EPA Launches Modernized Design for the Environment Logo for Disinfectant and Other Antimicrobial Products

This original post was published by EPA on May 12, 2022. Click here for more information.

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is launching a new, modern Design for the Environment (DfE) logo that will appear on antimicrobial products like disinfectants and sanitizers within the next year. EPA’s DfE logo helps consumers and commercial buyers identify antimicrobial products that meet the health and safety standards of the normal pesticide registration process required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) as well as other rigorous criteria required by the agency.

“Protecting the health and safety of our families and our homes is central to EPA’s mission,” said Michal Freedhoff, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “EPA is excited to take the DfE program to the next level with a bold, new logo to further empower consumers to make environmentally and health-conscious buying decisions.”

To further EPA’s mission of protecting human health and the environment, in 2009, the DfE program began including products that sanitize and disinfect, including wipes and sprays used to treat surfaces like countertops, tubs, tile, and toilets. To qualify for the DfE logo, every ingredient in a product must meet a rigorous set of chemical and toxicological standards.

EPA has seen a surge of engagement in the last few years from consumers, schools, and other organizations who want to know more about how the products they use affect their health and the environment—and who are eager to make the most responsible purchasing choices they can. The updated logo released today should make DfE-certified products easier for purchasers to find, which in turn will encourage companies to seek certification for their products.

Companies who make products carrying the DfE logo have invested heavily in research and reformulation to ensure that their products meet the DfE certification requirements. Pursuing DfE certification provides an opportunity for companies to work toward their sustainability goals.

DfE products meet criteria that evaluate human health and environmental effects, product performance, packaging, and ingredients. The requirements are intended to:

  • minimize any possible risks to human health by excluding ingredients that might have the potential to negatively impact young children, cause cancer, or have other negative effects,
  • further protect fish and other aquatic life,
  • minimize pollution of air or waterways and prevent harmful chemicals from being added to the land, and ensure products have no unresolved compliance, enforcement, or efficacy issues.

EPA does not consider the logo to be an endorsement. Similar to saying a pesticide is “EPA-registered” because EPA has found it meets the registration standard, the DfE logo indicates that the product has been reviewed and meets the FIFRA registration standard as well as the standards for the DfE program.

To learn about the process for seeking DfE certification for antimicrobial products, see EPA’s website.

EPA Announces Virtual Environmental Modeling Public Meeting on Endangered Species; Calls for Abstracts

This original announcement was published by the EPA on May 10, 2022. Click here for more information.

On June 23, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a virtual Environmental Modeling Public Meeting (EMPM) to engage with stakeholders on EPA’s recently released Endangered Species Act Workplan, with a focus on mitigation strategies.

The EMPM is a public forum held as needed for pesticide registrants and other stakeholders to discuss regulatory issues with EPA, when environmental modeling topics are identified. Meetings cover issues related to modeling pesticide fate, transport, and exposure for risk assessments. EPA is accepting abstracts for presentations to be given at the meeting that focus on:

  • Practical measures to avoid, minimize, or offset pesticide effects to federally listed endangered and threatened species and their designated critical habitats;
  • Mitigation or specific label language to reduce on- and off-site exposures from spray drift and runoff; and
  • Quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the impact of various mitigation options that could be used to avoid jeopardy and adverse modification for listed species and designated critical habitats, and to minimize “take” of individuals of a listed species.

The meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT. Registration is required. To attend the meeting, contact OPP_EMPM@epa.gov by June 16.

To present at the meeting, please submit abstracts to OPP_EMPM@epa.gov for consideration by May 26.

Find more information at www.regulations.gov in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0879.

Contact OPP_EMPM@epa.gov to sign up for additional EMPM updates and abstract requests for future meetings, or if you have questions about this event.

EPA Shares Data on Chitosan Salts for Public Comment

This original post was published on May 6, 2022. Click here for more information.

Today, in support of transparency and sound science, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making available for comment two aquatic toxicity reports related to the ongoing rulemaking in response to a petition to add chitosan to the minimum risk pesticide exemption list. The purpose of the exemption list is to eliminate the need for the Agency to expend significant resources to regulate products deemed to be of minimum risk to human health and the environment. Products that contain only those active and inert ingredients allowed by the exemption and meet certain Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) requirements are exempt from the normal FIFRA registration requirements. Approximately a decade has passed since a substance was added to the list of ingredients eligible for the minimum risk pesticide exemption.

Chitosan is a naturally occurring substance found in the cell walls of all crustaceans, most fungi, and the exoskeletons of most insects. It is currently registered with EPA under FIFRA as a fungicide, antimicrobial agent, and plant growth regulator that boosts the ability of plants to defend against fungal infections. Chitosan is currently widely available to the public for non-pesticidal uses, and has established applications in various industries including textiles, cosmetics, beverage processing, and water treatment.

