Assessing the scientific support for U.S. EPA pesticide regulatory policy governing active and inert ingredients

Analena B. Bruce, Yetkin Borlu, Leland L. Glenna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pesticide regulatory policy only requires environmental impact and safety testing and labeling of the active ingredients of pesticide products, rather than the end use formula. This policy is thought to partially explain the conflicting outcomes of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and EPA assessments on glyphosate, and there is substantial scientific evidence that this approach has led to an underestimation of risk. In this paper, we present a review of EPA pesticide policy governing the regulation of active and other ingredients and findings from a survey of US agricultural scientists focused on their views of this EPA policy. The survey findings indicate that the scientists we surveyed support a more comprehensive approach to the regulation of pesticide products, including both active and inert ingredients, as well as the end use product, to test for combined effects. They also support the disclosure and labeling of inert ingredients to support independent testing of these chemicals. The results also indicate that university scientists oriented towards public science are more likely to support regulation than university scientists oriented towards private science. Overall, despite substantial evidence that the combination of all ingredients in pesticide products may be more toxic than the active ingredients alone, the current regulatory approach does not provide a pathway for the agency to respond to this science. In this sense, the scientific support for the agency’s current regulatory approach is unclear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Environmental Studies and Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • General Environmental Science


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