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Organisation Reference U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Wildpro Referenced Responsibilities:- Conventions, Legislation, Codes of Conduct, Manuals

This web-link has been created as part of the ""Managing for West Nile Virus Infection in the USA" Wildpro module. Consult the Specific Section References at the end of this page for related links.

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This information has been taken directly from EPA Website:

Our Mission
EPA's mission is to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment — air, water, and land — upon which life depends. For 30 years, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people. 

Who We Are
EPA employs approximately 18,000 people in Washington, DC, 10 regional offices, and 17 labs across the country. EPA employs a highly educated, technically trained staff, more than half of whom are engineers, scientists, and environmental protection specialists. A large number of employees are legal, public affairs, financial, and computer specialists. EPA is led by the Administrator who is appointed by the President of the United States.

What We Do
EPA provides leadership in the nation's environmental science, research, education and assessment efforts. EPA works closely with other federal agencies, state and local governments, and Indian tribes to develop and enforce regulations under existing environmental laws. EPA is responsible for researching and setting national standards for a variety of environmental programs and delegates to states and tribes responsibility for issuing permits, and monitoring and enforcing compliance. Where national standards are not met, EPA can issue sanctions and take other steps to assist the states and tribes in reaching the desired levels of environmental quality. The Agency also works with industries and all levels of government in a wide variety of voluntary pollution prevention programs and energy conservation efforts. 

Our History
In July of 1970, the White House and Congress worked together to establish the EPA in response to the growing public demand for cleaner water, air and land. Prior to the establishment of the EPA, the national government was not structured to make a coordinated attack on the pollutants which harm human health and degrade the environment. The EPA was assigned the daunting task of repairing the damage already done to the natural environment and to establish new criteria to guide Americans in making a cleaner environment a reality.

Office of Pesticide Programs http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/

Our mission: To protect public health and the environment from the risks posed by pesticides and to promote safer means of pest control.

Because pesticides are found or used in almost every home, business, and school, as well as in parks and other public places, this mission is both challenging and complex. OPP must consider both the risks pesticides pose to human health and the environment, and the benefits they offer to society. OPP is aided in its mission by the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996.

Protecting the Public

One of OPP's main concerns is increased protection for the public, especially for infants and children. OPP seeks to educate consumers, as well as to keep them informed about the risks of pesticides. The health of infants and children has a high priority, since they are more vulnerable to pesticides than adults. OPP has taken extra measures in order to protect children from risk. For example, if pesticide tolerances are not safe for children, they will not be approved by OPP.

Safer Pesticides

By promoting safer means of pest control, OPP can help prevent health risks as well as environmental pollution. Safer types of pesticides include naturally-occurring alternatives, such as hormones or bacteria, instead of chemical pesticides. Another way in which OPP promotes safer pesticides is by reviewing older pesticides in order to make sure they meet current safety standards.

Who We Are

OPP consists of approximately 900 persons in nine divisions which support the registration and review of environmental and human health information on pesticides. Professional areas include experts in chemistry, biology, entomology, toxicology, agriculture, economics, public health, law and many other disciplines. We work with other government agencies, federal advisory committees, states, grower groups, environmental and consumer groups, academia, industry, and many other stakeholders.

Our Legal Authority

EPA regulates the use of pesticides under the authority of two federal statutes. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) provides an overview of the regulation, sale, distribution and use of pesticides in the U.S. FIFRA authorizes EPA to review and register pesticides for specified uses. EPA also has the authority to suspend or cancel the registration of a pesticide if subsequent information shows that continued use would pose unreasonable risks. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) authorizes EPA to set maximum residue levels, or tolerances, for pesticides used in or on foods or animal feed. The Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 (FQPA) amended FIFRA and FFDCA setting tougher safety standards for new and old pesticides and to make uniform requirements regarding processed and unprocessed foods.

Antimicrobial Pesticides

As amended by the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 (FQPA), significant changes have occurred in the way EPA manages antimicrobial registration activities. A turning point in improving antimicrobial pesticide registrations occurred with the creation of a self-contained Antimicrobials Division (AD) in the Office of Pesticide Programs. AD provides full regulatory services for all antimicrobial pesticides which includes product registrations, amendments, and reregistrations.

