Internet Pesticide Sales: The Regulatory Challenges of E-Commerce
Note: This information is provided for reference purposes only. Although the information provided here was accurate and current when first created, it is now outdated.
Pesticides are now being sold legally and illegally over the internet through a variety of consumer websites, such as company-owned websites, shopping portals, auction websites, and by private individuals who have their own websites. EPA is now in the process of identifying the type of sales that pose risk concerns, and the extent to which FIFRA violations are occurring. EPA is working with Association of American Pesticide Control Official's (AAPCO) IT Committee to scope out the extent of e-commerce problems and considering appropriate solutions for managing these problems over the short- and long-term.
Where We Are Today
- EPA and States organized a one-day effort, called Surf Day, to gather information about the extent and nature of pesticides in e-commerce. The information collected during this organized day of websurfing will provide a baseline for issue/problem identification, and will help focus the efforts of EPA and the States in the future. A report of the Surf Day findings is being developed.
- AAPCO's IT Committee has initiated a strategy to assist website owners in understanding how pesticides can be sold in compliance with federal and state pesticide statutes. Through the use of a website and database, pesticide regulators can send an advisory letter to proprietors of websites that provides information about pesticide regulations. Regulators can see which websites have been contacted, and the website can be re-visited to see if the appropriate changes have been made. This system is being developed in cooperation with EPA, States, and Purdue University's Center for Environmental and Regulatory Information Systems. http://aapco.ceris.purdue.edu
- EPA is in the process of identifying the education and outreach materials that need to be developed that explain
- the pesticide program to companies and individuals wishing to buy or sell pesticides over the internet. This guidance would be posted on EPA's website.
- E-commerce presents some new challenges for enforcement, but the basic principles of regulation and enforcement remain the same. FIFRA does not to contain any limitation restricting its jurisdiction over "sale or distribution" based on where the sale or distribution takes place.
- EPA plans to play a significant role in e-commerce enforcement. Because so much of e-commerce is interstate, EPA is often better positioned than an individual state to take enforcement action.
- EPA's first enforcement priority in e-commerce, as in traditional commerce, is to get potentially dangerous products off the market and/or out of the wrong hands. The Agency's enforcement efforts to date have been directed at websites selling RUPs to unlicenced applicators and/or in states where they are not authorized to sell, websites selling products making public health claims, and websites selling canceled and suspended products.
For more information, please contact:
Toxics and Pesticide Enforcement Division (OECA)
John Neylan, Chief Agriculture Branch, Tim Creger, Chair, AAPCO IT Committee
Agriculture and Ecosystem Division (OECA) Pesticides Program, Nebraska Dept. of Ag.