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EPA Proposes Updates to List of Pests of Significant Health Importance

For Release: November 3, 2020

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released an updated list of pests of significant health importance for public review and comment.

Federal law requires EPA, in coordination with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to identify pests of significant public health importance and in coordination with the Public Health Service, to develop and implement programs to improve and facilitate the safe and necessary use of chemical, biological, and other methods to combat and control such pests of public health importance. The list serves as a useful tool for private and public organizations including local or state governments, departments of public health, pesticide registrants, and non-governmental organizations when making decisions and plans about future public health actions.

Since this list’s original publication in 2002, new vector-borne diseases have been identified and pests that had been previously thought of as benign or nuisance pests have been found to adversely impact public health. EPA, CDC and USDA collaborated to update the list to incorporate significant changes regarding vector-borne diseases and related research, and eliminate gaps or ambiguities in the current pests list.

The draft Pesticide Registration Notice more precisely describes both the pests and expected public health impacts and adds several new pests (ex. brown dog tick) and public health impacts (ex. Zika fever and coronaviruses like SARS-CoV-2). Other pests have been renamed or grouped with similar species or removed altogether (ex. hobo spider).

The list does not affect the regulatory status of any registration or application for registration of any pesticide product.

EPA will take public comment on the draft Pesticide Registration Notice during a 60-day public comment period ending on January 3, 2021 via (Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OPP-2020-0260).