Special Pesticide Registration by the Environmental Protection Agency Should Be Improved

CED-78-9: Published: Jan 9, 1978. Publicly Released: Jan 9, 1978.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates pesticides to ensure that quality products are available to the public and that, when properly used, these products provide effective pest control without unreasonable adverse effects on man and the environment. EPA registers a pesticide when it determines that a pesticide meets its proposed claims, complies with labelling and other requirements, and performs its function without unreasonable adverse effects. Regulations allow certain exceptions for using unregistered or previously cancelled or suspended pesticides to control pest infestations that present health or economic emergencies, gather experimental data to register the pesticide, and meet a state's special local needs.

EPA has not always been effective in administering special registration activities because: (1) requests for emergency and experimental pesticide uses take too long to process; (2) program requirements are not always met by federal and state agencies; (3) states are permitted to register pesticides that EPA would not register; and (4) some activities are not coordinated effectively with EPA regional offices or responsible state agencies, and many pesticide uses are not monitored adequately. The experimental use program has not been fully effective because guidelines have not been promulgated to implement general regulations concerning specific data which should be required as a basis for permit approvals and developed while the pesticide is being used experimentally. Because EPA has taken an average of 40 days to approve emergency uses, some requestors have used pesticides illegally to protect human health or crops or to avoid losing a growing season.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, EPA, should: (1) promulgate guidelines specifying data requirements necessary for permit approvals; (2) require reviews to act on properly prepared permits within a specified period; (3) furnish prompt information on permit approvals to applicable regions; and (4) take action to see that only specific exemptions are granted to authorized state and federal agencies and that state and federal agencies are prevented from taking illegal crisis exemptions. Priority should be given to ensure that: (1) timely review and action are taken on emergency requests; (2) pesticides necessary to control continuing predictable pest outbreaks are registered; and (3) communications between headquarters and regions on exemption requests are improved.

    Agency Affected:


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Mar 12, 2018

Feb 22, 2018

Jan 26, 2018

Jan 19, 2018

Jan 4, 2018

Dec 22, 2017

Dec 13, 2017

Nov 15, 2017

Nov 2, 2017

Oct 30, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here