On October 10, 2018, EPA received a petition from Tidal Vision Products, LLC requesting that chitosan be added to the list of active ingredients allowed in exempted minimum risk pesticide products. In November 2020, EPA requested comments from the public on a proposed rule to add chitosan to the list of active ingredients eligible for the exemption. The public comments received on the proposal expressed concerns regarding derivatives of chitosan that are likely to be produced when chitosan is mixed with certain acids and on the potential hazard for aquatic organisms exposed to chitosan salts.

In November 2021, EPA requested additional information from the petitioner on chitosan salts and their potential effect on the environment and, in response, received two aquatic toxicity reports. Because these reports were not available when the rule was proposed, EPA is now seeking public input on how the reports may be used to inform the Agency’s assessment of the aquatic toxicity of chitosan and its salts.Stakeholders are invited to submit any questions, comments, and concerns related to these reports so EPA may consider them before deciding whether to add chitosan to the minimum risk exemption.

The public comment period will be open for 30 days in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2019-0701 at www.regulations.gov, starting May 6, 2022.

EPA Issues Notice of Intent to Suspend the Herbicide DCPA

This announcement was published by the EPA on April 29, 2022. Click here for more information.

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing a notice of intent to suspend (NOITS), which when effective, will prevent the sale, distribution, and use of the technical-grade product containing the pesticide dimethyl tetrachloroterephthalate (DCPA). Technical-grade products are high-concentration forms of pesticides that are formulated into other end-use pesticide products. EPA is issuing this NOITS for DCPA because AMVAC, the sole registrant, has not provided the full complement of data the Agency required it to submit over nine years ago. Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the registrant is required to submit data to support the continued registration of this product. Due to the registrant’s long-standing failure to respond to EPA’s requests for necessary data, the Agency is unable to fully evaluate the risks associated with DCPA.

DCPA is an herbicide applied to control grasses and certain broadleaf weeds in both agricultural and non-agricultural settings. Agricultural use sites include cole crops (e.g., broccoli, kale, cabbage), cucurbits, tomatoes, onions, and herbs. Non-agricultural use sites include non-residential turf and ornamentals.

As required by FIFRA, EPA periodically re-evaluates pesticides through registration review to ensure that risk assessments and pesticide decisions reflect the best available science. Part of the registration review process is to identify risks of concern and to implement actions that can mitigate these risks. To ensure access to the needed data, the Agency notifies registrants of the data requirements through issuance of a FIFRA Data Call-In Notice (DCI).

In 2013, EPA issued a DCI to AMVAC requiring it to submit more than 20 studies to support the existing registrations of DCPA. In the nine years since the requirements were imposed, the Agency has reviewed numerous insufficient studies provided by AMVAC, and also has evaluated more than 20 waiver requests seeking to remove these data requirements. In its attempts to obtain the needed data, EPA has spent its finite resources on these efforts to review the many submissions, some of which otherwise would have been used to focus on pesticide actions requested by other registrants and needed by growers.

The data required by EPA included a comprehensive study of the effects of DCPA on thyroid development and function in adults and before birth. In the absence of these data, EPA reviewed preliminary data submitted by AMVAC, which suggest that DCPA can affect thyroid function at lower doses than previously known, and that it may affect a fetus at lower doses than those that adversely affect adults. Without complete data on the thyroid toxicity of DCPA, the Agency is unable to complete the scientifically robust and defensible human health risk assessment needed to evaluate whether DCPA products continue to meet the standard for registration under FIFRA.

After 30 days, the NOITS will become final (subject to the conditions discussed below) and it will be illegal for the registrant to distribute, use, or sell its technical-grade DCPA pesticide product until EPA lifts the suspension. This means that once the technical-grade product is suspended, it will be illegal for AMVAC to use it to formulate the end-use products used by growers. Stocks of DCPA end-use pesticide products that have already been formulated prior to the suspension may continue to be distributed, sold, and used according to the label. If the suspension continues and the existing stocks are depleted, users may not have access to end-use product. However, under FIFRA the suspension will not become final if within 30 days from issuance of the NOITS, one of the following two things happens:

  • AMVAC submits all the required data, and EPA determines that it has fully complied with the DCI requirements that served as a basis for the NOITS; or
  • Consistent with FIFRA requirements, AMVAC or a person adversely affected by the Notice makes a timely and adequate request for a hearing. A hearing must be held and a determination on the suspension issued within 75 days after receipt of a hearing request, unless all parties stipulate to such an extension.

If the registrant submits the missing data after the suspension becomes effective, EPA can lift the suspension. Upon publication of the NOITS in the Federal Register, all supporting documents will be available in the DCPA registration review docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0374 at www.regulations.gov.