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A pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest. Pests can be insects and insect-like organisms, mice and other vertebrate animals, unwanted plants (weeds), or fungi, bacteria and viruses that cause plant diseases. Though often misunderstood to refer only to insecticides, the term pesticide also applies to herbicides, fungicides, and various other substances used to control pests.

Related publications from the Ag Center
Worker Protection Standard

Related laws and policies
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)
Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA)

Related environmental requirements
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act text Exit EPA
Pesticide Regulations: 40 CFR Parts 152 - 180
Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996
Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) text Exit EPA

More information from EPA
Regulating Pesticides: Laws and Regulations
Pesticide Regulatory Action Fact Sheets
Pesticide Industry Sales and Usage
EPA Announces New Restrictions on Pesticide Phosphide Fumigants To Reduce Risks to Children
Soil Fumigant Pesticides Subject to New Safety Measures
Implementation of Risk Mitigation Measures for Soil Fumigant Pesticides
"Pesticide Issues in the Works" Explores Emerging Issues
EPA Conducts Compliance Assistance Outreach to Ethnic Marketplaces
New NIH / EPA Plan for Safety Testing of Chemicals Includes Reduced Reliance on Animal Testing
Information for Pesticide Exporters
Registration Review: Schedule for Beginning Reviews - 2011 to 2014
Revised Pesticide Data Requirements for Pesticide Registration
Pesticide Registration (PR) Notices
Pesticide Fate Database
El medio ambiente y su salud: Pesticidas (Pesticide Information in Spanish)
Multi-Year Workplan for the Registration of Conventional Pesticides
Fact Sheets on New Active Ingredients
Evaluating Pesticides for Carcinogenic Potential
Pesticide Program Annual Reports
Field Component of the National Pesticide Program
Pyrethroids and Pyrethrins

More information from the states
State Pesticide Newsletters

EPA grants available to reduce pesticide use
PestWise Grants

Success Stories
Clean-up Completed at Abandoned Potato Farm in Massachusetts
EPA Completes Cleanup of Warehouse in Maine
EPA's Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program Helps Almond Growers

Certification and Training / Restricted-Use Pesticides

EPA categorizes every use of every pesticide as either "unclassified" or "restricted use". Many times all the uses of a particular formulation are classified as restricted or all are unclassified. Sometimes, however, certain uses of a formulation are restricted and other uses of the same product are not. A pesticide, or some of its uses, is classified as restricted if it could cause harm to humans (pesticide handlers or other persons) or to the environment unless it is applied by certified applicators who have the knowledge to use these pesticides safely and effectively.

Certification and training regulations require pesticide applicators to meet certain training and/or testing requirements before they use or supervise the use of pesticides labeled "restricted use."

Related environmental requirements
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act text Exit EPA
40 CFR Part 171

More information from EPA 
Restricted Use Products (RUP) Report
The Federal Plan for Certifying Applicators in Navajo Indian County

Information from other Organizations
National Pesticide Applicator Certification Core Manual from National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) Exit EPA

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Clean Sweep Program

Clean Sweep Programs have been set up in many states to collect and dispose of pesticides in a safe and simple way at little or not cost to the participants.  While all the programs have the similar goal of providing safe disposal of pesticides, there is no single "typical" Clean Sweep Program.  Most Clean Sweep Programs have been set up through state regulatory agencies, usually the state department of agriculture, and provide a variety of services.  

Find out if there is a Clean Sweep Program in your area and, if so, how it works by using the links below.  Other states may also have programs similar to Clean Sweeps that are not listed below.  It is an easy way for you to contribute to a healthier and cleaner environment! All of the following links provide information that is outside the EPA Web site. Exit EPA

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Pesticide users are responsible for correctly dealing with empty pesticide containers, excess usable pesticides, and waste materials that contain pesticides or their residues.

