Pesticide preemption is the concept that the EPA and the state lead agency have the technical expertise and resources to best evaluate whether a pesticide is safe and effective. That is, the state lead agency preempts the local government when it comes to the highly technical work of determining how pest control products and services are employed. In states with preemption (currently 45) the state lead agency works with the EPA on any and all pesticide usage, sale, or distribution. Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, and Nevada do not have a pesticide preemption law, meaning that localities in these states can and do have different regulations.
Once a pesticide is registered federally, a state’s lead regulatory agency will serve as a co-regulator with the EPA, assuring inhabitants and businesses of that state that the pesticide is safe, and placing any additional restrictions on the conditions of use. It is illegal to use a pesticide that has not been properly evaluated and approved by both EPA and the lead regulatory authority in a state where the pesticide is being sold, distributed, or used.
We have begun to see efforts in some of the 45 states with pesticide preemption to roll this back, so that localities will be able to overrule the EPA and the state lead agency in favor of regulating pesticides in towns, cities, or counties despite the lack of scientific and technical resources available at the local level. NPMA strongly believes that the EPA and the state lead agency should be the only regulatory entities responsible for pesticide registration, sale, and use. Unless and until Congress clarifies the exclusive role of state lead agencies, localities can continue to impose conflicting regulatory restrictions without scientific assessment, economic analysis, consideration of the rights of property owners to control pests, or responsibility of public health agencies to control disease vectors in order to best protect American health, food, and property from pests
NPMA member companies work every day to protect Americans from dangerous and deadly pests. To serve our customers, licensed pesticide applicators must pass an examination, undergo extensive training, be recertified at least every five years, and strictly follow the EPA-approved pesticide labels. In recent years increasing numbers of localities (towns, cities, and counties) are attempting to regulate pesticide use and sale, overruling both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state lead agency charged with pesticide regulation. This impacts the ability of our industry to do business and creates a patchwork of regulations in the places we may work in a given day or week. Over 90% of NPMA member companies are small businesses comprised of five employees or less, and need clear, consistent, and uniform pesticide regulation in order to serve as the frontline against pests like termites, bed bugs, cockroaches, rodents, ants, mosquitoes, spiders, and countless other pests.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare” is a complex 2,300-page law aimed at reforming the American healthcare system. The measure narrowly passed along partisan lines and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010, with the most major aspects taking effect in 2014 and several more are being phased-in until 2020.
Many national industries and small businesses, including the structural pest management industry, have been impacted by a provision in the law called the “employer mandate.” The employer mandate has a varying degree of impact depending on a number of factors, such as the number of employees at your business. If your pest management business is not in compliance, you could be subject to steep fines, so it is important for PMPs to be aware of how the law affects you.
In May 2016, new overtime regulations were finalized by the Department of Labor (DOL). The overtime regulations will raise the minimum threshold from $23,660 ($455 per week), to $47,472 annually ($913 per week). In November 2016, the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas granted a nationwide preliminary injunction from the implementation of the Department of Labor’s final overtime rule, where a decision is still pending.
In addition to pesticide safety, the pest management industry is also regulated by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA). Founded in 1971 by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, OSHA is charged with protecting our nation’s workers, and strives to accomplish its goal through enforcement, education, and outreach. OSHA is continuously updating and promulgating workplace safety rules, many of which can be lengthy and confusing.
The Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) is the statute that authorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to regulate the sale and use of pesticides and designate this authority exclusively to U.S. states. In 1991, in Wisconsin Pub. Intervenor v. Mortier, 501 U.S. 597 (1991), the Supreme Court held that FIFRA does not preempt local governmental regulation of pesticide use relying on the interpretation that FIFRA does not expressly prohibit local regulations, despite the presumption that it did.