Pesticides Law and Legal Definition

A pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, attracting or mitigating any insects, rodents, nematodes, fungi, weeds or other forms of plant or animal life and/or bacteria and viruses, except bacteria or viruses on or in living man or other animals, which is determined to be a pest. A pesticide may also mean any substance or mixture of substances intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant or desiccant. Many states have laws which regulate the registration, sale and use of pesticides intended for use on farm, garden, lawn, golf course or in the home and other uses for which pesticides are ordinarily and customarily used. Restricted use pesticides can be used only by certified applicators (or non certified individuals working under the direct supervision of a certified applicator). In most cases, anyone can use general use pesticides according to the label without being certified. FIFRA defines two categories of certified applicators: private applicators and commercial applicators.

Pesticide manufacturers are subject to federal regulations under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which requires pesticide manufacturers to register each of their products with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency either as a general use (GUP) or restricted use (RUP) pesticide with the exception of a few minimum risk active ingredients. In some cases, a pesticide's active ingredient may be registered for both general and restricted use.

A private applicator is defined as a certified applicator who uses or supervises the use of a restricted use pesticide to produce an agricultural commodity on property he or she owns or rents, on an employer's property, or on the property of another person IF there is no compensation other than trading personal services. A commercial applicator is any person who uses or supervises the use of restricted use pesticides for any purpose other than as provided in the definition of a private applicator.

Pesticides are also subject ot federal regulations dealing with toxic substances and hazardous waste management.