EPA Issues Update on Pesticide Registration Review Deadline
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is sharing an update on its progress in meeting the October 1, 2022, Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) pesticide registration review deadline for the 726 pesticide cases registered before October 2007, which includes 140 antimicrobial pesticides such as disinfectants and sanitizers intended for use on inanimate surfaces.
EPA stressed that pesticides without finalized review as of the October 1 deadline, including the close to 30% of the antimicrobial pesticides slated for review, can remain on the market and be used according to the product label.
That said, EPA used the opportunity to affirm its aggressive plan to review all remaining pesticide cases and issue decisions to protect humans, endangered species, and the environment, while providing pesticide users with predictability about the legal status of pesticides in registration review.
Background. In 2007, an amendment to FIFRA formalized a requirement that EPA review each registered pesticide every 15 years to determine whether pesticides continue to meet the standard for registration—that they do not present unreasonable adverse effects on human health or the environment. This amendment set the first registration review deadline as October 1, 2022.
During the registration review process, EPA has completed work plans, draft risk assessments, proposed interim decisions/proposed decisions and interim decisions/final decisions. There are 726 conventional, biopesticide and antimicrobial pesticide cases that were registered before October 1, 2007. In December 2021, EPA announced an updated registration review schedule through fiscal year 2025 and has been updating the schedule quarterly.
Antimicrobials. Of the 726 total pesticide cases, 140 are antimicrobial pesticides, which are defined as pesticides that are intended to disinfect, sanitize, reduce, or mitigate growth or development of microbiological organisms, or prevent contamination caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, algae or slime. For these cases, EPA has:
- Completed final or interim decisions for 71% of antimicrobial cases.
- Cancelled some or all uses in more than 30% of antimicrobial cases with interim or final decisions.
- Finalized human health and/or ecological risk mitigation for nearly 30% of antimicrobial cases with interim or final decisions.
- Increased personal protective equipment requirements and/or engineering controls for more than 65% of antimicrobial cases where EPA required mitigations to protect human health.
EPA acknowledged that its track record related to antimicrobial pesticides has suffered due in large part to the demands of focusing resources to respond swiftly to COVID-19 antimicrobial actions, delays in receiving data from registrants, a lack of resources to respond to ongoing and increasing litigation, and the scientific complexity associated with many of the antimicrobial pesticides yet to go through the registration review process. In addition, EPA also must comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP) obligations and complete cumulative risk assessments before its registration review work can be finalized.
Nonetheless, the agency stressed that pesticides, including antimicrobials, without finalized review as of the October 1, 2022, deadline can remain on the market and be used according to the product label.