Guidance on FIFRA 24(c) Registrations
24 (c) Addendum
This Question & Answer document is an addendum to EPA's guidance to states regarding the issuance of special local needs registrations under section 24(c) of FIFRA.
Question: May an applicant include on proposed 24(c) labeling a provision that requires a grower, as a condition of lawful use of a product, to waive any right he or she may have to bring a civil action against the applicant? If the answer is no, what sort of labeling statements may the applicant make with regard to the existence of private liability agreements or to disclaim liability generally?
Answer: EPA believes that products bearing labeling that requires growers to waive their rights to bring suit as a condition of lawful use of a product are not consistent with FIFRA and should not, therefore, be registered by states pursuant to section 24(c). EPA believes the inclusion of such statements on product labeling may constitute misbranding pursuant to section 2(q)(1)(A) of FIFRA and 40 CFR 156.10(a)(5), because these statements may give growers the misleading impression that federal authorities have sanctioned such labeling and support the imposition of civil and/or criminal penalties against growers who choose to use a pesticide without first agreeing to waive their rights to bring civil actions for damages resulting from the use of the pesticide. The FIFRA enforcement scheme should not be used, nor does EPA believe it was intended to be used, as a means of enforcing private agreements regarding product liability. For this reason, EPA does not believe the use of such provisions on 24(c) labeling is consistent with the purposes of FIFRA.
EPA does not object to statements on 24(c) product labeling that merely reference the existence of private liability agreements, or that disclaim liability to the extent permitted by law. These statements are distinguishable from those discussed above in that they do not require that growers sign away their legal rights as a condition of lawful use of the product. However, such statements must not provide false or misleading information to growers about the legal remedies available to growers in the event growers suffer damage resulting from the use of the product. As a general rule of thumb, EPA believes that any such statements should clearly indicate that they represent the position of the registrant only, or should be otherwise qualified to indicate clearly that the limitations on liability provided on the label may be inapplicable if a grower's state does not allow the limitations on damages asserted on the label.