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On December 31, 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to clarify its labeling requirement for disclosure of all active and inert ingredients in “minimum risk pesticide products,” exempt from registration under Section 25 (b) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). EPA proposed to reorganize the list of eligible active and inert ingredients by adding identifiers that will clarify for the public, and more importantly for federal and state inspectors, which ingredients are permitted in minimum risk pesticide products. The modification would require labels to use common chemical names in the list of ingredients as well as the contact information for the manufacturer.

The lack of clarity on minimum risk pesticide product labels in the past has made it difficult for enforcement officials who must use their own judgment on the applicability of vague descriptors such as cedar leaf oil and cedar wood oil, which are exempt under the current listing of “Cedar Oil” under CFR Section 152.25. While EPA has attempted to improve labeling clarity of minimum risk pesticide products by updating its website, stakeholders have found the measure insufficient.

The importance of the restrictions to ingredients used in minimum risk pesticide products cannot be understated. Enforcement officers use those ingredients listed under 40 CFR Section 152.25 (f) as a guideline for exemption of minimum risk pesticide products. These inert ingredients are described as “substances for which there is no information to indicate that there is a basis for concern.” While no new active ingredients have been added since the bill was adopted in 1996, several new inert ingredients on List 4(A) have been added. This in turn has obfuscated exactly what inert ingredients are actually eligible for exemption as ingredients in minimum risk pesticide products. Until now EPA has simply responded by updating its website.

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