F I F R A
The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) is the federal law regulating the manufacture, distribution, sale and use of pesticides. Originally created in 1947, FIFRA was a make over of older federal laws for the regulation of insecticides dating back to the 1900's. With the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970, which was charged with administering it, FIFRA became one of the most comprehensive environmental protection statutes ever written. There have been numerous amendments made since 1970, the most recent and far-reaching in 1996. However, the overall philosophy and intent of the 1970 law remains: to protect humans and the environment from damage caused by pesticides; to regulate the manufacture, labeling, and distribution of pesticides; and to create a program whereby applicators of pesticides show some measure of competency in the use of pesticides.
EPA and Nebraska
Although the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the administrative agency of FIFRA, certain sections of the act allow for extending administration to the state level. The EPA website has an extensive amount of information available regarding all of the federal laws it administers, as well as data for registered pesticides, reregistration of existing pesticides, and current events.
Amendments and program policies created by EPA have brought about a number of locally significant operations including: the Worker Protection Standard; Groundwater Management Plans; container recycling; bulk pesticide contamination; and restricted use pesticide record keeping. The big picture of all of these rules and regulations is to provide a regulatory mechanism to protect humans and the environment from the risks of pesticides, while allowing for the continued use of pesticides, without unduly infringing on the rights of the business sector.
Locally, FIFRA is administered by the NDA under a special agreement with EPA. This agreement allows for NDA state inspectors to conduct inspections, complaint investigations, and other work for EPA. The agreement also allows the NDA to enter into secondary agreements with other agencies for assistance in fulfilling the state's obligations to the agreement. The NDA has developed and entered into secondary agreements with agencies of the University of Nebraska including the Cooperative Extension Service for pesticide certification education, and the Water Science Laboratory for assistance in the development of the state's groundwater management plan.