Pesticides are chemical substances used to prevent, destroy, repel, or mitigate undesirable organisms such as weeds or harmful insects. The chemical control of pests has facilitated the industrialization of agriculture and has helped the United States reap a surplus of agricultural products. Used properly, pesticides by definition are inherently toxic to certain organisms. This inherent toxicity requires careful regulation to insure the safety of the public, the food supply, and the environment. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the primary entity charged with regulation of pesticides, although it works in conjunction with state agencies. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) establishes the general system of federal pesticide regulation, and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) establishes the system to govern pesticides in food and feed. States are generally permitted to enact legislation that restricts pesticide use more than federal law requires. This overview focuses on FIFRA and FFDCA as amended by the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 (FQPA). Read the full overview

 Note: Recently added resources are posted at the top of the applicable sections .

Major Statutes

Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), 7 U.S.C. §§ 136-136y

Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. §§ 301-399h

Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1531

Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. § 1342


Pesticide Regulations, 40 C.F.R. §§ 150-180

Federal Register Rules Open for Comment

Case Law

Case Law Index for Pesticide Regulation

Administrative Law Decisions

Environmental Appeals Board

FIFRA Decisions (EPA, Environmental Appeals Board)

Administrative Law Judge Decisions – “FIFRA” (EPA)

Regional Judicial Officer Decisions on FIFRA (EPA)

Regional Judicial Officers Information (EPA)

Center Research Publications

United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Orders EPA to Ban Chlorpyrifos (Wilkerson & E. Rumley, 2018)

Potential Spray Drift Damage: What Steps to Take? (Lashmet, 2017)

Approval of Pesticides (R. Rumley, 2012)

Environmental Law: Federal Laws That Affect Agriculture – PowerPoint Presentation (Springsteen, 2009)

2005 Environmental Law Update (Feitshans, 2006)

Supreme Court Considers Preemption of State Law Claims Under the FIFRA (Pittman, 2005)

Congressional Research Service Reports

Reports– published and made available by CRS beginning in 2017

Subjects- published by CRS and made available by NALC until 2018:

Food Safety

Environmental Issues

Agricultural Law Bibliography

Introduction   |   Keyword Search   |   Browse Categories

Legal publications on Pesticides:


Corporate Farming

Environmental Issues

Food and Drug Law 

Fruits and Vegetables – Perishable Agricultural Commodities

Pesticides, Herbicides, Insecticides, Fungicides, Fertilizers

Sustainable and Organic Farming

Torts, Insurance

Reference Resources

Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

Pesticide Record Keeping

Pesticide Data Program

Directive: Pesticide Residue Testing for Grain (5/22/2017)

Pesticide Record Keeping

Pesticide Data Program

Active Program Notices and Bulletins

Fumigation Handbook (9/04/2006)

Pesticide Residues

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Pesticide Illness and Injury Surveillance

National Ag Safety Database

State-Based Pesticide Poisoning Surveillance Program

Environmental Health Service

Exposure to Pesticides on Aircraft

Toxic Substance List

Economic Research Service

Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 (Fernandez-Cornejo et al., 2014)

Topic: Chemical Inputs Fertilizer and Pesticides

Genetically Engineered Plants for Pest Management in U.S. Agriculture: Farm-Level Effects (Fernandez-Cornejo & McBride, 1999)

Pest Management

Environmental Protection Agency

Pesticide Topics
Pesticide Registration
Federal Register Pesticide Documents
Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program Public Data Release
Laws Affecting EPA’s Pesticide Programs
Regulatory Information by Topic: Pesticides
Occupational Pesticide Safety and Health
Protect Yourself from Pesticides – Guide for Agricultural Workers (in Spanish, 2006)
How to Comply with the Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides: What Employers Need to Know (2005)
Definition of Pesticide Handler Factsheet (1998)
Agriculture: Laws and Regulations that Apply to your Agricultural Operation by Farm Activity
Definition of Pesticide Handler under the Worker Protection 
Safety Training for Pesticide Workers
Protect Yourself from Pesticides – Guide for Pesticide Handlers (1993)
Regulatory Information by Topic: Pesticides
Pesticide Science and Assessing Pesticide Risks
Pest Control and Pesticide Safety for Consumers
Ingredients Used in Pesticide Products
Food and Pesticides
Pesticide Type Index
Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP)
Agricultural Worker Protection Standards

