Safety Testing and Assessment

Any pesticide must undergo a thorough scientific assessment of the potential effects of that pesticide on human health. To anticipate how a pesticide might impact human health, laboratory animals such as rodents are exposed to varying dosages of the pesticide via ingested food, contact with skin, or inhaled air — from minimal to exaggerated levels. Scientists then determine how much exposure the animal can have without any biological effect. This level of exposure forms the basis for setting allowable exposures for people, with incorporation of appropriate uncertainty factors for extrapolating results from animals to humans.

In 2006, as part of its reregistration eligibility decision, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set strict standards for chlorpyrifos to further ensure the protection of consumers, while providing a useful tool for farmers to protect their crops from losses due to insect damage. As part of the current registration review process EPA is examining new data using the most up-to-date assessment approaches and, along with evolving regulatory practice, this may result in revision of these standards.

These pages provide overviews of how standards are set and how new advances in scientific research are affecting the regulatory process.