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


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

Approval of Pesticides (R. Rumley, 2012)

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

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

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Pesticide Illness and Injury Surveillance

National Ag Safety Database

State-Based Pesticide Poisoning Surveillance Program

Economic Research Service

Topic: Chemical Inputs

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)

Food and Drug Administration

FDA Pesticide Glossary (06/05)

Pesticides, Metals, Chemical Contaminants, and Natural Toxins Pesticide Program Residue Monitoring

Pesticide Program Residue Monitoring

       Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA)

Active Program Notices and Bulletins

Directive: Pesticide Residue Testing for Grain (8/29/2006)

Fumigation Handbook (9/04/2006)

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

Regional IPM Centers

Pesticide Safety Education Programs


Congressional Resources

Reports on Pesticides (General Accounting Office)

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 (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)


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 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)

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.)