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For Immediate Release
August 1, 2006
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357


Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. along with 13 other states and the U.S. Virgin Islands today petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to require pesticide manufacturers to disclose on the label of their products all hazardous ingredients. More disclosure will lead to greater consumer awareness of the potential health and environmental impacts of using pesticides. “If you are buying a pesticide, and there is a hazardous chemical in that product, you have every right to know that,” says Curran.

EPA now requires that pesticide labels disclose only the product’s “active” ingredients; that is, those toxic materials that are intended to kill insects, weeds or other target organisms. However, pesticide products also contain many other “inert” ingredients. Although intended to preserve or improve the effectiveness of the active ingredients in particular pesticides, these “inert” ingredients often are toxic themselves. Although almost 400 chemicals used for this purpose have been found by EPA or other federal agencies to be hazardous to human health and the environment, EPA does not require them to be identified on pesticide labels. Current EPA regulations allows the identity of almost all “inert” ingredients to be omitted from the label based only on their function in the product, not on their health or environmental effects. States are pre-empted by federal law from requiring additional labeling for pesticides.

Currently, so-called “inert” ingredients - which make up as much as 99% of many common pesticides, are not listed on the pesticide labels. The chemicals used as “inerts” include many that EPA has officially determined, under other statutory programs, to be hazardous or toxic. Among these are “inert” ingredients known or suspected to cause cancer, central nervous system disorders, liver and kidney damage, and birth defects, as well as a variety of short term health and ecological impacts. A consumer would never know about their presence in consumer products, under current labeling requirements.

The Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides and 21 other environmental and public health organizations also filed a similar petition with the EPA today.


Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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