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Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act

 The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) was first passed in 1947.  It established procedures for registering pesticides with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and established labeling provisions.  FIFRA underwent major revision in 1972.  The law has been amended numerous times since 1972 including some significant amendments in the form of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996.  In 1972 FIFRA transferred responsibility of pesticide regulation to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and shifted emphasis to protection of the environment and public health.

In its current form, FIFRA mandates that EPA regulate the use and sale of pesticides to protect human health and preserve the environment.  Under FIFRA, the EPA is specifically authorized to:

  • strengthen the registration process by shifting the burden of proof to the chemical manufacturer,
  • enforce compliance against banned and unregistered products, and
  • promulgate the regulatory framework missing from the original law.

FIFRA provides EPA with the authority to oversee the sale and use of pesticides.  However, because FIFRA does not fully preempt state/tribal or local law, each state/tribe and local government may also regulate pesticide use.

FIFRA established a set of pesticide regulations:

  • FIFRA established registration for all pesticides, to determine the effectiveness for its intended use, appropriate dosage, and hazards of the particular material. When registered, a label is created to instruct the final user the proper usage of the material. If instructions are ignored, users are liable for any negative consequences. 
  • FIFRA established a system of examination and certification both at the private level and at the commercial level for applicators who wish to purchase and use restricted use pesticides.  The distribution of restricted pesticides is also monitored.
  • The EPA has different review processes for three categories of pesticides: antimicrobials, biopesticides, and conventional pesticides.  The three categories have a similar application process, but have different data requirements and review policies.

Inside Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act