All synthetic pesticide products available for use for do-it-yourself or professional pest control are reviewed and regulated by federal and state agencies. This regulation process protects public and environmental health.

Federal Review and Regulation

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides federal regulation and requires registration for all pesticides bought, sold, and used in the United States under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Exceptions to registration under FIFRA apply to minimum risk pesticides, which are determined to pose little or no harm to human or environmental health.

The EPA works with other federal and state agencies to review and evaluate new pesticides and new uses for existing pesticides, and determine the risk-benefit analysis of all products.

EPA areas of focus include:

  • Evaluation of ingredients, potential use, storage and disposal
  • Evaluation of potential health and environmental risks
  • Review and approval of labels for clear directions
  • Enforcement of compliance with federal and state laws

Once a company begins the registration process, it can take up to 8-10 years before a new product is permitted for sale and use as there are many steps and check points within the registration and approval process. Few other classes of chemicals are as extensively tested and evaluated before being registered and sold.

State Regulation

State governments also play a key part in regulating pesticides, as they can establish regulations and registrations above and beyond federal regulations. They are also primarily responsible for enforcing regulations to ensure products comply with state and federal law.

Examples of states’ regulatory role and offerings include:

  • Applicator certification/licensing, annual continuing education unit (CEUs)
  • Product review to determine if and how products can be used in the state
  • Education for homeowners/applicators on Integrated Pest Management
  • Rules/regulations and enforcement with inspectors employed by the state

Together with the EPA, states help to continuously review and evaluate pesticides to ensure they meet FIFRA standard based on the most advance science and technology available.

Even after products are tested, approved, and available for customers and applicators, proper application according to label direction and safety should always be top of mind.