Environmental Assessment

US FIFRA and the Canadian PCPA Regulating Treated Articles with Pesticides

Harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi are present in or on different products or articles. For this reason, manufacturers worldwide must intentionally treat a variety of products with pesticides. All the same, pesticides could be harmful too. Consequently, jurisdictions like the USA and Canada have developed regulations like FIFRA and PCPA to control pesticides on articles.

FIFRA - Microorganisms

United States Regulations on Treated Articles with Pesticides - FIFRA

FIFRA - USA

FIFRA - Rule of Thumb

Per the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) it is the responsibility of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate pesticides in the US market. 

Importantly, FIFRA obligates the registration of any pesticides used to treat products.

Exemptions under FIFRA

Nevertheless, a few exemptions apply. For example, an article treated solely for its protection against microorganisms may be exempt from the registration mandate. In the case of an exemption, the product label must still contain an appropriate and clear statement. For instance, the EPA webpage on Consumer Products Treated with Pesticides shows acceptable and clear statements. 

FIFRA Enforcement

Hence, a company that makes public health pesticidal claims for its products without registration under EPA or without benefiting from a registration exemption commits an illegal act. Accordingly, the EPA promptly and firmly acts to prevent the sales of such products.

EPA - FIFRA

California Proposition 65 and Pesticides Control

Apart from this, pesticides may contain chemicals that are on the California Proposition 65 list of substances known to cause health issues. As a result, providers must notify their consumers when their product contains at least one of these substances. Some of the Prop. 65 chemicals are pesticides.

Canadian Regulations on Treated Articles with Pesticides – PCPA

All the same, Canada has a similar pesticide control set of rules.

PCPA - Canada Pesticides

PCPA - Rule of Thumb

In Canada, the Health Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) regulates pesticides under the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA)

Instead of the US FIFRA term of treated articles, PCPA refers to pest control products

Like in the USA, a pesticide used to treat an article during the manufacturing stage must always be registered under the PCPA. PMRA scientifically assesses the registered pesticides to ensure the acceptability of the risks associated with their use.

Additionally, Health Canada works tightly with the Canada Border Services Agency and other regulators to ensure the compliance of the imported products.

Exemptions under PCPA

When the treatment purpose is so that the article acts as a delivery mechanism for the pesticide (such as packaging materials), registration is necessary for both the pesticide and the article itself. However, some treated articles may be exempt from registration when they meet specific criteria. The registration of the treated article itself is not required if the purpose of the treatment is to provide a benefit (e.g., preservation) to the product.

In addition, it is not generally an obligation to have pesticidal claims on the label of pest control products in Canada. However, there are specific guidelines from PMRA on acceptable label claims if you wish to do so

Pesticides in Articles: The Gist

Pesticides are any substances used to prevent, demolish, repel, or mitigate pests. Examples of pesticides are:

  • Herbicides,
  • Insecticides,
  • Rodenticides,
  • Fungicides,
  • Antimicrobials, etc.

The purpose of article treatment with pesticides is to protect products by destroying or restricting the growth of harmful microorganisms. By doing so, manufacturers provide better quality and longer shelf lives products for customers.

Fifra

The term “treated article” is used for this purpose. In Canada and the United States, there are specific regulatory requirements for treated articles. The main requirement similar between both jurisdictions is the obligatory registration of the pesticidal active ingredient used for treating the article. It is also sometimes required to have the related information on the product labeling.

Accordingly, manufacturers, distributors, and importers of pesticide-treated articles should be familiar with the related regulatory requirements to sell their products in Canadian and American markets.

Regulations Similar to FIFRA and PCPA in the EU

By the same token, there is also Biocidal Products Regulations (BPR) to control pesticides on articles in the European Union. Additionally, pesticides contain chemicals that are on the substance of very high concern list under EU REACH regulation.

Should you have any questions, please contact the Enviropass team