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Questions about the DfE Logo for Antimicrobial Pesticide Products

The following are some frequently asked questions about the Design for the Environment (DfE) logo for antimicrobial products:

Does EPA consider the DfE logo to be an endorsement?

EPA does not consider the logo to be an endorsement. Similar to saying a pesticide is “EPA registered” because EPA has found it meets the registration standard, the DfE logo indicates that the product has been reviewed and meets the DfE standard.

Is there a limit on the amount/percentage of active ingredient that is acceptable on a product label bearing the DfE logo?

No, however, the criteria that products must meet when submitted for EPA DfE review may effectively limit the amount of active ingredient that can be used. Under the DfE logo review, candidate product formulations are reviewed to determine if they meet the DfE criteria. This includes reviewing the toxicity and physical/chemical properties such as pH of the formula. The amount/percentage of the active ingredient in the formula affect the toxicity and other properties. To date, EPA has determined that products containing the following active ingredients may qualify depending on the specific properties of the formulated product: citric acid, lactic acid, peracetic acid, ethanol, isopropanol, sodium bisulfide, and hydrogen peroxide. EPA approves products based on the formulation. Should the registrant request to change the formula, a new DfE review would be needed to determine if the product still qualifies.

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Can concentrated products meet the criteria to qualify for the DfE logo?

The DfE logo is only allowed on qualifying products after EPA has taken toxicity and pH into consideration. These products must also be approved for EPA registration. The DfE logo is generally only allowed on products that fall in toxicity category III or IV. However, concentrated products that are in toxicity category II may qualify for the DfE logo if the toxicity data for the use dilution product demonstrate category III or IV (on the route of exposure triggering category II).

Concentrates that fall in toxicity category I do not qualify for the DfE logo.

Is information on alternate brand names and supplemental distributors be available?

Yes. The DfE logo for antimicrobial pesticide products web page lists the alternate brand names for qualifying pesticide products as well as supplemental distributer company number and brand names, if applicable.

Supplemental distributor products cannot qualify for the DfE logo on their own. The parent product must qualify for the DfE logo before a supplemental distributor product may add the DfE logo to its label.

How will EPA handle cases of unauthorized use of the DfE logo?

Using the DfE logo on a pesticide product label without having prior approval would be a violation under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), and EPA may take enforcement action. If you see a pesticide product that appears not to comply with this authorized use, please contact EPA’s Regional Office in your area to report potentially illegal products.

Additionally, unauthorized use of an EPA mark, for example placing the DfE logo on a product prior to its being qualified to display the logo, constitutes fraud and is punishable as a crime. It is the responsibility of EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) to investigate allegations of fraud relating to an Agency logo and refer cases to regional and state counsel for prosecution. EPA will bring all cases of fraud involving the logo to the OIG.

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How does a product qualifying for the DfE logo differ from a FIFRA 25(b)-exempt product?

They are similar only in that they both involve lists of qualifying ingredients, but they differ in the process and requirements that registrants must follow. In brief, the DfE logo requires a registered-pesticide candidate product to undergo an assessment against the DfE standard (e.g., to evaluate the toxicity of the active and inert ingredients). If the product qualifies the registrant may add the DfE logo to its label through a label amendment.

In contrast, FIFRA 25(b) products are exempt from registration and are not evaluated by the EPA. Therefore, these products are not eligible for the DfE logo. Any product bearing claims to either control or mitigate microorganisms that pose a threat to human health, including but not limited to disease-transmitting bacteria or viruses, or claims to control insects or rodents carrying specific diseases, including but not limited to ticks that carry Lyme disease, are not exempt under the 25(b) Program (40 CFR Part 152.25 (f)(3)(ii)).

Is the DfE logo allowed on adjuvants?  

Currently antimicrobial products and a limited number of biopesticides are eligible to apply for the DfE logo. Adjuvants packaged with a pesticide are eligible for the DfE logo if both the pesticide and adjuvant meet the logo criteria. An adjuvant that is used in non-pesticidal products may qualify for DfE; however, to date, EPA has not reviewed any adjuvants under the DfE standard. Adjuvants are a class of products -- usually additives intended to be combined with a pesticide -- that are regulated by some states. 

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