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Federal Pesticide Laws and Regulations


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Title: Federal Pesticide Laws and Regulations

Federal Pesticide Laws and Regulations
Stephen J. Toth, Jr. Wayne G. Buhler Department
of Entomology Department of Horticultural
Science North Carolina State University North
Carolina State University
Photograph by Ken Hammond
Federal Pesticide Laws and Regulations
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide
Act (FIFRA) regulates the sale and use of
NCSU Communication Services
Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA)
controls pesticide residues in food
Steve Toth
Federal Insecticide Act of 1910
  • To ensure the quality of pesticide chemicals
    purchased by consumers
  • Set standards for manufacture of Paris green,
    lead arsenate, insecticides and fungicides
  • Provided for inspections, seizure of products and

USDA National Agricultural Library
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide
Act of 1947
  • Extended coverage to include herbicides and
  • Required pesticide products to be registered with
    the U. S. Department of Agriculture
  • Established labeling standards for pesticides

FIFRA Amendments 1959 and 1964
  • Added nematicides, plant regulators, defoliants
    and desiccants to the definition of pesticide
    or economic poison
  • Established federal registration numbers and
    signal words on labels
  • Secretary of Agriculture
    can suspend hazardous
    pesticide registrations

Tim McCabe
The Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act
of 1972
  • Pesticides must be registered with the
    newly-created Environmental Protection Agency
  • Pesticides classified by EPA for general
    or restricted use
  • New pesticide registration
    standard to protect public
    health and environment

Ken Hammond
FIFRA Amendments 1975, 1978, 1980 and 1981
  • Improvements in the registration process
  • Considerations of agricultural benefits of
    pesticides in regulatory decisions
  • Conditional registrations
    of pesticides allowed to
    reduce the registration

USDA Agricultural Research Service
Pesticide Reregistra
  • Initiated by EPA in 1975 to bring
    the older pesticide chemicals up
    to current registration standards
  • Special Review to further review those
    pesticides that posed a risk or concern
  • FIFRA amended in 1988 to impose a 9-year schedule
    for the completion of reregistration and
    establish substantial registration fee

The Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural
Pesticides (revised 1992)
  • Product labels modified to restrict entry of
    workers in pesticide-treated fields, specify
    protective clothing, and notify workers of fields
    treated with pesticides
  • Employers must provide
    safety training, sites for
    decontamination, and
    emergency treatment

Ken Hammond
Federal Food and Drug Act of 1906 (Pure Food Law)
  • Fresh, canned or frozen food shipped in
    interstate commerce must be pure and wholesome
  • Enforcement of law was
    the responsibility of the
    Secretary of Agriculture
  • Pesticide residues not

Dave Warren
Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938
  • Authorized the Food and Drug Administration to
    set tolerances for chemicals in food
  • Tolerances established for lead arsenate and
    Paris green on food
  • Coloring required for
    certain pesticides to
    prevent their use as


USDA Agricultural Research Service
Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act 1954 Miller
  • Tolerances required for all pesticides
  • Raw agricultural commodities condemned if they
    contained pesticide residues above FDA tolerance

Fred S. White
Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act 1958 Food
Additives Amendment
  • Covers food additives (i.e., chemicals remaining
    on food after processing)
  • Included the Delaney Clause which established a
    zero tolerance for food additives found to
    cause cancer

Tim McCabe
Delaney Clause Dilemma
  • EPA had negligible risk approach
    to pesticide residues in raw food (cancer
    risk of one-in-one-million)
  • Zero tolerance required for potential
    cancer-causing chemicals in processed food
  • Current technology allows for detection of
    extremely small residue levels
  • Different standards for raw and processed food
    created regulatory problem for EPA

Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act Enforcement
  • EPA establishes tolerances for pesticide residues
    on raw and processed food
  • FDA enforces tolerances on most domestic and
    imported food
  • USDA enforces tolerances on meat, poultry
    and eggs

NCSU Communication Services
USDA Agricultural Research Service
Food Quality Protection Act of 1996
  • Passed unanimously by Congress in July 1996 with
    broad support from industry, agricultural groups,
    environmental and health organizations signed
    into law in August 1996
  • Amended FIFRA
    and FFDCA

Dave Warren
Food Quality Protection Act
Intended to
  • Resolve the Delaney Paradox (zero tolerance for
    suspected carcinogens in processed food)
  • Protect children from
    pesticides in food (1993
    National Academy of
    Science report)
  • Address the issue of
    endocrine disruption
    (1996 book Our

Scott Bauer
Food Quality Protection Act of 1996
  • Established a new, uniform standard for setting
    pesticide residue tolerances in both raw and
    processed food (i.e., a reasonable certainty
    that no harm will result from aggregate
  • Repels the Delaney