Related environmental requirements Exit EPA
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act text
40 CFR Part 156
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act text
40 CFR Part 262.51 (PDF) (scroll down) (1 pg, 27.8K)
40 CFR Part 261.7(a)(1) (PDF) (scroll down) (2 pp, 30.7K)

More information from EPA
RCRA Training Module: Introduction to Containers - Containers as Waste (PDF) (13 pp, 56K)

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Endangered Species

The Endangered Species Act is intended to protect and promote the recovery of animals and plants that are in danger of becoming extinct due to the activities of people. Under the Act, EPA must ensure that use of pesticides it registers will not result in harm to the species listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as endangered and threatened, or harm to any habitat critical to the survival of those species. To implement the Endangered Species Protection Program, labels of certain pesticides will direct users to bulletins with information similar to what appears here. This program will protect endangered and threatened species from harm due to pesticide use. For additional information on the technical, scientific or risk assessment aspects of the program, call 703-305-7695.

EPA's Endangered Species Protection Program has two goals:

Protection of Endangered and Threatened Species
To protect listed species from detrimental effects from the use of pesticides, EPA programs do the following:

Implementation of Use Limitations
Implementation is done by:

Mandatory limitations on pesticide use to protect endangered and threatened species will be disseminated via pesticide labels and county-specific bulletins. Voluntary limitations are conveyed through interim pamphlets.

State Involvement
EPA encourages individual States to develop their own plans by whatever approach they determine is best for them, as long as the approach meets the goals of protecting endangered species while minimizing the impact on pesticide users.

States are also a part of the county bulletin review process, along with other agencies, and are encouraged to include State agencies oriented toward agriculture and those oriented toward fish and wildlife, as well as pesticide users and environmental groups, in their review process.

Minimizing the Impact on Pesticide Users
EPA cannot adequately protect endangered species without having some impact on pesticide users. To minimize the impact, EPA tries to assist users in dealing with the impacts of the program.

Some of the things EPA tries to do are:

Related publications from the Ag Center

Related environmental requirements
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act text Exit EPA
Endangered Species Act Exit EPA

More information from EPA
Endangered Species Protection Program
Settlement Agreement Regarding Atrazine's Effect on Endangered Species
Release of Atrazine Ecological Watershed Monitoring Data Fact Sheet
EPA/DOJ Sign Settlement Agreement Regarding an Endangered Species, Barton Springs salamander (Eurycea sosorum)
Endangered Species Protection Program Field Implementation
Court Issues Stipulated Injunction Regarding Pesticides and the California Red-legged Frog
Effects Determinations for Diazinon on Pacific Andromous Salmonids
Effects Determination for Metolachlor on the Barton Springs Salamander
New Limits on Pesticide Uses Will Protect Salmon

More information from other federal agencies
US Fish and Wildlife Serv ice - Endangered Species Act
USDA Forest Service - Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Species
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Endangered Species Program

More information from the states Exit EPA
Endangered Species Resource Locator - state rules and contacts for state fish and wildlife service offices

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Hazards and Safe Use

Most pesticides are designed to harm or kill pests. Because some pests have systems similar to the human system, some pesticides also can harm or kill humans. Hazard is the risk of harmful effects from pesticides. Hazard depends on the toxicity of the pesticide and the exposure a human will receive in any situation.

Endocrine Disruptors
Research on various aspects of hormone disruptors has been ongoing at EPA's laboratories and in collaboration with non-EPA scientists. Some of the work has looked at the reproductive effects of certain pesticides, evaluated human sperm count and fertility relationships, and studied reproductive problems among alligators and fish populations in Lake Apopka, Florida.

More information from EPA
ToxRefDB: Searchable database on chemical hazard, exposure, and toxicity
Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP)
EPA Issues Test Orders for First 67 Chemicals Under the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program
EPA To Begin Testing Pesticides for Endocrine Disruption
EPA Releases Test Guidelines and Schedule for Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program
New Safety Measures To Protect Children, Wildlife From Rodent-Control Products
Citizen's Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety
Protect Your Business: Avoid Selling Illegal Pesticides
Uso seguro de los pesticidas (Using Pesticides Safely in Spanish)
Protegiendo a los niños (Protecting Children in Spanish)
Información para emergencias (Emergency Information in Spanish)
Productos pesticidas ilegales (Illegal Pesticide Products in Spanish)

More information from the states Exit EPA
University of Illinois Extension - Pesticide Safety Education Program

Information from other Organizations Exit EPA
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture's (NASDA's) National Pesticide Applicator Certification Core Manual

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Labeling Requirements

Labeling requirements control when and under what conditions pesticides can be applied, mixed, stored, loaded, or used, fields can be reentered after application, and crops can be harvested. Requirements also are imposed on container specifications and disposal.

