Key points to remember
- What happened: The EPA has released an update on its work and plans as it nears the October 1 registration review deadline for many pesticides. In accordance with applicable law, the EPA has confirmed that pesticides without a review finalized by this date will remain on the market and may be used according to their current product labels.
- Who is impacted: Companies that produce, distribute and/or sell pesticides in the United States; entities and individuals who use these products.
- What should they consider doing in response: Monitor the EPA’s registration review schedule and updates, including when and how the EPA will adopt “early mitigation” for endangered species and incorporate new endocrine disruptor screening methodologies into its regulatory decisions. review of records.
On September 26, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcement its progress and additional plans to meet the October 1, 2022 deadline to complete the review of registration of certain pesticides under the Federal Insecticides, Fungicides, and Rodenticides Act (FIFRA). In 2007, Congress amended Section 3(g) of FIFRA to mandate periodic review of all pesticides on a 15-year cycle. Known as the “Registration Review,” this program requires the EPA to determine whether previously approved pesticides continue to meet FIFRA registration standards. The registration review is designed to take into account changes in scientific risk assessment capabilities, as well as any changes in pesticide use policies and practices during each 15-year period.
The first mandatory deadline is October 1, 2022. On that date, Congress directed the EPA to review the 726 conventional pesticides, biopesticides, and antimicrobials originally registered before October 1, 2007. Part of the review includes:
- conduct an Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed species assessment and any necessary ESA consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service;
- considering the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP) screening by testing certain substances to determine if they may have an effect in humans similar to an effect produced by natural estrogen or other endocrine effects; and
- perform cumulative risk assessments of pesticides when the EPA has deemed this step necessary based on Cumulative Risk Assessment of Pesticides: Screening Framework.
According to the EPA announcement, the registration review process has been delayed for a number of reasons, including the Agency’s prioritization of antimicrobial actions related to COVID-19, delays in receiving registrant data, the lack of resources to respond to ongoing and growing litigation, and the scientific complexity associated with many pesticides that have yet to undergo registration review. Although the EPA completed 685 human health and ecological effects risk assessment projects (reflecting 94% of the total 726 cases), it issued final review decisions for 151 cases, or 21%. The EPA issued an additional 431 preliminary rulings (60% of the total number of cases). In many cases, these interim decisions include the required mitigations and restrictions on the label so that a pesticide product can continue to be used while the Agency continues to work on the advisory components of the ESA. and EDSP screening that must be completed before its decisions can be fully finalized.
Importantly, the EPA’s announcement confirms that pesticides without a finalized review by October 1 will remain on the market and can continue to be used according to each product’s current label. This is in accordance with the applicable law, Section 3(g) of FIFRA, which prohibits the cancellation of pesticides without following the substantive and procedural requirements of the cancellation of registration provisions of Section 6 of the FIFRA.
In its Sept. 26 announcement, the EPA said it had an “aggressive plan” to review all remaining pesticide cases. According to the EPA, it plans to issue an update in November 2022 outlining how it will adopt early mitigation measures for ESA species as part of registration review decisions to “meaningfully contribute to the meeting [ESA] obligations and facilitate future ESA review. The EPA also plans to release a draft white paper on the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program for public comment, which will discuss the EPA’s use of new approach methodologies that may serve as “more effective” alternatives. current screening methods.
Additionally, the EPA updated its registration review schedule through FY2025 on a quarterly basis and expressed its commitment to good communications with stakeholders and “an open and transparent process,” including opportunities for public comment at most stages of registration review. treat.
Although the EPA has yet to fully meet the October 1 registration review deadline, it has made significant progress and is committed to an “aggressive” plan to complete the review of remaining pesticides. Information, assessments and supporting documentation for each pesticide are available for public review in each case’s filing at regulations.gov. If you don’t know the file number but know the chemical name, you can find more information here. Pesticides that have not been finalized by October 1, 2022 remain on the market and can continue to be used according to their current product labels.