According to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), an antimicrobial pesticide is a pesticide that is intended to “(i) disinfect, sanitize, reduce, or mitigate growth or development of microbiological organisms; or (ii) protect inanimate objects, industrial processes or systems, surfaces, water, or other chemical substances from contamination, fouling, or deterioration caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, algae, or slime.” This does not include products which target microorganisms on living man or living animals, yet it encompasses pesticides with a wide array of uses. For example, products regulated by antimicrobial pesticides act as preserving agents in paints, metalworking fluids, wood supports, and many other products to prevent their deterioration.

The products regulated by the Antimicrobials Division are varied. Antimicrobials are especially important because many are public health pesticides. They help to control microorganisms that can cause human disease. Antimicrobial public health pesticides are used as disinfectants in medical settings, and EPA also registers many consumer products as disinfectants, which consumers use to decrease the number of microbes on surfaces. Public health pesticides are reviewed for efficacy as well as safety. Approximately 5,000 antimicrobial pesticide products registered with EPA contain one or more of 256 active ingredients.

Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention
For much of its history, the primary function of OPP has been to register and regulate pesticides, particularly chemical pesticides. In recent years, however, OPP has begun to shift from simply regulating pesticides to promoting systems of pest management that better protect health and the environment, and enhance the quality of our lives. This approach recognizes that pesticides are only one element in controlling pests and that, in some cases, non-chemical alternatives can be as effective as chemical pesticides with fewer health or environmental risks. Related to this shift in approach have been efforts to "reinvent" OPP's ways of conducting its work.

An important initiative in this area is the creation of the Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division, that is devoted to biologically-based pesticides and to measures that reduce pesticide risks. A major effort being spearheaded by this division is the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program, a broad effort by EPA, USDA, and FDA to work with pesticide users and others to reduce pesticide risk and use in both agricultural and non-agricultural settings. BPPD is responsible for risk/benefit assessment and risk management functions for microbial pesticides; tolerance reassessment for biopesticides; biochemical pesticides; and plant-pesticides.

Conventional Pesticide Registration
The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) requires that before anyone can sell or distribute a pesticide in the United States, they must obtain a registration, or license, from EPA. When making a registration decision, EPA must ensure that the pesticide, when used according to label directions, will not cause unreasonable adverse effects to human health or the environment. Registration decisions are based primarily on EPA's evaluation of the test data provided by applicants. EPA has established a number of requirements, such as the Good Laboratory Practice Standards, to ensure the quality and integrity of pesticide data. Depending on the type of pesticide, OPP can require more than 100 different tests. Testing is needed to determine whether a pesticide has the potential to cause adverse effects to humans, wildlife, fish, and plants, including endangered species.

In addition to allowing the use of new pesticides, the registration program includes many activities related to the ongoing registration of existing pesticides. This may include, for example, label changes in where and how pesticides are used in order to reduce risks or in response to requests by registrants. The Registration Division is responsible for conventional pesticide product registrations, amendments, registrations, tolerances, experimental use permits, and emergency exemptions for all pesticides not assigned to BPPD or AD.

In recent years, more than half of new pesticide registrations have involved biopesticides and other pesticides that pose less risk than traditional pesticides. Biopesticides include "microbial pesticides" (bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms used to control pests), and "biochemical pesticides," such as pheromones (compounds that disrupt the mating behavior of insects). The Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division (BPPD) and the Antimicrobial Pesticides Division (AD) handle the registration activities for these types of pesticides.


OPP is required by 1988 amendments to federal pesticide law (the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act) to review and, as warranted, reregister all existing pesticide products that contain active ingredients initially registered before November 1, 1984. The goal is to update labeling and use requirements and reduce potential risks associated with older pesticide active ingredients -- those first registered when the standards for government approval were less stringent than they are today. This comprehensive reevaluation of pesticide safety in light of current standards is critical to protecting human health and the environment. As of 1996, EPA has made reregistration decisions on more than 130 pesticides, leaving less than 250 to be reviewed. More than 200 other pesticides (and 20,000 pesticide products) have been cancelled since reregistration began.

Special Review

Special Review is EPA's formal process for determining whether the use of a pesticide poses unreasonable risks to people or the environment. In making this determination, EPA must consider the pesticide's risks and benefits. Special Review is designed to allow formal public input to the decision-making process. A Special Review can result in a decision to cancel, restrict, or continue the pesticide uses in question.