Related laws and policies
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)

Related environmental requirements
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act text Exit EPA
40 CFR Parts 152 - 180

More information from EPA
Final Guidance for Pesticide Registrants on Environmental Hazard General Labeling Statement on Outdoor Residential Use Products - a Pesticide Registration Notice (PR Notice) informing pesticide registrants and other interested persons about important policies, procedures, and registration related decisions, and serve to provide guidance to pesticide registrants and OPP personnel.
Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals - a worldwide initiative to promote standard criteria for classifying chemicals according to their health, physical and environmental hazards.
Labeling Guidance and Policies Web Site - provides labeling information and addresses questions that are specific to a particular product or any inconsistencies among product labels.
Pesticide Labeling Questions & Answers - EPA Office of Pesticide Programs has published on its Web site a list of questions submitted by the public to EPA regarding labeling of pesticide products, along with the Agency's responses.
Online Pesticide Label Training - describes concepts and key resources for label reviews.
Enable the Label - EPA's online discussion forum established to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas related to the labeling of pesticides.
EPA’s Position on Use of Terms like "Professional Strength" (PDF) (2 pp, 676k)
Consumer Labeling Initiative
Read the Label First
Pesticide Product Label System (PPLS) - collection of images of pesticide labels that have been approved by EPA under Section 3 of FIFRA. The collection contains the initially approved label for pesticide products registered under FIFRA Section 3 as well as subsequent versions of labels which have changed via amendment or notification.
OPP Guidance on Warranty Statements (PDF) (11 pp, 60K)
Pesticide Label Review Manual - The Label Review Manual serves as a training tool for Office of Pesticide Program’s employees and as guidance for product management team members who are responsible for performing label reviews.
First Harmonized Label For Pesticide Product Available - EPA and the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency have given the first joint approval of a North American Free Trade Agreement harmonized label for a pesticide product.
Label Guidance for Antimicrobial Pesticides Used Against Avian Influenza A - guidance for antimicrobial pesticides sold that are used to treat surfaces in agricultural, commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential settings against the avian influenza A virus.
PR Notice 2007-1: Disposal Instructions on Non-Antimicrobial Residential or Household Use Pesticide Product Labels - guidance to the registrant concerning the updating and revision of PR Notice 2001-6 (PDF) (9 pp, 83K) to clarify that the use of a toll-free number in the disposal instructions on non-antimicrobial residential/household use pesticide product labels is optional.
PR Notice 2007-4: Labeling Revisions Required by the Final Rule “Pesticide Management and Disposal; Standards for Pesticide Containers and Containment” (PDF) (16pp, 185K)

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Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is the clothing and devices that are worn to protect the human body from contact with pesticides or pesticide residues. Personal protective equipment includes such items as coveralls or protective suits, footwear, gloves, aprons, respirators, eyewear, and headgear. Ordinary shirts, pants, shoes, and other regular work clothing usually are not considered personal protective equipment, although pesticide labeling may require pesticide handlers to wear specific items of work clothing during some activities. Users of pesticides must make sure that all personal protective equipment instructions that appear on the pesticide label or labeling are followed.

Related environmental requirements
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act text Exit EPA
40 CFR Part 156
40 CFR Part 170

More information
Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides

More information available from EPA
Personal Protective Equipment

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Pesticide Container and Containment Rule

EPA is required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to promulgate regulations prescribing procedures and standards for container design and the removal of pesticides from containers prior to disposal. Information on this page will help registrants, refillers, retailers, commercial applicators and custom blenders to comply with the requirements of this rule. See Sections 19(e) and (f) of FIFRA.Exit EPA

EPA’s final regulations, "Standards for Pesticide Containers and Containment" were published on August 16, 2006 (Federal Register Vol. 71, Number 158, pp. 47329 - 47437; see links below to access this F.R. Notice). The final regulations include five sections, which are described below.

