The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking steps to remove 72 chemicals from its list of substances approved for use as inert ingredients in pesticide products. EPA is requesting public comment on this proposal. The US EPA is responsible for protecting human health and the environment by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress.
Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said, “We are taking action to ensure that these ingredients are not added to any pesticide products unless they have been fully vetted by EPA. This is the first major step in our strategy to reduce risks from pesticides containing potentially hazardous inert ingredients.”
Most pesticide products contain a mixture of different ingredients. Ingredients that are directly responsible for controlling pests such as insects or weeds are called active ingredients. An inert ingredient is any substance that is intentionally included in a pesticide that is not an active ingredient.
EPA is taking this action in response to petitions by the Center for Environmental Health, Beyond Pesticides, Physicians for Social Responsibility and others. These groups asked the agency to issue a rule requiring disclosure of 371 inert ingredients found in pesticide products. EPA developed an alternative strategy designed to reduce the risks posed by hazardous inert ingredients in pesticide products more effectively than by disclosure rulemaking.
Many of the 72 inert ingredients targeted for removal, are on the list of 371 inert ingredients identified by the petitioners as hazardous. The 72 chemicals are not currently being used as inert ingredients in any pesticide product. Chemicals such as, turpentine oil and nitrous oxide are listed as candidates for removal.