The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made available for a 60-day comment period two draft Pesticide Registration Notices (PR Notices) that are aimed at combating pesticide resistance. The first PR Notice (PR Notice 2016-X) is titled “Draft Guidance for Pesticide Registrants on Pesticide Resistance Management Labeling” and the second PR Notice (PR Notice 2016-XX) is titled “Draft Guidance for Herbicide Resistance Management Labeling, Education, Training, and Stewardship." 

Pesticides can be used to control a variety of pests, such as insects, weeds, rodents, bacteria, and fungi. Over time, many pesticides have gradually lost their effectiveness because pests have developed resistance – a significant decrease in sensitivity to a pesticide, which reduces the field performance of these pesticides. The Agency is concerned about resistance issues and believes that managing the development of pesticide resistance, in conjunction with alternative pest-management strategies and Integrated Pest Management programs, is an important part of sustainable pest management. To address the growing issue of resistance and preserve the useful life of pesticides, the Agency is beginning to embark on a more widespread effort that is aimed at combating and slowing the development of pesticide resistance. The release of these two PR Notices will allow the Agency to communicate (and seek comment) on potential strategies to combat pesticide resistance.

Draft PR Notice 2016-X, which revises and updates PR Notice 2001-5, applies to all conventional agricultural pesticides (i.e., herbicides, fungicides, bactericides, insecticides and acaricides). The updates in PR Notice 2016-X focus on pesticides labels and are aimed at improving information about how pesticide users can minimize and manage pest resistance. Updates fall into the following three categories: (1) additional guidance to registrants and a recommended format for resistance-management statements or information to place on labels; (2) references to external technical resources for guidance on resistance management; and (3) instructions on how to submit changes to existing labels in order to enhance resistance-management language. 

Draft PR Notice 2016-XX, which only applies to herbicides, communicates the Agency’s current thinking and approach to address herbicide-resistant weeds by providing guidance on labeling, education, training, and stewardship for herbicides undergoing registration review or registration (i.e., new herbicide actives, new uses proposed for use on herbicide-resistant crops, or other case-specific registration actions). It is part of a more holistic, proactive approach to slow the development and spread of herbicide-resistant weeds and prolong the useful lifespan of herbicides and related technology. The Agency is focusing on the holistic guidance for herbicides first because (1) herbicides are the most widely used agricultural chemicals, (2) no new herbicide mechanism of action has been developed in the last 30 years, and (3) herbicide-resistant weeds are rapidly increasing. In the future, the Agency plans to evaluate other types of pesticides (e.g., fungicides, bactericides, insecticides, and acaricides) to determine whether and what guidance may be appropriate for these types of pesticides. 

To view and provide comments on these draft Pesticide Registration Notices and any supporting material, please visit EPA-HQ-OPP-2016-0242 for PRN 2016-X and EPA-HQ-OPP-2016-0226 for PRN 2016-XX. The comment period for each closes on August 2, 2016.

See Slowing and Combating Pest Resistance to Pesticides for more information on pesticide resistance management.