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 ensure 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. § 1251-1389


Pesticide Programs, 40 C.F.R. §§ 150-180
Federal Register Rules on Pesticides Open for Comment

Case Law

Case Law Index for Pesticide Regulation

Administrative Law Decisions

Environmental Appeals Board (EPA)
Environmental Appeals Board FIFRA Decisions (EPA)
Administrative Law Judge Decisions on FIFRA (EPA)
Regional Judicial Officer Decisions on FIFRA (EPA)
Regional Judicial Officers Information (EPA)

Center Research Publications

Preemption under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (Hartman & Rollins, 2021)
FIFRA: Steps to Pesticide Registration (Vance & Rollins, 2020)
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) (Last updated May 11, 2023)
Fumigation Handbook (9/04/2006) (Last updated July 10, 2020)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Pesticide Illness and Injury Surveillance
Guidance for Building a State-Based Pesticide Poisoning Surveillance Program
Toxic Substance List
Chemical Agents

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
Publications: Fertilizers & Pesticides

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Pesticide Topics
Pesticide Registration
TRI Data and Tools
Regulatory and Guidance Information by Topic: Pesticides
Occupational Pesticide Safety and Health
Pesticide Worker Protection Standard “How to Comply” Manual
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
How EPA Protects Workers from Pesticide Risk
Pesticide Science and Assessing Pesticide Risks
Pest Control and Pesticide Safety for Consumers
Ingredients Used in Pesticide Products
Food and Pesticides
Pesticide Type Index
Pesticide Contacts and Organizational Information
How to Get Certified as a Pesticide Applicator
Restricted Use Products (RUP) Report

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

Congressional Resources

Reports on Pesticides (Government Accountability Office)
U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
U.S. House Agriculture Committee
U.S. House Natural Resources Committee

Other Federal Resources

Pesticide Management and Coordination (Forest Service)
Pest Management (Cooperative State Research Education and Extension)
Pest Management (Natural Resources Conservation Service)
Contaminant Mitigation (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
Pesticide Illness & Injury Surveillance (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
USDA Regional IPM Centers

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)
Chemical Safety: Pesticides (World Health Organization)
Codex Alimentarius (FAO/WHO)

Pesticides (Codex Alimentarius)

Health and Safety Executive: Pesticides


Insect Control Guide for Agronomic Crops (Catchot, 2021)
Pesticide Safety for the Homeowner (Delaplane, revised 2022)
Insecticide Basics for the Pest Management Professional (Suiter & Scharf, revised 2023)
Disease Management in the Home Vegetable Garden (Langston & Eaker, revised 2022)
What you need to know about Protecting Yourself When Using Pesticides (Penn State Extension, 2013)
National Worker Safety Trainer Handbook: Pesticide Safety for Agricultural Workers (National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Research Foundation, 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 (U. NE Lincoln Extension, 2007)
Pesticides and Genetic Drift: Alternative Property Rights Scenarios (CHOICES, Conner, 2003)
Pesticides and the Law (Purdue Cooperative Extension Service, 2001)
Understanding Federal Pesticide Recordkeeping (Agricultural Marketing Service)
Pesticide Laws and Regulations (U. MO Columbia, Polly, revised 2021)
Pesticides and Property Rights (Property and Environment Research Center, Meiners and Morriss, 2001)
Laws and Regulations Study Guide (California Department of Pesticide Regulation, 2020)
Agricultural Owners, Family Labor and the Worker Protection Standard (U. MO Extension, Baker and Milhollin, 2021)
Personal Protective Equipment for Working with Pesticides (U. MO Extension, Fishel, 2000).

Additional Resources:

USDA Pesticide Record-Keeping Requirements for Certified Private Applicators of Federally Restricted-Use Pesticides (U. MO Extension, Fresenburg & May, revised 2017)
Forms- Pest Monitoring Record Keeping (U. Mass. Amherst)
Pesticide Safety Education (UGA Extension)
Pesticide Safety Education Program (UVM Extension)
Worker Protection Standard Checklist (PennState Extension, Harvey)

Additional Resources

Pesticides Posts (Ag & Food Law Blog)
American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators
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 (U. IL Extension)
Compendium of Pesticide Common Names
National Pesticide Information Center
Association of American Pesticide Control Officials
Pesticide Information Profiles (EXTOXNET)
Center for Environmental and Regulatory Information Systems (Purdue U.)
The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance (TPSA)
Worker Protection Standard (PA St. U.)

Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (PERC)

WPS Respirator Resources
How to Comply with the 2015 Revised Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides-What Owners and Employers Need to Know

Updated WPS Posters for “Central Posting” Areas and Certain Decontamination Sites
Overview of Pesticide Regulations (U.C. Davis, 2016)
Project Status
Pesticide Handlers
Agriculture Workers
Crop Advisors
Labor Contractors
Definitions of Common Terms