Significant Changes To FIFRA Proposed

---This is written by NAICC president Matt Winslow and Rick Kesler---

New legislation has been introduced in both houses of Congress that would effectively replace key parts of the Federal Insecticide Rodenticide and Fungicide Act (FIFRA). The bill is called the FIFRA Reform and Children’s Health Protection Act of 2020 (H.R. 7940, S, 4406) and was sponsored by Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., and Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M. If enacted, then this legislation would in effect replace EPA science-based risk/benefit procedures with a more European Union (EU)-type hazard-based process. 

The NAICC supports the current pesticide labeling procedures and the regulatory processes conducted by the EPA using the FIFRA guidelines. 

Product Bans And A Focus On Local Controls

With the proposed legislation, some products, such as organophosphates, neonicotinoids and paraquat, would be banned. There would be a suspension of pesticides deemed unsafe by the EU or Canada until they are thoroughly reviewed by the EPA. A petition process would be created to enable individual citizens to petition the EPA to identify pesticides so that these pesticides could not remain on the market indefinitely. Local communities would be able to enact protective legislation and other policies without being vetoed or preempted by state law. The last two points would tie up EPA and make it respond to all petitions. If the agency didn’t respond in time, then there would be a temporary suspension of product registration. This bill would also eliminate the use of existing product stocks when a registration cancelation is necessary.  

Trying To Fix What’s Not Broken 

In 1947, FIFRA was enacted by Congress to employ a strategy that mitigated issues related to safety toward pesticides used for agricultural and home purposes. In 1972, FIFRA paved the way that began the regulatory processes that we currently employ today within our industry to ensure that pesticides are safe to the human public within the manner and the amounts that they are used. The EPA became the authority to oversee this testing. The processes that are currently employed for a pesticide to come to market make the U.S. the world leader in determining the safe use of chemicals.  

Time For Outreach

CropLife America (CLA) is taking the lead on this through the Pesticide Policy Coalition (PPC) and has contacted NAICC to keep us informed of their actions and ask us to sign a letter that will be sent to all members of Congress showing support for FIFRA and opposition to the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act. They are also asking our membership to contact legislators and voice individual support for FIFRA and opposition to this newly proposed act. 

Make New Friends

CLA is stressing it is very important to not limit our contacts to our traditional ag friends in Congress. Many of the legislators that may support the act are not familiar with agriculture and unaware of what this bill would mean for the industry.  

In the words of a CLA bulletin, “the legislation as introduced would gut decades of federal regulation and scientific progress, undermining the work of EPA’s career scientists in the evaluation of pesticide safety and oversight of pesticide registration and use.”