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Media Contacts:
Veda Federighi, 916/445-3974
Glenn Brank, 916/445-3970
March 19, 1999 (99-09)


SACRAMENTO--Cal/EPA's Department of Pesticide Regulation has proposed regulations that would exempt certain kinds of minimum-risk pesticides from registration requirements. (See list, below.)

DPR's registration process requires payment of fees and submission of specific studies before products can be advertised and sold for pest control in California.

Among the substances proposed for exemption are many common household and food products that currently must be registered in California as pesticides when labeled and sold for pest-controlling purposes. They include substances such as garlic, peppermint, rosemary, corn oil, cedar chips, and castor oil.

The proposed regulations were authorized by 1997 legislation (SB 445, Monteith). This bill allowed DPR to exempt certain chemicals from registration after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had done so.

The major category of exempt chemicals are low-risk substances that have a wide range of other, nonpesticidal uses as foods, medicines, or household items. All are on U.S. EPA's exempt list and were evaluated by DPR scientific staff for potential hazards.

The Department is proposing to divide 40 federally exempted, minimum-risk substances into two lists. The first includes several spices and herbs (such as cinnamon, cloves, garlic, mint, and rosemary), sodium chloride (common table salt), several oils (including corn oil, cottonseed oil, and linseed oil), and zinc metal strips. Because of their widespread and long-standing use, and the fact they pose minimum risk to users, products containing these 22 substances will be exempted without further restrictions.

The 18 chemicals that DPR proposes to place on the second list have the potential to cause eye or skin irritation, although they also include many food or household substances, such as citric acid, clove oil, mint oil, white pepper, and corn gluten meal. Pesticide products that contain more than 8.5 percent of a chemical on this list must have label language requiring use of eye wear and gloves.

For substances on both lists, the label will have to identify the name and percentage of each active ingredient and the name of each inert ingredient. Moreover, all ingredients in a formulation must qualify for exemption. Only inert ingredients that U.S. EPA has classified as minimum-risk would be allowed. Among these approximately 160 inerts are beeswax, dextrose, eggs, gelatin, honey, lanolin, milk, sawdust, and yeast.

To qualify for exemption, products containing these 40 chemicals cannot make claims to control or mitigate microorganisms that pose a threat to human health, including but not limited to disease-transmitting bacteria or viruses. Claims that specify possible control for disease carried by insects or rodents would also be prohibited. In addition, the product must not include any false or misleading statements.

Besides the low-risk compounds on the two lists, DPR also proposes to exempt from registration four other categories of substances: certain natural cedar products; pheromones labeled for use in traps or the pheromone traps themselves (as defined in the regulation); certain preservatives (including embalming fluids and products used to preserve laboratory animal specimens); and foods used as pest attractants that contain no chemical or biological toxicants.

Products exempted from registration will remain under DPR oversight. The Department will require manufacturers to submit reports of any adverse effects from the use of the exempted products so that DPR can reassess exemptions if necessary.

Copies of the proposed regulations are available on DPR's Web site, or by calling Ann Prichard at (916) 324-3931. Comments may be submitted until 5:00 p.m. on May 12, 1999. E-mail comments may be sent to Address written comments to: Ann Prichard, Department of Pesticide Regulation, 830 K Street, Sacramento 95814.

The Department of Pesticide Regulation is one of six boards and departments within the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Proposed for Exemption from Registration as Pesticides

Products containing these minimum-risk substances are proposed for exemption from registration, with requirements that labels list active and inert ingredients:
  Castor Oil Linseed Oil
  Cinnamon Mint
  Citronella Peppermint
  Citronella oil Putrescent whole egg solids
  Cloves Rosemary
  Corn Oil Sesame (ground plant)
  Cottonseed Oil Sesame oil
  Dried blood Sodium chloride (common salt)
  Garlic Soybean oil
  Geraniol Thyme
  Geranium oil Zinc metal strips
The pesticides listed below are proposed for exemption with requirements that labels list ingredients and have language requiring the use of eye and skin protection if the product has more than 8.5 percent active ingredient:
  Cedar Oil Malic acid
  Cinnamon oil Mint oil
  Citric acid Peppermint oil
  Clove oil 2-Phenethyl propionate
  Corn gluten meal Potassium sorbate
  Eugenol Rosemary oil
  Garlic oil Sodium lauryl sulfate
  Lauryl sulfate Thyme oil
  Lemongrass oil White pepper
The four categories of substances below would be exempted, some with labeling or other requirements:
  Natural cedar products  
  Certain pheromones labeled for use in traps  
  Pheromone traps (as defined in the regulations)  
  Certain preservatives, including embalming fluid  
  Foods intended to attract pests that contain no chemical or biological toxicants  


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