EPA Moves for Disclosure of Pesticide "Inert" Ingredients

January 27, 2010

If you look on a can of the bugspray you may be spritzing under your kitchen sink, you may find that a good 95% of the contents are listed as "inert ingredients." Those are chemicals for which the company claims no pesticidal properties — even though they may boost lethality when looked at from a cockroach's viewpoint. Environmentalists say they can harm human health.

For many decades, US pesticide law has not required disclosure of "inert" ingredients to the public. That has been true since before 1972, when an environmentally minded Congress passed the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act — which amended pesticide laws going back to 1910 — and which has been amended many times itself since 1972.

So it was a historic step forward when EPA on December 22, 2009, announced that it was proposing a rule requiring disclosure of ALL pesticide ingredients. That proposal was published in the Federal Register and will be subject to comment before a final rule is issued.