EPA and the states (usually that state's agriculture office) register or license pesticides for use in the United States. EPA receives its authority to register pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). States are authorized to regulate pesticides under FIFRA and under state pesticide laws. States may place more restrictive requirements on pesticides than EPA. Pesticides must be registered both by EPA and the state before distribution.
Some key EPA and state pesticide regulatory activities include:
- Public Participation Processes
- Evaluating Potential New Pesticides and Uses
- New Approaches to Minor Uses
- Providing for Special Local Needs and Emergency Situations
- Review of Registered Pesticides
- Registering Pesticide Producing Establishments
- Enforcing Pesticide Requirements
As part of EPA's ongoing commitment to transparency in its pesticide regulatory decisions, the Agency has developed a process for public participation for potential new pesticide active ingredients and certain new pesticide uses and another process for public involvement in the review of already registered pesticides. Differences between the two processes reflect the particular regulatory requirements of initial registration as compared to registration review.
Federal law requires that before selling or distributing a pesticide in the United States, a person or company must obtain registration, or license, from EPA. Before registering a new pesticide or new use for a registered pesticide, EPA must first ensure that the pesticide, when used according to label directions, can be used with a reasonable certainty of no harm to human health and without posing unreasonable risks to the environment. To make such determinations, EPA requires more than 100 different scientific studies and tests from applicants. Where pesticides may be used on food or feed crops, EPA also sets tolerances (maximum pesticide residue levels) for the amount of the pesticide that can legally remain in or on foods.
Most states conduct a review of the pesticide label to ensure that it complies with federal labeling requirements and any additional state restrictions of use. To learn more about state pesticide requirements, visit the American Association of State Pesticide Control Officials.
Minor uses of pesticides are those for which the total United States production for a crop is fewer than 300,000 acres. Minor use also applies to pesticide uses which do not provide sufficient economic incentive for a registrant to support initial or continuing registrations. This page details EPA's activities toward increasing communication with minor use stakeholders, coordinating activities with between EPA, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and expediting registrations for minor use pesticides.
States have authority under Section 24(c) of FIFRA to add uses to pesticides based on special local needs. States may not register new active ingredients under Section 24(c).
Other federal agencies or an authorized state official may request that EPA allow the use of an unregistered active ingredient or an additional use for a registered pesticide to respond to emergency conditions under Section 18 of FIFRA for a specific period of time. EPA may approve or disapprove this request. The Section 18 database includes records for all Section 18 Emergency Exemptions received by EPA.
EPA ensures that each registered pesticide continues to meet the highest standards of safety to protect human health and the environment. The Agency has several programs to ensure the review of registered pesticides, including reregistration, tolerance reassessment, registration review, and special review.
Pesticide producing establishments must be registered with EPA under Section 7 of FIFRA. EPA regional offices administer the registration of pesticide producing establishments and assign EPA establishment numbers.
States may be delegated primary enforcement responsibility for pesticide use violations. The states have this authority when they have adopted and are implementing pesticide use regulations or when they have entered into a cooperative agreement with EPA for specific pesticide enforcement.
How EPA registers new pesticides
Conventional Pesticides, Biopesticides, Antimicrobials, Registration Fact Sheet, Data Requirements, Registration Service Fees, Pesticide Registration Manual (Blue Book), Registration Application Kit, Registration Workplan, Electronic Data Submission, Templates for Use in Developing Pesticide Study Documents, Pesticide Registration Notices, Special Local Needs Registration (24C), Reduced-Risk Pesticides, Inert Ingredients, Section 18 database, more...
Registering a pesticide-producing establishment and submitting required reports
The review of registered pesticides for compliance with current safety standards
Reregistration Fact Sheet, Registration Review, Reregistration Chemical Status, Reregistration Eligibility Decisions (REDs), Tolerance Reassessment, Registration Review Status, NRDC Consent Decree
Information about how to safely handle and use pesticide products
Consumer Labeling Initiative
Legal requirements governing pesticides
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) , Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), Pesticide Registration Improvement Act of 2003, Endangered Species Act (ESA)
How EPA interacts with other countries in regulating pesticides, import/export of pesticides and treated foods
Import and Export Trade Requirements, International Agreements and Treaties, Work Sharing, Harmonization, and Technical Assistance, more...
Requirements for registrants to report harmful effects of registered pesticides
Final Regulations for Reporting, Guidance on Adverse Effects Reporting, Corrections to Final Regulations, Voluntary Incident Reporting Forms and Instructions, CFR version of Regulations, more...
Restricted and Canceled Uses
Information on pesticides that have been canceled, or that can only be used by specially-trained persons
Restricted Use Products Report, Banned and Restricted Pesticides, more...
How EPA sets tolerances; status of tolerance requests; revocation of tolerances
Tolerance Petitions, Establishment of a Tolerance, Proposed Revocation of a Tolerance, Final Revocation of a Tolerance, more...
Registration Information Sources
Databases with information on pesticides, their uses, names, labels, etc.
Food and Feed Vocabulary, Label Review Manual, Pesticide Data Submitters List, Pesticide Product Label System, more...