Pesticide rollback removes hundreds of pesticides from future use

URBANA, Ill. — The Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent evaluation of publically available pesticides resulted in the removal of more than 100 turf, pest, and agricultural products from the approved list.

Every 15 years, the EPA examines registered pesticides to ensure they meet current health and safety standards. On May 11, the EPA announced that several corporations plan to voluntarily remove 102 pesticides from public access. This includes pesticides intended for structural pest, turf, landscape, and agricultural use from companies such as Syngenta, Bayer, and Scott’s Company.

University of Illinois Extension hosts the Pesticide Safety Education Program, which provides education and testing opportunities for commercial pesticide applicators.

“There are a number of reasons why companies ask for a pesticide’s registration to be canceled,” says Sarah Hughson, Illinois Extension entomology specialist. “For example, the product could not be making enough money, a new replacement product is developed, an active ingredient has fallen out of favor with the public, the list goes on and on.”

Pesticides help provide effective pest control for homeowners, schools, gardens, highways, utility lines, hospitals, and drinking water treatment facilities, while also controlling vectors of disease and supporting food production. Identifying and reducing pesticide risks is key to ensuring environmental and human safety.

Some pesticide manufacturing, processing, use, or disposal threatens human health and the environment. The EPA is responsible for ensuring pesticides available in the U.S. are safe when used as directed. By law, a pesticide can only be used if it is registered with the EPA under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

There are two ways a pesticide's registration can be canceled. The EPA can cancel it or the organization a pesticide is registered to can voluntarily request a cancellation which is followed by a 30-day public comment period.

Hughson says a product being canceled does not mean it is dangerous or bad. Producers do not have to provide information about why they cancel a product, but it could be over safety concerns or it could be for business reasons.

A pesticide that was produced and packaged before being canceled can be sold for another year. After that, they must be discarded. Some companies requested and were approved for 18-months to sell existing stocks.

Producers other than the registrants may distribute, sell, or use existing stores of these products until they run out, as long as that use is consistent with the product label. 

A complete list of canceled products is available online at

Hughson’s most recent article on the pesticide cancellations was published in the Illinois Pesticide Review newsletter.

SOURCE: Sarah Hughson, Entomology Specialist, University of Illinois Extension
WRITER: Allison Kimmons, Writer, University of Illinois Extension

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