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Regulation of Pesticides with Public Health Uses

EPA is responsible under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) for regulating pesticides with public health uses, as well as ensuring that these products do not pose unintended or unreasonable risks to humans, animals and the environment.

  • Registration - Through registration, EPA evaluates pesticides to ensure they can be used effectively without posing unreasonable risks to human health and the environment. Read more about pesticide registration.
  • Registration Review - Through registration review, EPA reviews registered pesticides every 15 years to ensure they meet current scientific and regulatory standards. Read more about registration review.
  • Emergency Exemptions and Special Local Needs - In cases where unexpected public health issues arise, EPA works to make pesticides available to states or federal agencies for emergency and special local need uses. See information about:

Although pesticides with public health uses follow the same regulatory process as agricultural chemicals, EPA recognizes that there may be some differences, including:

  • Exposure - Pesticide use as part of a public health program may lead to increased exposure for large segments of the population, including exposure to sensitive subpopulations. EPA carefully evaluates human and ecological risks from exposure to pesticides, including bystander and occupational exposure. EPA places special emphasis on children's health in making regulatory decisions about all pesticides, including pesticides with public health uses.
  • Efficacy - EPA requires scientific evidence that registered products sold to control pests known to impact public health (such as those that carry West Nile virus, Lyme disease, and microbial pests) are effective against the target pest.
  • Benefits - EPA considers the benefits from public health pesticides when making regulatory decisions. Many different stakeholders, including our federal partners, supply benefits information. CDC is an important source of benefits information for public health pesticides. EPA has been formally consulting with CDC since 2000.

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