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How are Pesticides Regulated When the Product Does Not Kill the Pest?

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How are Pesticides Regulated When the Product Does Not Kill the Pest?


According to California laws on pesticide regulations, if a product (any product) states that it "helps remove" something, but does not kill any bacteria, fungi, or microorganism; are we in violation of any pesticide law?


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is primarily responsible for regulating pesticides in the United States. EPA has published a fact sheet that explains what types of claims would require that a cleaning product be registered as a pesticide under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). FIFRA defines a "pesticide" as "any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest." Pesticide products that are intended for a pesticidal purpose must be registered unless they are exempted from registration under Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) sections 152.20, 152.25 or 152.30. The fact sheet provides examples of claims on cleaning products that EPA considers pesticidal and ones it does not consider pesticidal. For example, any claim that a cleaning product removes allergens associated with a pest, removes pests, or removes pest habitats would be considered pesticidal by EPA. On the other hand, claims that a cleaning product removes stains, dirt, dust, debris, or sludge are not considered pesticidal by EPA. However, please be aware that EPA is now re-examining this exemption—so please stand by.

In California, the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) regulates pesticides and is vested by EPA with primary responsibility to enforce federal pesticide laws in California. More information on the regulations of pesticides in California can be found on DPR's website. Please consult legal counsel to help determine your specific legal obligations.

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