Food and Drug Administration

Pesticides, Metals, Chemical Contaminants, and Natural Toxins Guidance Documents and Regulations
Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program Reports and Data
Chemical Hazards
Pesticide Analytical Manual (PAM)
Guidance for Industry: Channels of Trade Policy for Commodities With Residues of Pesticide Chemicals
Total Diet Study
Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA)
Active Program Notices and Bulletins
Directive: Pesticide Residue Testing for Grain (8/29/2006)
Fumigation Handbook (9/4/2006)
Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (PERC)
Agricultural Worker Protection Standards
Respiratory Protection Guide-Requirements for Employers of pesticide handlers
How to Comply with the 2015 Revised Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides-What Owners and Employers Need to Know
Manual: Hot to Comply with the 2015 Revised Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides
Updated WPS Posters for “Central Posting” Areas and Certain Decontamination Sites
Overview of Pesticide Regulations
Project Status
Pesticide Handlers
Agriculture Workers
Crop Advisers
Labor Contractors
Definitions of Common Terms
Regional IPM Centers
National Integrated Pest Management Database
IPM Database
Crop Profiles
Pest Alerts
Pesticide Data
Pesticide Safety Education Programs


Congressional Resources

Reports on Pesticides (General Accounting Office)

EPA Should Take Steps to Improve Its Oversight of Conditional Registrations (GAO-13-145, 2013)

Pesticides in Tobacco: Federal Activities to Assess Risks and Monitor Residues (GAO-03-845, 2003)

Agricultural Pesticides: Management Improvements Needed to Further Promote Integrated Pest Management (GAO-01-815, 2001)

Improvements Needed to Ensure the Safety of Farmworkers and Their Children (GAO-01-815, 2001)

Information on Pesticide Illness Reporting Systems (GAO-01-501T, 2001)

Agricultural Pesticides: Management Improvements Needed to Further Promote Integrated Pest Management (GAO-01-815, 2001)

Other Federal Resources

Pesticide Management and Coordination (Forest Service)

Pest Management (Cooperative State Research Education and Extension)

Pest Management (Natural Resources Conservation Service)

Pesticides and Wildlife Contaminant Issues: Pesticides (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Pesticides (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)

Pesticides and Wildlife (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

International Resources

Pest & Pesticide Management (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – FAO)

International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides (FAO)

Pesticides (World Health Organization)

Codex Alimentarius (FAO/WHO)

Health and Safety Executive: Pesticides

Pesticides: The Big Picture (Pesticide Action Network)

Fertilizer and Pesticides (Our World in Data)


Insect Control Guide for Agronomic Crops (Catchot, 2019)

Pesticide Safety for the Homeowner (Delaplane, 2017)

Insecticide Basics for the Pest Management Professional (Suiter & Scharf, 2015)

Disease Management in the Home Vegetable Garden (Langston & Eaker, 2013)

What you need to know about Protecting Yourself When Using Pesticides (Penn. State University, 2013)

National Worker Safety Training Handbook: Pesticide Safety for Agricultural Workers (NASDA, 2008)

National Pesticide Applicator Certification Core Manual (National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Research Foundation)

Grower’s Handbook of Pesticide Laws and Regulations (San Benito County Agric. Comm’r, 2007)

Pesticide Laws and Regulations (NE Extension, 2007)

Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides (NE Extension, 2006)

EPA Addresses Conflict Between FIFRA and CWA (IL Pesticide Review, 2003)

Pesticides and Genetic Drift: Alternative Property Rights Scenarios (CHOICES, Conner, 2003)

Pesticides and the Law (Purdue Cooperative Extension Service, 2001)

Record Keeping Requirements for Private and Commercial Applicators (MA Extension, 2001)

The Future Role of Pesticides in U.S. Agriculture (National Academies Press, 2000)

Federal Pesticide Laws and Regulations (NC State, 1996)

Pesticide Safety & Poisoning Symptoms (U. of Illinois, 1996)

Pesticide Laws and Regulations (U. MO Columbia, Fishel, 1993)

Pesticides and Property Rights (Property and Environment Research Center, Meiners and Morriss)

Laws and Regulations Study Guide (Department of Pesticide Regulation)

Additional Resources

Pesticides Posts (Ag & Food Law Blog)

American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators

American Plant Society

Entomological Society of America

Pesticide Environmental Stewardship

Pesticide Safety and Education (Oregon St. U.)

The Bureau of Plant Industry (Miss. Dept. of Ag.)

Pesticide Safety Education Program Fact Sheets (U. IL Extension)

Compendium of Pesticide Common Names

National Pesticide Information Center

Environmental Compliance in Your State

Association of American Pesticide Control Officials

Pesticide Information Profiles (EXTOXNET)

Center for Environmental and Regulatory Information Systems

The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance (TPSA)

WSU Urban IPM and Pesticide Safety Education Program

Worker Protection Standard (PA St. U.)

Worker Protection Standard Checklist (PA ST. U.)