  1. Nonrefillable Containers: This section addresses "one-way" or disposable containers and applies to pesticide registrants. The purpose of these standards is to ensure that containers are strong and durable, minimize human exposure during container handling and facilitate container disposal and recycling.

  2. Refillable Containers: This section applies to containers that are intended to be refilled and reused more than once and applies to pesticide registrants.  The purpose of these standards is to ensure that containers are strong and durable, minimize cross-contamination of pesticides distributed in refillable containers, and encourage the use of refillable containers to reduce container disposal problems.

  3. Repackaging: This section, which describes procedures and other safeguards for repackaging pesticide into refillable containers, applies to pesticide registrants and anyone who refills pesticide containers for sale (registrants, formulators, distributors and dealers).  These regulations are intended to minimize cross-contamination of pesticides distributed in refillable containers, codify safe refilling management practices and encourage the use of refillable containers to reduce container disposal problems.

  4. Labeling: The labeling segment includes instructions for how to properly clean pesticide containers and a statement identifying the container as nonrefillable or refillable. Pesticide registrants are required to ensure that labels include the specified information. Pesticide users are required to comply with the instructions on the labels.

  5. Containment Structures: This section establishes standards for secondary containment structures at certain bulk storage sites and for containment pads at certain pesticide dispensing operations. Pesticide dealers who repackage pesticides, commercial applicators and custom blenders have to comply with the requirements. The purpose of these standards is to protect the environment from leaks and spills at bulk storage areas and from contamination due to pesticide dispensing operations.

Related publications from the Ag Center

More information from EPA
October 8, 2010 Federal Register: Change of Labeling Compliance Date to August 16, 2011
Secretary of Agriculture Notified About Proposed Rule on Pesticide Container Recycling
Pesticide Container and Containment Rule
EPA Publishes Regulation Establishing Standards for Pesticide Containers and Containment
(Press Release)
Corrections Made to PR Notice 2007-4, Labeling Revisions Required by the Final Container / Containment Rule (Press Release)
Part a of Federal Register on Pesticide Containers
Part b of Federal Register on Pesticide Containers
Part c of Federal Register on Pesticide Containers
General Information on Storage and Disposal
New Container Policy Reduces Pesticide Pollution and Waste (October 14, 2009 Press Release)

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Public-Private Partnership for Reducing Pesticide Risk

To protect public health and the environment from unreasonable risks posed by pesticides, EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs regulates the use of pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and related laws.  Going beyond compliance with the law, many of EPA's partners are working voluntarily with the Agency to reduce pesticide risk even further by developing and evaluating new pest control practices.  Through these partnership projects, growers across the U.S. are testing alternatives to conventional pesticides such as biological pesticides or biopesticides, reduced-risk chemical applications, and other forms of pest control.

More information from EPA
Public-Private Partnerships for Reducing Pesticide Risk
PestWise An EPA Partnership Program
EPA Agreement with Organic Arsenicals Manufacturers

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Pesticide Ingredients

Pesticide products contain both "active" and "inert" ingredients. The terms "active ingredient" and "inert ingredient" have been defined by Federal law, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), since 1947.

Active Ingredients
An active ingredient is one that prevents, destroys, repels or mitigates a pest, or is a plant regulator, defoliant, desiccant, or nitrogen stabilizer. By law, the active ingredient must be identified by name on the label together with its percentage by weight.

Inert Ingredients
An inert ingredient is simply any ingredient in the product that is not intended to affect a target pest. For example, isopropyl alcohol may be an active ingredient and antimicrobial pesticide in some products; however, in other products, it is used as a solvent and may be considered an inert ingredient. The law does not require inert ingredients to be identified by name and percentage on the label, but the total percentage of such ingredients must be declared.

