturally derived or not, that is sold or distributed with the intent to control or eliminate any pest (weeds, insects, microorganisms, etc.) is classified as a pesticide. By their very nature, pesticides create some risk of harm to humans, animals, or the environment because they are designed to kill or otherwise adversely affect living organisms. Many household products are pesticides. EPA has developed a web site titled What Is a Pesticide? to help people determine what is considered a pesticide under federal law.  The list below describes some common products that are pesticides.

While there are a few exemptions, most pesticides require registration with the U.S. EPA and any state in which they are sold or distributed. Even advertising products or materials that may be classified as pesticides can be construed as offering the pesticide for sale.

It is the seller's responsibility to ensure that the pesticide is registered and labeled according to federal standards before offering it for sale over the Internet. The seller must comply with applicable state laws as well.

The following important points should be considered:

It is beyond the scope of this topic to summarize all the requirements of federal and state pesticide law.

Related topics

Related publications from the Ag Center
E-Commerce Pesticides

More information from EPA
Information for Pesticide Exporters

Federal Pesticide Links

EPA Regional Pesticide Programs

State Pesticide Contacts Exit EPA

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