EPA Invites Small Businesses to Discuss Insect Repellent Regulations
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), based in Washington D.C., announced it is seeking recommendations from small business on whether insect repellents applied to the skin should continue to be exempt from federal pesticide regulation. In another sign of transparency, the agency is also taking a new approach to obtaining small-business views on this matter.
The EPA’s reconsideration of the current exemption is based on concern that some exempted pesticide products may not perform effectively. The changes under consideration are intended to safeguard public health by assuring that minimum risk skin-applied insect repellent products perform effectively, and users receive protection from insects or ticks that may transmit serious diseases.
Currently, pesticide products that pose minimum risks to humans and the environment are exempt from federal regulation under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, provided that the products are composed of certain ingredients and are labeled according to very specific criteria under the Act. Exempted products are not evaluated by the EPA and, therefore, the agency is unable to verify the accuracy of the efficacy information on the labels of these minimum risk skin-applied repellents.
The EPA is seeking small business input through a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel. The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires the EPA to convene such a panel for a proposed rule unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The panel process offers an opportunity for small entities that are directly affected by a proposed rule to provide input into the rule making process. This action is the first time the EPA has invited small businesses to self-nominate for participation in the panel process. Historically, the EPA, in consultation with the Small Business Administration, has made the selections without providing an opportunity for interested small businesses to request participation.