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Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA): Overview

Legal research guide for information relating to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, passed in 1947 to amend the Federal Insecticide Act of 1910, 7 U.S.C. § 136 et seq.

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) was passed by Congress in 1947 and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. The legislation marked an extensive update of the Federal Insecticide Act of 1910. FIFRA regulates pesticide distribution, sale, and use. The 1947 legislation vested oversight and registration power with the Secretary of Agriculture. The Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act (FEPCA) passed in 1972 transferred power to uphold the provisions of FIFRA from the Department of Agriculture to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The first iterations of the law focused on labeling and ensuring that chemicals were not adulterated, but did not focus on the environmental and public health effects of pesticide use; this did not come until 1972. There have been other amendments of FIFRA throughout the years including in 1996, with the Food Quality Protection Act, 2007, with the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA), and 2012, with the Pesticide Registration Improvement Extension Act (PRIA3).

Under the provisions of FIFRA, all pesticides distributed or sold in the United States must be registered by the EPA. In order to gain registration, a manufacturer must show that the pesticide will not generally cause adverse effects on the environment. Adverse effects are considered to be an unreasonable risk to man or the environment while taking into consideration the economic, social, and environmental costs and benefits of use of the pesticide; or, dietary risk from residue inconsistent with section 408 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Labeling is one of the important parts of FIFRA. All pesticides must have a label that clearly includes information about the name of the product, name and address of the producer or registrant, net contents, registration number, producer's number, ingredients, warnings, directions for use, and use classification. Additionally, residential-use pesticides must have a warning or the word danger on the packaging, and the packaging itself must be child resistant, so that most children under 5 years old cannot gain access or would have their access to the pesticide impeded. Provisions of FIFRA also protect agricultural workers from dangers associated with use of pesticides through Worker Protection Standards (WPS) and certain requirements.

The Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) regulates the use of pesticides in the United States and determines the maximum levels for pesticide residue in foods.

The resources in this guide should be a starting point in your research. There are other materials available on your topic and this guide is intended to provide you with a good foundation for continuing your research into FIFRA.

Acting Director/Environmental Law Librarian

Deborah L. Heller's picture
Deborah L. Heller
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Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University
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