Both the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) (106pp, 743K, about PDF) have provisions restricting or prohibiting disclosure of information routinely contained in Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) records.
Prior to submitting your FOIA request, you will need to decide whether you seek access to information that may be entitled to confidential treatment, or that otherwise may be exempt from disclosure under FOIA. Excluding this information from the scope of your request will significantly speed completion of your request. Such non-responsive information redacted from requested records will be indicated and described.
If you seek access to information that may be entitled to confidential treatment, or that otherwise may be exempt from disclosure under FOIA, your request will initially be denied and you will be afforded the opportunity to appeal the determination. If your request is initially denied for reasons of business confidentiality, we will contact the affected business in writing to ascertain the validity of the claims. Upon receipt of our inquiry, the affected business has 15 working days to substantiate the claim of confidentiality. If the claim is supported, the request is forwarded on automatic appeal to the Office of General Council (OGC) for a final confidentiality determination. If the claim is waived, the information is released to you.
Confidential Business Information (CBI)
Information that may qualify for confidential treatment under FOIA Exemption 4, and its corollary FIFRA section 10(b), is prevalent in OPP records. Examples of information that may be considered confidential include:
- Identity of product inert ingredients;
- Identity of product ingredient source;
- Description of manufacturing or quality control processes, and corresponding impurities;
- Product chemistry registration data;
- Information about a pending registration action;
- Sales, production, or other commercial/financial information.
FOIA exemptions most frequently asserted and the OPP records likely to contain such information are:
- Exemption 3 – Information exempted by another statute (FIFRA).
Disclosure of proprietary studies or data to multinational entities that produce, sell, or distribute pesticides is prohibited by FIFRA section 10(g).
- Exemption 4 – Trade secrets, commercial, or financial information (Confidential Business Information).
Registration jackets, data evaluation records, and product chemistry data frequently contain information that may be entitled to confidential treatment.
- Exemption 5 – Privileged inter- or intra-agency memoranda.
Emails and other internal communications often contain deliberative or otherwise privileged information.
- Exemption 6 – Personal privacy.
Incident reports often contain personal information from citizens.
- Exemption 7 – Records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes.
Registration jackets, emails, and incident reports may contain enforcement sensitive information.