In September 1997, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued Pesticide Regulation Notice 97-6 which encourages manufacturers, formulators, producers, and registrants of pesticide products to voluntarily substitute the term "other ingredients" as a heading for the "inert" ingredients in the ingredient Statement. EPA made this change after learning the results of a consumer survey on the use of household pesticides. Many comments from the public and the consumer interviews prompted EPA to discontinue the use of the term "inert." Many consumers are misled by the term "inert ingredient", believing it to mean "harmless." Since neither the Federal law nor the regulations define the term "inert" on the basis of toxicity, hazard, or risk to humans, non-target species, or the environment, it should not be assumed that all inert ingredients are non-toxic.

Related laws and policies
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act 

Related environmental requirements
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act text Exit EPA

More information from EPA 
Pesticide Chemical Search
Other Ingredients in Pesticide Products
Federal Register and Pesticide Registration Notices on Other (Inert) Pesticide Ingredients

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Pesticide Security Guidance

EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs is coordinating with other EPA programs to encourage all pesticide industry organizations and facilities to review existing security measures. As a precaution during the current heightened state of alert, EPA is reaching out to those who manufacture, reformulate, sell, distribute, transport, store, or apply (aerially or by ground equipment) hazardous pesticides, urging everyone to be especially vigilant regarding the physical security of those pesticides and the equipment used in their application.

EPA recommends that all pesticide industry establishments review EPA's Chemical Safety Alert entitled: "Chemical Accident Prevention: Site Security" (PDF), (8 pp, 78K) published by EPA on February 2000. This Safety Alert focuses primarily on the chemical industry; however, it discusses several issues relevant to security in all types of pesticide establishments and facilities.

The Office of Pesticide Programs has prepared a summary of the Chemical Safety Alert, which has been tailored to the pesticide industry.

For transporters, DOT has produced a separate advisory, which is available by contacting DOT at 202-366-6525.

Related publications from the Ag Center
Chemical Safety

More information from EPA
Pesticide Safety Tips

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Pest Resistance

Pesticides are important pest management tools. Many pesticides have gradually lost their effectiveness due to the development of resistance by pests they once controlled. Pest resistance is an heritable and significant decrease in the sensitivity of a pest population to a pesticide that is shown to reduce the field performance of pesticides. Pests may include insects, mites, weeds, and fungi and bacteria which cause plant disease. The management of pesticide resistance development is an important part of sustainable pest management and this, in conjunction with alternative pest management strategies and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs, can make significant contributions to reducing risks to humans and the environment.

An important pesticide resistance management strategy is to avoid the repeated use of a particular pesticide, or pesticides that have a similar target site of action as the pest control mechanism in the same field. One pest control strategy is rotating pesticides and/or using tank mixtures or premixes with different mode/target sites of action. This will delay the onset of resistance, as well as slow the development and subsequent buildup of resistance, without resorting to increased rates and frequency of application, and ultimately, will prolong the useful life of many pesticides.

A resistance management strategy should also consider cross-resistance between pesticides with different modes/target sites of action. Pests may develop cross-resistance to pesticides based on mode/target site of action.

Related laws and policies
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)

More information from EPA
Lo que se debe y no se debe hacer en el control de plagas (Dos and Don'ts of Pest Control in Spanish)

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Pollinator Protection

Many different insects and animals are pollinators -- for example ants, birds, bats, and of course bees. And many plants depend on them for pollination -- fruits and vegetables, but also grains, grasses, and even trees. Although it's easy to forget the importance of pollinators, it's critical that we help protect them from environmental risks. EPA's Pesticide Program is working with national and international partners to protect pollinators through regulatory, voluntary, and research programs.

In an ongoing effort to protect bees and other pollinators, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed new pesticide labels that prohibit use of some neonicotinoid pesticide products where bees are present.

More information from EPA
Pollinator Protection
Guidance for Inspecting Alleged Cases of Pesticide-Related Bee Incidents
Policy: Summary of Analytical Methods for Bees and Hive Matrices
EPA's New Bee Advisory Box Infographic

How to Report Bee Kill Incidents
1. Contact your State Environmental Agency to report the problem.

2. National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) at

1-800-858-7378 to report the incident. NPIC provides these reports to the EPA under a cooperative agreement. Trained pesticide specialists are available to document the incident and provide information that could be helpful in your unique situation. NPIC is open from 7:30am - 3:30pm PST.
• NPIC's Ecological Pesticide Incident Reporting portal -- This portal provides a method for reporting ecological incidents that are suspected or known to be related to pesticide exposures.

