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. §§ 301-399i
Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1531-1544
Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. § 1251-1388


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

50-State Survey: Landowner Liability for Spray Drift (Lashmet, 2020)
The Deal with Dicamba Series
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
Pesticide Residues

Directive: Pesticide Residue Testing for Grain (10/24/2019)

Active Program Notices and Bulletins
Fumigation Handbook (9/04/2006)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Pesticide Illness and Injury Surveillance

Guidance for Building a State-Based Pesticide Poisoning Surveillance Program

National Ag Safety Database
Environmental Health Service
Exposure to Pesticides on Aircraft
Toxic Substance List

Economic Research Service (ERS)

Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 (Fernandez-Cornejo et al., 2014)
Topic: Fertilizers and Pesticides
Genetically Engineered Plants for Pest Management in U.S. Agriculture: Farm-Level Effects (Fernandez-Cornejo & McBride, 1999)
Pest Management

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Pesticide Topics
Pesticide Registration
Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program Public Data Release
Regulatory Information by Topic: Pesticides
Pesticide Safety Worker

Pesticide Worker Protection Standard “How to Comply”
Definition of Pesticide Handler Under the Worker Protection Standard
Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS)
Protect Yourself from Pesticides: Guide for Pesticide Handlers

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
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)

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)


Chemical, Metals, Natural Toxins & Pesticides Guidance Documents & 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

Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (PERC)

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: How 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


National Integrated Pest Management Database

Regional IPM Centers
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)

Other Federal Resources

Pesticide Management and Coordination (Forest Service)
Pest Management (Cooperative State Research Education and Extension)
Pest Management Policy (Natural Resources Conservation Service)
Contaminant Issues: Pesticides (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Pesticide Registration and Endangered Species Act Consultations(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Pesticides (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)

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)

Pesticides (Codex Alimentarius)

Health and Safety Executive: Pesticides


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)
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.)