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California DPR to Develop Comprehensive Reports to Justify Pesticide Product Registrations and Amendments

The California Department of Pesticide Registration (CDPR) published a notice describing revised procedures and documentation for justifying proposed pesticide product registrations and amendments on December 28, 2018, found here.

Effective May 1, 2019, CDPR pesticide Notices of Decision (NODs) justifying proposed registrations and amendments will link to separate, more comprehensive human health and environmental impact reports than in NODs and Public Reports published prior to the effective date. NODs and Public Reports will be published for each proposed registration or amendment prior to the proposal's 30-day public comment period. Currently, environmental impact information is aggregated for all proposals into a weekly NOD and Public Report.

The new documentation requirements may significantly increase registration and amendment process time. Product registrations and amendments under review on May 1, 2019 for which CDPR does not publish a NOD and Public Report by May 1 will be subject to the new requirements. Registrants should expect an increase in process time for submissions not anticipated to be approved prior to May 1, according to CDPR.

The revised NODs and Public Reports will contain, in addition to the current and proposed label:

  • A detailed description of the noticed registration or amendment;
  • Environmental and human health factors examined ("i.e., checklist containing the following . . . areas: human health, flora, fauna, water, and air");
  • Discussion of feasible alternatives and mitigation;
  • Discussion of existing environmental conditions and cumulative impacts; and
  • Conclusions explaining CDPR's analysis of potential significant adverse impacts to human health and the environment.

CDPR is changing its procedure and documentation in response to the 2017 California First District Court of Appeal decision in Pesticide Action Network North America v. CDPR, 224 Cal. Rptr. 3d 591 (Ct. App. 2017). The Court found CDPR's NOD and public report documentation deficient under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

In the notice, CDPR states that CEQA areas of impact requiring discussion under the decision (human health, flora, fauna, water, and air) may not be associated with current pesticide data requirements. Therefore, "additional research may be required" and products "may need to reenter DPR's formal evaluation process." CDPR states that the amount of time to complete each public report "will vary," and that the Department is hiring additional staff to accommodate changes in workload as a result of the changes.