Pesticides Regulations & Regulatory Watch

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) regulates the use and sale of pesticides. In addition, states and local governments may impose additional requirements.

Pesticides Regulations & Regulatory Watch

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) regulates the use and sale of pesticides, and is meant to protect human health and preserve the environment.
Pesticides, including insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides, are substances that are intended to mitigate pests. Since pesticides by their nature cause adverse effects in organisms, FIFRA mandates the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to oversee the sale and use of pesticides on the federal level.

In addition, states and local governments may impose additional requirements that regulate the sale or use of pesticides.

Pesticides are also regulated as a type of universal waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
RCRA imposes labeling, accumulation time, and handling requirements on pesticide universal waste handlers. Therefore, affected facilities should be aware of current federal and state laws that govern the generation or storage of pesticide universal waste.

Why is it important to comply with the FIFRA pesticide regulations?

Since pesticides are designed to kill or harm organisms, they are often inherently dangerous to human health and the environment.
Overexposure to pesticides can cause disease in the human reproductive, endocrine, and nervous systems. Pesticides also have the potential to pollute soil, air, and groundwater with toxic or poisonous substances.

Therefore, it is important to comply with FIFRA regulations and ensure safe pesticide application and management. An active regulatory watch is necessary to comply with all these regulations.

Important FIFRA pesticide provisions

The primary provisions of FIFRA can be summarized as Pesticide Registration;Labeling Requirements;Pesticide Containment and Pesticide Import and Export.

Pesticide Registration

FIFRA requires all new pesticides in the United States to be registered with the EPA. Each registration must specify on which sites or crops the pesticide will be used and must be supported by extensive research data. The applicant (usually the manufacturer) must demonstrate that the pesticide will perform its intended function, will comply with the FIFRA labeling requirements, and will not generally cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment. If the pesticide may cause unreasonable adverse effects when used as directed, the EPA must classify the product as “restricted use” and limit the pesticide’s use by certified product applicators.

In addition to requiring the registration of new pesticide products, FIFRA also requires that pesticide-producing facilities register with the EPA. Registration applications must include the types and amounts of pesticides being produced. Furthermore, these facilities must allow representatives of the EPA to inspect their operations and confirm that their site is complying with FIFRA requirements.

Labeling Requirements

FIFRA imposes labeling requirements that limit the conditions in which a particular pesticide may be applied, mixed, stored, or used. Labeling requirements are also found in the FIFRA provisions that pertain to pesticide container specifications and disposal.

Pesticide Containment

In 2006, the EPA promulgated final rules known as “Standards for Pesticide Containers and Containment”, which provide pesticide container design standards. These regulations also provide procedures for the removal of pesticides from containers prior to disposal. These rules apply to pesticide manufacturers, refillers, sellers, and applicators.

Pesticide Import and Export

Imported pesticides, which are subject to the same testing and registration FIFRA requirements as domestic products, may be barred from entering the United States if the product does not comply with FIFRA. While exports of pesticides are largely excluded from FIFRA regulation, manufacturers of exported pesticides must still adhere to certain recordkeeping, labeling and data requirements that pertain to safe pesticide storage, disposal, handling, and transportation.

Importance of implementing an active regulatory watch on the pesticide regulations

Since it was enacted in 1910, FIFRA has undergone several regulatory amendments. Many pesticides that had been registered were required to be re-registered in 1972, 1988, and 1996 to meet current health and safety standards. Furthermore, since the EPA has discretion to impose use restrictions on any pesticides found to cause potential unreasonable adverse effects when used as directed, facilities that have operations involving pesticides should be aware of the latest pesticide management requirements and use restrictions.

In addition to the federal FIFRA standards, many states have enacted their own regulations that govern the sale and use of pesticides. These states may have their own pesticide registration procedures as well. An active regulatory watch regarding pesticides is beneficial to remain informed of any amendments involving the sale or use of pesticides at both the federal and state level.


What is a Pesticide ?

A pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances intended to prevent, destroy, repel, or mitigate any pest. Pesticides include insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides.

What is the Universal Waste ?

Types of hazardous waste with alternative specific management standards, such as batteries, pesticides, mercury-containing equipment, and lamp bulbs. Often, states will include additional materials in the definition of “universal waste.”

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