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Inspections under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act

Inspections are the core of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) compliance monitoring program. FIFRA inspections are conducted by federal, state, and tribal inspectors. 

FIFRA inspectors:

  • conduct inspections to monitor compliance and detect violations
  • collect evidence necessary to take appropriate enforcement actions

Types of Inspections

  • Producer Establishment Inspections

    A producer establishment inspection (PEI) is an inspection of an establishment where pesticides or devices are produced and held for distribution or sale. During PEI inspections:

    • products
    • product labels
    • refillable and non-refillable containers
    • containment, and
    • records

    are examined for compliance.  Inspection of the books and records required by Section 8 also is part of these inspections.

  • Use Inspections

    A use inspection is typically an observation of an actual pesticide application or an inspection following an application.  Use inspections include the many facets of use of a pesticide, including:

    • storing,
    • handling,
    • mixing, 
    • loading, and 
    • disposal.

    Pre- and post-application activities are appropriate for inspection.  Use inspections should be used to determine label comprehension and directions for use compliance by applicators.  Use inspections can also detect non-compliant labels in the channels of trade or being used by consumers.  An experimental use permit inspection in conducted to determine compliance with an experimental use permit and may be an actual observation of an application or an inspection of records.

    Use inspections are generally classified as agricultural or non-agricultural:

    • Agricultural inspections include the inspection of pesticide applications in conjunction with the production of agricultural commodities.  Agricultural commodities are defined in 40 CFR section 171.2(a)(5) as, "[a]ny plant, or part thereof, or animal or animal product, produced by a person (including farmers, ranchers, vineyardists, plant propagators, Christmas tree growers, aquaculturists, floriculturists, orchardists, foresters, or other comparable persons) primarily for sale, consumption, propagation, or other use by man or animals."  Worker Protection Standard (WPS) inspections are a type of agricultural inspection conducted to monitor compliance with the WPS requirements.
    • Non-agricultural inspections include the inspection of non-agricultural pesticide applications such as pest control in industrial or residential settings.
  • Worker Protection Standard (WPS) Inspections

    Agricultural establishments may include farms, nurseries, greenhouses and forests. Routine WPS agricultural-use inspections are conducted at agricultural establishments to ensure users of pesticides subject to WPS comply with requirements. The inspections involve examining practices of agricultural and handler employers and their employees to assess compliance with:

    • product-specific worker protection requirements included on product labeling, such as, personal protective equipment, restricted entry intervals, and oral and posted warnings used at the establishment
    • generic WPS requirements such as pesticide safety information, decontamination supplies, safety training, emergency assistance and worker notification requirements

    The goal in conducting routine WPS agricultural-use inspections is to monitor employer compliance. WPS inspections are generally performed during the significant periods of the agricultural production season.

  • Marketplace Inspections

    Normally conducted at places of pesticide sales, marketplace inspections ensure industry compliance with product registration, formulation, packaging and labeling requirements and that products are correctly distributed to the channels of trade. In addition, these inspections help EPA and its regulatory partners determine whether procedures for the disposal and storage of pesticides, pesticide containers and pesticide-related wastes are being followed.

    Inspections include:

    • current registered products
    • potential unregistered products
    • cancelled and suspended products
  • For Cause Inspections

    An inspection which is initiated in response to a:

    • complaint
    • damage report
    • referral or tip, or
    • known or suspected noncompliance.
  • Import and Export Inspections

    Import and export inspections ensure that pesticides and devices imported into or exported from the United States comply with the requirements of FIFRA. Imported pesticides and devices that are found not to be in compliance must be detained and, if those items are not brought into compliance, refused entry.

    Export inspections generally are conducted at producing establishments, but also may occur during port visits or marketplace inspections where pesticides are stored pending export. Imported pesticides and devices can be inspected at different Ports of Entry or other locations depending on how the shipment arrived in the United States and status of the shipment.

  • Experimental-Use Permit Inspections

    Experimental-Use Permit inspections determine whether the terms and conditions of the permit are adequate to avoid unreasonable adverse effects on the environment and whether the terms and conditions of the permit are being met.

  • Certified Applicator License and Records Inspections

    Normally conducted at a pesticide applicator's place of business, this type of inspection determines if:

    • the applicator is properly certified and/or licensed
    • the required records are being maintained
    • the applicator is applying pesticides only in those areas for which certification has been issued
    • the records indicate that all applications have been made in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations
  • Restricted-Use Pesticide Dealer Inspection

    Restricted-Use Pesticide (RUP) Dealer inspections are conducted to determine compliance with FIFRA record keeping requirements regarding sales and distribution of RUPs and to ensure that RUPs are sold only to certified applicators or non-certified persons for application by a certified applicator who is specifically certified for use of the particular RUP.

  • Cancellation and Suspension Inspections

    Cancellation and suspension inspections determine compliance with the EPA's orders concerning suspended and/or canceled products. EPA's policy is to follow up all suspension and/or cancellation orders with the appropriate surveillance and regulatory action, as dictated by the nature of the order. Compliance monitoring strategies are generally developed for each suspension and/or cancellation order.