US Environmental Protection Agency announces plan to require disclosure of inert pesticide ingredients

Reversing a decade-old decision, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday that it plans to require pesticide manufacturers to disclose to the public the inert ingredients in their products.

An inert ingredient is anything added to a pesticide that does not kill or control a pest. Although some of these ingredients are toxic companies do not identify them on pesticide labels. They may include formaldehyde, bisphenol A, sulfuric acid, toluene, benzene and styrene, some of which are carcinogens, while some may cause reproductive or respiratory problems if people are exposed. Other inerts seem benign, such as coffee grounds, sunflower oil and licorice extract.

For 11 years, EPA denied petitions seeking disclosure of the chemicals but now the new administration says it plans to draft a rule that will increase transparency and encourage companies to replace toxic substances. Manufacturers worry about revealing trade secrets.

One goal of the planned rule is that pesticide companies would be more likely to replace toxic chemicals if they have to identify all ingredients on their labels.

For a longer report from Environmental Health News.



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First Published in December 2009

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