Is it clear sailing for pesticide importers? Perhaps, if a new computerized inventory system proves to be, well, bug-free. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pesticide products must be cleared to enter US ports. Unfortunately, the Agency is still grappling with a time-consuming, antiquated paper process, admitted Susan Lewis, director, antimicrobial division, EPA.
But all that will change in the weeks and months ahead as the Agency implements its Automated Computer Environment (ACE) program. A pilot program will get underway in the next few weeks. During Pesticides Division meeting of the Consumer Specialty Products Association, which was held during the CSPA mid-year meeting in May, Lewis explained how EPA worked with CSPA members to develop the Notice of Arrival pilot program, and expects to begin using the program in earnest by the end of the year.
Lewis also provided an update on inert pesticide ingredient disclosure program, which is designed to provide consumers with more information, provide the medical community with more information when needed and move the industry toward safer ingredients.
She noted that NGOs have called for the removal of 300 “toxic ingredients.” In2006, a coalition of 22 NGOs along with 15 state Attorneys General, including California, Illinois and Massachusetts, filed petitions for a rule requiring disclosure of hazardous inert ingredients. After EPA failed to respond, the NGOs filed a lawsuit in 2009 to compel EPA to begin the rulemaking process. For the past two years, EPA has worked with CSPA member companies, including Clorox, P&G, SC Johnson, Reckitt Benckiser and Henkel, on a pilot program to disclose inert ingredients in their formulas. In many instances, companies are putting the information on their websites—not their labels.
“I’ve met with all five companies during the past two years and all of them are using ‘plain English’ for chemical terms such as propellants,” observed Lewis. “It has led to increased traffic on their websites.”
Supplying more information than even an NGO expects? It could give new meaning to the term “pest control.”