Federal lawsuit claims US EPA has become ‘inert’ when it comes to judging pesticide ingredients | Goldberg Segalla

Last week, four environmental groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to assess the impact of pesticides on hard data in its approval process.

In 1987, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) created lists of pesticides, dividing inert ingredients into four categories based on their toxicological concern; List 1-Inerts of Toxicological Concern, List 2-Potentially Toxic/High Priority Inerts for Testing, List 3-Inerts of Unknown Toxicity and List 4-Inerts of Low Concern.

While this list clearly demonstrates that the EPA has been aware for decades of the potential of inert ingredients to be hazardous to air and water quality, current EPA regulations only require companies carry out research and communicate the results on a pesticide. active principle”, separately.

This regulatory framework has not gone unchallenged. In 2017, the Center for Food Safety filed a petition with the EPA to address this alleged flaw in the pesticide registration process. Among the points raised in the petition, in addition to the EPA’s knowledge of potentially toxic inert ingredients, was to acknowledge the scientific data that when a pesticide mixes these so-called inert ingredients with the branded “active” ingredients , the resulting compound may increase pesticide exposure, toxicity, and ecotoxicity, both individually and through complementary interactions in the final product.

Now, in the lawsuit filed in California District Court by food advocacy groups, they’re asking the court to declare that the EPA violated federal law by not responding to the 2017 petition, and that the Court requires a response within 90 days. .

“The EPA has sat on this petition for more than five years now,” said Sylvia Wu, senior counsel for the Center for Food Safety. “Other than taking comments in 2015, the EPA did nothing. So we filed a petition to submit the request to the EPA and now we are taking legal action to ensure that the EPA responds to this incredible concern.

Environmental groups and some state governments on the side of the Center for Food Safety are cautiously optimistic that mounting pressure on the EPA, particularly in light of the change in administration since the 2017 petition, will result in a regulatory regime. more comprehensive and dynamic for alleged inert pesticide ingredients, while admitting they don’t know what it might look like.

Industry observers are more circumspect, concluding that any action by the EPA will necessarily result in changes to existing regulations, or additional regulations, that will shift the burden of growing awareness of the problem into a grueling compliance issue. resources for pesticide manufacturers.

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