EPA and State Efforts to Ensure Safe Use of Lawn Care Pesticides

T-RCED-91-50: Published: May 9, 1991. Publicly Released: May 9, 1991.

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GAO discussed the: (1) Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) progress in reassessing the health risks of widely used lawn-care pesticides; and (2) notification policy the lawn-care industry extends to its customers and others regarding the commercial application of pesticides to residential lawns. GAO noted that: (1) approximately half the states required companies to provide some form of notification when applying pesticides to residential lawns; (2) lawn-care companies served nearly 12 percent of single-family households; (3) EPA did not require commercial firms to provide any type of public notification when treating residential lawns; (4) the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Amendments of 1988 required EPA to evaluate the risks and benefits of a proposed pesticide before it is registered for use and to reregister older pesticides to bring them into compliance with current data requirements and scientific standards; (5) the EPA reregistration process is falling behind schedule by about 32 percent; (6) the 17 states that provided for advance notification of customers and neighbors frequently placed the burden of obtaining such notification on customers; and (7) notification requirements, among states that have implemented notification programs, varied to a considerable degree in terms of whom should be provided information, when the information should be provided, and what information should be provided.

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