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EPA Reduces Burden, Promotes Innovation with Proposed Action on Chitosan

10/08/2020
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON (October 8, 2020) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking comments on a proposal to add chitosan (Poly-D-Glucosamine) to its list of active ingredients eligible for EPA's minimum risk pesticide exemption. By adding this naturally-occuring substance to this list, the agency can save taxpayers and stakeholders time and money through waived Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) registration requirements for certain products containing chitosan. For uses as a plant growth regulator, chitosan is applied to treat field crops, ornamentals, turf, home gardens, and nurseries.

“Chitosan poses no concern to human health and the environment when used as a pesticide so it makes sense to add it to our minimum risk pesticide list,” said EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. “By doing this, we can free up precious agency resources to review pesticides of higher concern and save taxpayers and industry time and money through a reduced regulatory burden.”

“There’s no limit to Alaskan ingenuity when it comes to developing innovative seafood byproducts,” said Chris Hladick, EPA Regional Administrator in Seattle. “By expanding the use of safer, naturally derived products like this, we are helping support local jobs and the economy, protecting the environment, and turning what was once a waste stream into a value-added product. That’s hard to beat!”

“Today's proposed action to add chitosan to the minimum risk pesticide list will benefit both the environment and domestic businesses,” said U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK). Currently, almost all chitosan used in America is imported, and this change will greatly increase opportunity for domestic production. This proposed regulation of chitosan as a minimum risk pesticide also offers a unique opportunity to American seafood producers to increase full-utilization of their catch, while reducing waste streams. As the EPA has outlined, this change will reduce economic burdens on industries nationwide, from agriculture to water treatment, reduce government spending, and provide a safer and more sustainable domestic source of chitosan to support its many industry applications.”

Chitosan is a naturally occurring substance found in the cell walls of all crustaceans, most fungi, and the exoskeletons of most insects. It is currently registered with EPA as a fungicide, antimicrobial agent, and plant growth regulator that boosts the ability of plants to defend against fungal infections. It has been more than a decade since a substance was last added to the agency's Minimum Risk Exemption List.

After reviewing the latest available science, consulting with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel , and ensuring that all criteria are met,  EPA is now proposing to add chitosan to its list of active ingredients eligible for EPA’s minimum risk pesticide exemption. EPA estimates the cost savings of this action could be up to $116,000 initially and about $3,400 per year thereafter.

The public comment period will be open for 60 days in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2019-0701 at www.regulations.gov and will close on November 30, 2020.

EPA created the exemption for minimum risk pesticides in 1996 to reduce the cost and regulatory burdens on businesses and the public for pesticides posing little or no risk to human health and the environment. For more information about conditions to qualify for this exemption, visit https://www.epa.gov/minimum-risk-pesticides .

To read the proposal, visit: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/proposal-add-chitosan-list-active-ingredients-permitted-exempted-minimum-risk