Center for Biological Diversity

Ask EPA to require better pesticide product labeling

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Under current Environmental Protection Agency labeling requirements, pesticides producers must only disclose "active" ingredients. An active ingredient is one that will "prevent, destroy, repel, or mitigate any pest." The EPA does not currently require the listing of "inert" ingredients - by definition, those that are "not active" ingredients. An inert ingredient sounds innocent enough, but many of these inert ingredients are actually toxic, carcinogenic, flammable, or otherwise hazardous to human and environmental health. In fact many of the inert ingredients found in pesticides are chemicals that are currently regulated under other federal statutes because the EPA has determined that they are so dangerous.

For example, naphthalene is an inert ingredient. It is also a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, or PAH, and has the ability to destroy red blood cells, disrupt endocrine system functions, and can affect liver and pineal organ function. Naphthalene is just one of hundreds of already identified hazardous chemicals not subject to labeling requirements under FIFRA. The proposed rule contemplates amending the existing labeling regulations under FIFRA to require either that pesticide product labels clearly list any inert ingredients that EPA regulates as a hazardous chemical under any other statutory provisions, or that pesticide product labels simply list all inert ingredients.

Enter your information below and join the Center for Biological Diversity in wholly supporting the EPA's decision to require the disclosure and labeling of these harmful chemicals.

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Please submit comments  by February 22, 2010.

Cropduster photo by Charles O'Rear, USDA.