Elevated concern over insect-borne illnesses has led to an increased demand for personal insect repellants. These products are available in many forms such as aerosols, liquid pump sprays, personal pen-sized repellants, wipes, lotions and creams. Personal insect repellents provide for adult, child and pet’s wellbeing alike; some even incorporate sun screens as added protections.
The obvious consumer market exists, so the question remains: When does a cosmetic product become subject to the Federal Insecticide and Fungicide Act (FIFRA) as governed under the Environmental Protection Agency? The pesticide/biocide industry can be difficult to navigate.
The FIFRA statute gives the EPA authority to regulate the registration, production, distribution, sale and use of pesticides. FIFRA defines a pesticide, in part, as “any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest” while a “Pest is defined to broadly include any insect, rodent, nematode, fungus, weed or any other form of terrestrial or aquatic plant or animal life or virus, bacteria or other microorganism.”
Any substance or product being sold or distributed that makes any such claim for pesticidal purposes, imply a pesticide use, consist of one or more pesticidal active ingredients or possess knowledge that the substance or product will be used as a pesticide are all subject to FIFRA and must be registered unless otherwise exempted.
Personal care companies can enter the pesticide space by either obtaining a federal registration for their own product or by becoming a Sub-Registrant for a product that is already federally registered by another company.
Pesticide products fall into three basic categories: Conventional Pesticides, Antimicrobial Pesticides and Biopesticides with each category having its own registration requirements. All pesticide applications are organized into two parts consisting of the Administrative Information (which includes the registration fee, identity of the applicant and product along with its draft labeling) and Product Data (consisting of product chemistry and performance, along with respective toxicological data as required within the three product categories).
All producers of a pesticide product must register their facility with the EPA prior to production and file annual production reports along with annual maintenance fees with the Agency.
In addition to Federal Law (FIFRA), the registration and use of pesticides are also subject to state laws and regulations as pesticides must also be registered in each state or territory for which the product is to be sold.
All pesticide products are governed under FIFRA and are exempt from TSCA. The Global Harmonized System (GHS) is not incorporated into the FIFRA Labeling requirements by the EPA and are labeled in accordance with 40 CFR Part 156 for all components of the product. It is important to note that pesticide products may still be subject to OSHA requirements to develop a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) based on GHS.
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