Doug Wilson
Food Quality Protection Act of 1996
  • Allows EPA to add 10x safety factor when setting
    pesticide residue tolerances to protect infants,
    children and other sensitive population subgroups

Ken Hammond
Food Quality Protection Act of 1996
  • When setting tolerances, EPA must consider the
    aggregate exposure (food and non-food uses) of
    all pesticides having common mechanism of
    toxicity (e.g., organophosphates)
  • EPA must review all tolerances (about 9,700)
    within 10 years

Charles B. Ford
NCSU Communication Services
Potential Impacts of the Food Quality Protection
  • Elimination or loss of registrations for certain
    classes of pesticides, for example

Organophosphate and carbamate pesticides due to
human toxicity
EBDC fungicides due to possible carcinogenic
effects on humans
Tim McCabe
Potential Impacts of the Food Quality Protection
  • Elimination or loss of registrations for certain
    classes of pesticides (continued)

Organophosphates Disyston Dursban/Lorsban Guthion
Malathion Methyl parathion Monitor Orthene
Carbamates Benlate Furadan Lannate Sevin Vydate
B2 Carcinogens Bravo Captan Dithane Maneb Vapam
Potential Impacts of the Food Quality Protection
  • Registrations for minor crop and specialty uses
    of pesticides dropped by registrants to lower
    risk (i.e., protect registrations with greater
    economic return)

Scott Bauer
Fred S. White
NCSU Communication Services
Potential Impacts of the Food Quality Protection
  • Section 18 registrations (emergency exemptions)
    will be needed more often due to lost
    registrations however, will be harder to obtain

Time-limited tolerance for the pesticide on the
crop is now required before an emergency
exemption is granted
USDA Agricultural Research Service
Progress in the Implementation of the Food
Quality Protection Act
  • EPA Tolerance Reassessment (FQPA Time Frames)
  • 33 by August 3, 1999
  • 66 by August 3, 2002
  • 100 by August 3, 2006
  • EPA met the first tolerance reassessment deadline
    by completing 3,290 tolerance reassessment
    decisions -- over 33 -- by August 3, 1999

Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
  • The Act mandates that employers (including
    farmers) protect their employees from hazards in
    the workplace
  • Includes workers in pesticide manufacturing
    plants, pesticide applicators and farm workers
  • Requires written hazard
    communication plans,
    a material safety
    sheet (MSDS) for each
    hazardous chemical, and

    training of employees
    on protective measures

NCSU Communication Services
Federal Endangered Species Protection Act
  • The Act makes it unlawful to harm any plant or
    animal species listed by the U. S. Fish and
    Wildlife Service as endangered or threatened
  • EPA developed Endangered Species Protection
    in cooperation with USDA, Fish and Wildlife
  • Pesticide use is restricted in
    areas near listed
  • Pesticide labels instruct users
    to consult county
    listing locations where use
    of pesticides is

Tim McCabe
Federal Clean Water Act
  • The Act protects nations waterways from both
    point source and non-point source pollution
  • Point source pollution is controlled by EPA
    through a permit system
  • Amendments in 1987 allow
    for restriction of
    source pollution such as
    agricultural chemical
  • States are required by EPA to
    submit management plans for

    non-point source pollution

Ken Hammond
Safe Drinking Water Act
  • The Act authorizes EPA to establish maximum
    contaminant levels for pesticides in drinking

Ken Hammond
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
  • The RCRA provides EPA with authority to regulate
    storage and disposal of pesticides and their
  • Discarded pesticides and containers can be
    considered solid waste (must meet certain
  • Regulations vary for small quantity and large
    quantity generators of hazardous waste
  • Farmers exempt if they triple-
    rinse used pesticide
    and dispose of them according
    to product label

Tim McCabe
Transportation Safety Act
  • The Act controls all modes of transportation of
    hazardous waste, including pesticides
  • U. S. Dept. of Transportation regulations cover
    handling, shipping, packing and labeling of
    pesticides also covers placarding of vehicles
  • Regulations depend on
    hazard class to which a

Ken Hammond
Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of
  • The Act mandated that USDA require all certified
    pesticide applicators (private as well as
    commercial) to keep records of restricted use
    pesticide applications
  • Records must be kept
    by certified
    for at least two years

    after application

NCSU Communication Services
Literature Cited
  • DiFonzo, C. 1998. Food Quality Protection Act
    First Year Update. Pesticide Research Center,
    Michigan State University Extension. 4 pp.
  • Toth, S. J., Jr. 1996. Federal Pesticide Laws
    and Regulations. Southern Extension and Research
    Activity - Information Exchange Group 1. 4 pp
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