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Please note: This summary is provided to help you understand the regulations. Consult the references provided for links to the full text of the regulations.

Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)

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The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) was first passed in 1947 and amended numerous times, most recently by the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996.

FIFRA provides EPA with the authority to oversee the registration, distribution, sale, and use of pesticides. The Act applies to all types of pesticides, including insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides and antimicrobials.

FIFRA primarily regulates the manufacture and registration of pesticides (40 CFR Parts 152 and 156), but important requirements also exist for pesticide users. Your transportation facility may at some time store, apply, and dispose of pesticides. There are many types of pesticides, including herbicides, insecticides, rodenticides, and antimicrobial pesticides (e.g., disinfectants, sanitizers). Pesticides must be applied only according to label directions established by EPA. Using a pesticide in a manner inconsistent with its labeling constitutes misuse and is illegal.

Applicability to Transportation Facilities

Pesticides can be used to control a variety of pests that are associated with transportation facilities in the U.S. including:

  • Birds
  • Weeds
  • Rodents

These pests can be controlled using direct application of the appropriate avicide, herbicide, rodenticide, or insecticide; or by fumigants. Fumigants are chemicals that are in the gas phase at effective temperatures, and they penetrate cracks, crevices, and the commodity being treated. Fumigants, while toxic to insects, rats, birds, mammals, weed seeds, nematodes and fungi, are also highly toxic to humans and may leave toxic residues or tastes or odors. Fumigants can be applied by several methods, are readily available, and are economical to use. They must be applied with the proper protective equipment and by certified applicators.

Antimicrobial pesticides may also be used by transportation facilities. These materials comprise a broad range of products designed to control undesirable microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, or algae on non-living objects (inanimate) or surfaces, and on raw fruits and vegetables. Some antimicrobial pesticides are used to sterilize, disinfect, or sanitize certain items, including food contact areas and may be used in certain internal truck tank cleaning. While primarily regulated under FIFRA, the FQPA changes the jurisdiction of some antimicrobial products from FIFRA to the FQPA. Since late 1996, the Antimicrobials Division within EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) has been responsible for all activities related to the regulation of antimicrobial pesticides.

Requirements for Pesticide Users - Use Restrictions

As a part of the pesticide registration, EPA classifies the product as unclassified, general use, or restricted use (40 CFR Section 152.160(a)). The Administrator may prescribe restrictions relating to the product's composition, labeling, or packaging.

FIFRA requires users of products to follow the labeling directions on each product explicitly. The following statement appears on all EPA-registered product labels under the Directions for Use heading: "It is a violation of federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling."  In other words, over and above the requirements of common sense, transportation facility staffs are required by law to follow the safety precautions and use directions on the labeling of each registered product.  Note in particular:

  • Specified dilution
  • Contact time
  • Method of application

Not following these or any other condition of use covered by the label would be considered misuse of the product.

For pesticides that may cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment, including injury to the applicator, EPA may require that the pesticide be applied either by, or under the direct supervision of, a certified applicator.

FIFRA Common Areas for Inspections

While an EPA inspector is authorized to examine a wide range of documents and operations, he or she will probably be particularly interested in the following features:

  • Personnel protection equipment
  • Pesticide application equipment
  • Pesticide storage areas, including storage containers
  • Cleaning disinfectants and labels

Typical records an EPA Inspector may ask to review for FIFRA compliance include: Records of pesticides purchased (purchase orders, inventory) Pesticide application records

  • Description of the pest control program
  • Certification status of pesticide applicators
  • Pesticide disposal manifests
  • Contract files
  • Recent ventilation rating for pesticide fume hood and pesticide mixing/storage areas

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