Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act
The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) is the principal governmental statute that regulates the use of pesticides to destroy, mitigate, or repel insects, pathogens, weeds, rodents, and other pest organisms. It licenses the use of these pesticides for intentional release into the environment. The law, first enacted in 1947 and amended in 1959 and 1961, requires that chemical pesticides be registered before they can be sold or distributed in interstate commerce. The rules were amended further in 1964, partially in response to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, to cover a variety of potentially harmful environmental effects, such as improved labeling of products with precautionary information. In 1972, 1978, and 1998, additional modifications of the act mandated the provision of data by the manufacturers on all potential health and environmental impacts of the chemicals.
When it appears that a pesticide may cause unreasonable environmental risks, a review process is initiated to consider general ecotoxicological and environmental testing data, at various tiers or ecological trophic levels, on the environmental effects and fate of the pesticide. This review includes a risk assessment study to determine whether the continued use of a pesticide presents unreasonable environmental risks. The onus is on the manufacturer to demonstrate that the contested product can be used in regulated ways, with no unreasonable adverse environmental effects, or all or some registered uses may be withdrawn.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)." Available from http://www.epa.gov/pesticides .
Clive A. Edwards