3. Report a Bee Incident to EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs

4. Report an Environmental Violation to EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance

More information from USDA

Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS)
Insects and Pollinators
NRCS documents for pollinator conservation and enhancement

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Honey Bees
Honey Bees: Survey of Honey Bee Pests and Diseases - Improving Honey Bee Health, with additional links

Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
Cache Valley in Northern Utah, home of the USDA-ARS Pollinating Insects - Biology, Management and Systematics Research Unit
Colony Collapse Disorder Overview
Honey Bees and Colony Collapse Disorder
Improving Honey Bee Health: Honey Bee health research in response to Colony Collapse Disorder
Coordinated Research Aim to Improve Honey Bee Health

Forest Service

More information from the Department of the Interior
Fish and Wildlife Service

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Recordkeeping for Pesticide Applications

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service administers the Federal Pesticide Recordkeeping Program, which requires all certified private applicators to keep records of their use of federally restricted use pesticides for a period of 2 years.

The Federal Pesticide Recordkeeping Program was authorized by the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990, commonly referred to as the 1990 Farm Bill. Under this law, all certified private pesticide applicators who have no requirement through State regulations to maintain records must comply with the Federal pesticide recordkeeping regulations. Certified private pesticide applicators who are required to maintain records of pesticide applications under State regulations will continue to keep their records as required by their State.

More information from USDA
Pesticide Recordkeeping Program (PRP)

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The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) requires that before anyone can sell or distribute a pesticide in the United States, they must obtain a registration, or license, from EPA. When making a registration decision, EPA must ensure that the pesticide, when used according to label directions, will not cause unreasonable adverse effects to human health or the environment. Registration decisions are based primarily on EPA's evaluation of the test data provided by applicants. EPA has established a number of requirements, such as the Good Laboratory Practice Standards, to ensure the quality and integrity of pesticide data. Depending on the type of pesticide, OPP can require more than 100 different tests. Testing is needed to determine whether a pesticide has the potential to cause adverse effects to humans, wildlife, fish, and plants, including endangered species.

In addition to allowing the use of new pesticides, the registration program includes many activities related to the ongoing registration of existing pesticides. This may include, for example, label changes in where and how pesticides are used in order to reduce risks or in response to requests by registrants.

In recent years, more than half of new pesticide registrations have involved biopesticides and other pesticides that pose less risk than traditional pesticides. Biopesticides include "microbial pesticides" (bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms used to control pests), and "biochemical pesticides," such as pheromones (compounds that disrupt the mating behavior of insects).

Related laws and policies
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)  
Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA)

Related environmental requirements
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act text Exit EPA
Pesticide Regulations: 40 CFR Parts 152 - 180 Exit EPA
Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA)
Pesticide Registration Improvement Renewal Act (PRIA 2) of 2007

More information from EPA
Pesticide Dockets Open for Public Comment
Pesticide Registration Manual
Pesticide Study Profile Templates
Pesticide Registration Review Schedule
October 2010 Revised Fee Schedule for Pesticide Registration Applications
Regulating Ion Generators as Pesticides
General Information about Pesticide Registration
Pesticide Registration Kit
Electronic Submissions for Registering Pesticide Products
Decision Tree for Determining Pesticide Registration Fees
Restricted and Canceled Uses
Cancellation of Pesticides for Non-Payment of Year 2009 Registration Maintenance Fees
NAFTA Guidance for Conducting Terrestrial Field Dissipation Studies - Document resulting from the agreement between EPA and the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) to harmonize their testing guidelines so that one set of tests can be used for the registration of pesticides in Canada and the U.S.
Multi-Year Workplan for the Registration of Conventional Pesticides
Pesticide Registration Review Program
Annual Report on Implementing the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act - Fiscal Year 2006
EPA Announces Use of Web Site To Provide Notice of Intent To Terminate Pesticide Producing Establishment Registrations
EPA Opens Transparency Window into Pesticide Registration Decisions

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EPA is required by 1988 amendments to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act to review and, as warranted, reregister all existing pesticide products that contain active ingredients initially registered before November 1, 1984. The goal is to update labeling and use requirements and reduce potential risks associated with older pesticide active ingredients -- those first registered when the standards for government approval were less stringent than they are today. This comprehensive reevaluation of pesticide safety in light of current standards is critical to protecting human health and the environment. As of 1996, EPA has made reregistration decisions on more than 130 pesticides, leaving fewer than 250 to be reviewed. More than 200 other pesticides (and 20,000 pesticide products) have been cancelled since reregistration began.

Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) documents contain the results of EPA's regulatory reviews of pesticides initially registered before November 1, 1984. To be eligible for reregistration, a pesticide must be found not to cause unreasonable risks to people or the environment when used in accordance with its approved labeling. All registered pesticides also must meet the safety standard of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), which became effective on August 3, 1996. Under this new law, EPA must consider the potential for increased susceptibility of infants and children to the toxic effects of pesticides. The Agency also must reassess existing tolerances (maximum pesticide residue limits in food), considering aggregate exposure to pesticide residues from many sources and the cumulative effects of pesticides and other compounds with common mechanisms of toxicity.

EPA-NRDC Settlement Agreement -- On Monday, March 19, 2001, EPA submitted an amended consent decree to the federal District Court in California to resolve lawsuits filed regarding scientific and regulatory decisions affecting certain pesticides. The revised agreement was reached between EPA and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) after lengthy negotiations among EPA, NRDC, and Interveners in the case, who include representatives from the pesticide industry and the farming community. After EPA's counsel advised Administrator Christie Whitman that the Agency had limited flexibility to change or withdraw from the consent decree, Whitman outlined steps in a directive to the pesticide program to make its regulatory processes more participatory and transparent.

Specifically, the revised agreement continues to include the following components:

On September 25, 2001, the U.S. Federal District Court for the Northern District of California approved the Consent Decree.  The Court also dismissed the portion of NRDC's lawsuit concerning EPA's endocrine screening program based on a Settlement Agreement between EPA and NRDC and its co-plaintiffs.  

More information on the EPA-NRDC Settlement Agreement
Consent Decree (PDF) (29 pp, 245K)
Settlement Agreement (PDF) (15 pp, 85K)
More Information about the settlement

Related laws and policies
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)
Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA)

Related environmental requirements
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act text Exit EPA
Pesticide Regulations: 40 CFR Parts 152 - 180
Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA)

More information from EPA 
Pesticide Reregistration Performance Measures and Goals
Pesticide Reregistration Status
Product Reregistration

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Soil Fumigants

Implementation of Risk Mitigation Measures for Soil Fumigant Pesticides
Soil Fumigant Toolbox

Mitigation Measure-Specific Fact Sheets:
Posting Requirements for Buffer Zones
Worker Protection Measures
Site-specific Fumigant Management Plans
  -  2010 FMP Template for methyl bromide (10 pp, 217KB, About PDF)
  -  2011 FMP Template for methyl bromide (14 pp, 270KB, About PDF)
Emergency Preparedness and Response Requirements

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Special Local Needs -- 24(c) -- Registrations

Under the authority of Section 24(c) of FIFRA, States may register an additional use of a federally registered pesticide product, or a new end-use product to meet special local needs. EPA reviews these registrations, and may disapprove the State registration if, among other things, the use is not covered by necessary tolerances, or the use has been previously denied, disapproved, suspended or canceled by the Administrator, or voluntarily canceled subsequent to a notice concerning health or environmental concerns.

States have been granted the authority by FIFRA to issue special local needs registrations under certain conditions, while EPA is responsible for overseeing the general program. States may register a new end-use product for any use, or an additional use of a federally registered pesticide product, if the following conditions exist:

Related laws and policies
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)

Related environmental requirements
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act text Exit EPA
40 CFR Part 162

More information from EPA 
Guidance Document on Special Local Needs State Registrations 

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Special Review

Special Review is EPA's formal process for determining whether the use of a pesticide poses unreasonable risks to people or the environment. In making this determination, EPA must consider the pesticide's risks and benefits. Special Review is designed to allow formal public input to the decision-making process. A Special Review can result in a decision to cancel, restrict, or continue the pesticide uses in question.