The Special Review process is set in motion when EPA has reason to believe that the use of a registered pesticide may pose significant risks to people or the environment. Over 100 pesticides or groups of closely related pesticides have been evaluated through Special Review. While reregistration applies to all older pesticides, Special Reviews apply to those pesticides of particularly serious concern. Recent Special Review activities have involved the phase-out of cyanazine, a herbicide widely used on corn, and proposed restrictions on dichlorvos (DDVP), an insecticide used on stored agricultural commodities, livestock premises, and many other sites.

Field Implementation and Communications

OPP currently manages four major pesticide field programs involving work with pesticide users and others to ensure safe pesticide use practices are implemented in the field. These programs include 1) implementing the Worker Protection Standard for agricultural workers, 2) protecting endangered species, 3) protecting ground water, and 4) ensuring that applicators of potentially more hazardous pesticides are appropriately trained and certified in their use. In all of these programs, OPP relies heavily on cooperative relationships with regional offices, state and tribal pesticide regulatory agencies, other public and private organizations, and individuals.

OPP also undertakes a variety of other communications efforts to ensure that the public has the information it needs to make responsible decisions about pesticides and to promote public health and environmental protection goals. To achieve this goal, OPP issues announcements and publications, provides information by telephone and electronic network, responds to written inquiries, maintains a public docket, holds public meetings, and presents speeches and Congressional testimony.

Policy, Regulations, and Guidance

OPP makes many individual decisions in its registration, reregistration,and special review programs. To guide these decisions and inform its many stakeholders, OPP develops regulations, policy documents, guidelines and analyses covering scientific, legal, and international matters. Active public participation and feedback is critical to the development of practical pesticide policies. Regulations are published for notice and comment in the Federal Register. When final, they are incorporated in the Code of Federal Regulations. OPP makes other policy and guidance documents available through a variety of mechanisms, such as the Government Printing Office, direct mailings, and increasingly, through electronic dissemination.

Highlights among the many policy initiatives currently underway include : improving protection for infants and children; harmonizing pesticide requirements with those of other countries; providing technical assistance to developing countries; and improving the assessment of ecological risks from pesticides.

Information and Program Management

OPP's information and program management efforts are not as publicly visible as some of its other programs, but without them none of the other programs could operate. Some of the major tasks underway include enhancing electronic dissemination of information (such as through this Internet site), maintaining and integrating OPP's information systems, responding to reports of adverse effects and incidents caused by pesticides, and managing OPP's budget and human resources.

Dates Referenced November 2001
Contact Details Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20004
Tel: (202)-260-2090
Fax: (202)-260-0279

Headquarters Information Resource Center
Tel: (202)-260-5922
Fax (202)-260-5153
Email: library-hq@epamail.epa.gov 
Website Address




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Specific References (Please note - website addresses change frequently and all references are dated accordingly. If hyperlinks are no longer active, please inform us)

Reference Section of Website Specific Website link
W179.Nov01.WNV1 West Nile Virus, Mosquitoes and Pesticides


W179.Nov01.WNV2 West Nile Virus Alert


W179.Nov01.WNV3 West Nile Virus Frequently Asked Questions


W179.Nov01.WNV4 Joint Statement on Mosquito Control in the United States from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


W179.Nov01.WNV5 Pesticides and Mosquito Control



American Mosquito Control Association

Report on 1999 PESP Strategy Activities



American Mosquito Control Association

2000 PESP Strategy



National Pesticide Telecommunications Network

West Nile Virus Resource Guide


W179.Nov01.WNV9 Hazard Assessment of the Organophosphates 1998 
(Full text available)


W179.Nov01.WNV10 What is a Pesticide?


W179.Nov01.WNV11 How the Government Regulates Pesticides


W179.Nov01.WNV12 Larvicides and Mosquito Control


W179.Nov01.WNV13 Synthetic Pyrethroids for Mosquito Control


W179.Nov01.WNV14 Naled for Mosquito Control 


W179.Nov01.WNV15 Malathion for Mosquito Control


W179.Nov01.WNV16 Questions & Answers- Malathion Preliminary Risk Assessment


W179.Nov01.WNV17 DEET Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) 


W179.Nov01.WNV18 DEET RED Fact Sheet


W179.Nov01.WNV19 Protecting Wildlife from Pesticide Risks


W179.Nov01.WNV20 Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)


W179.Aug03.oil1 Understanding Oil Spills and Oil Spill Response http://www.epa.gov/oilspill/pdfbook.htm [Booklet provided as 12 .pdf files from this page]

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