The Special Review process is set in motion when EPA has reason to believe that the use of a registered pesticide may pose significant risks to people or the environment. More than 100 pesticides or groups of closely related pesticides have been evaluated through Special Review. While reregistration applies to all older pesticides, Special Reviews apply to those pesticides of particularly serious concern. Recent Special Review activities have involved the phase-out of cyanazine, a herbicide widely used on corn, and proposed restrictions on dichlorvos (DDVP), an insecticide used on stored agricultural commodities, livestock premises, and many other sites.

Related laws and policies
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)

Related environmental requirements
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act text Exit EPA
Pesticide Regulations: 40 CFR Parts 152 - 180

More information from EPA
Special Review Process

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Spray Drift of Pesticides

The drift of spray from pesticide applications can expose people, wildlife, and the environment to pesticide residues that can cause health and environmental effects and property damage. For these reasons, and because EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) is responsible for regulating the use of pesticides in the United States, OPP has been actively engaged in a number of initiatives to help prevent such problems. These initiatives include broadening EPA's understanding of the science and predictability of spray drift based on many new studies, helping pesticide applicators to reduce spray drift by improving product label use directions, and promoting education and training programs on spray drift for applicators.

More information from EPA
Spray drift of pesticides
EPA Proposes New Pesticide Labeling To Control Spray Drift and Protect Human Health

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Surface and Groundwater Contamination

When pesticide contamination of surface or groundwater occurs, it is the result of either point-source or non-point-source pollution. Point-source pollution comes from a specific, identifiable place (point), such as the movement of pesticides into water from a spill at a mixing and loading site. Non-point-source pollution comes from a wide area, such as the movement of pesticides into streams after broadcast applications to crop areas. Most pesticide movement into water is across the treated surface (runoff) or downward from the surface (leaching). Runoff water may travel into drainage ditches, streams, ponds, or other surface water where the pesticides can be carried great distances offsite. Pesticides that leach downward through the soil sometimes reach the groundwater.

Related topics
Drinking Water and Wells
Surface and Groundwater 

Related laws and policies
Clean Water Act (CWA)
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)
Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)

Related environmental requirements
Clean Water Act text Exit EPA
Clean Water Act Section 319 
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act text Exit EPA
Safe Drinking Water Act text Exit EPA
40 CFR Part 141, Subpart G (PDF) (scroll down) (1 pg, 21.8K) Exit EPA

More information from EPA
Pesticide Water Exposure Models

More information from USDA
Buffer Strips: Common Sense Conservation

More information from Universities Exit EPA
A Farmer's Guide to Agriculture and Water Quality Issues - Pesticides - an educational resource for agricultural producers and agricultural service professionals

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Any pesticide that remains in or on food or feed is called a residue. Residues that remain in food or feed at harvest or slaughter are monitored to avoid hazards to the humans and domestic animals that will eat them. EPA establishes maximum residue levels (tolerances) when registering a pesticide. A tolerance is the maximum amount of pesticide residue that may legally remain on or in treated crops and animals (and animal products such as milk or eggs) that are to be sold for food or feed. Food or feed with residues that lack tolerances or with residues exceeding tolerances are subject to seizure and the applicators or producers are subject to prosecution, if misuse is found.

Related laws and policies
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)

Related environmental requirements
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act text Exit EPA
40 CFR Parts 163.10-163.12
40 CFR Part 180 - Tolerances and Exemptions for Pesticide Chemical Residues in Food
Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act Exit EPA

More information from EPA
Indexes to CFR Part 180 Tolerance Information for Pesticide Chemicals in Food and Feed Commodities
40 CFR Pesticide Chemical Tolerance Index Replaced by Online Indexes
NAFTA Guidance on Data Requirements for Pesticide Import Tolerances
Tolerance Reassessment and Reregistration
Pesticide Products Tolerance Reassessment
The Food and Feed Commodity Vocabulary
Search the Food and Feed Commodity Vocabulary
Updated Schedule for Reregistration and Tolerance Reassessment

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