Pesticide Registration

Conventional Reduced Risk Pesticide Program

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What is the Conventional Reduced Risk Pesticide Program?

The Office of Pesticide Program's Conventional Reduced Risk Pesticide Program expedites the review and regulatory decision-making process of conventional pesticides that pose less risk to human health and the environment than existing conventional alternatives. The goal of this program is to quickly register commercially viable alternatives to riskier conventional pesticides such as neurotoxins, carcinogens, reproductive and developmental toxicants, and groundwater contaminants. Participants in the program include the chemical companies and state or federal agencies that submit to the Agency initial registration and amended registration applications for pesticide products. 

This program does not apply to biological or antimicrobial pesticides, which are handled through separate expediting processes.

An Important Distinction to Note: While most reduced risk discussions refer to conventional reduced risk pesticides, a reduced risk decision is actually made at the use level, for a pesticide/use combination.

The reduced risk decision is based on comparison between the proposed use of the pesticide and existing alternatives currently registered on that use site. Registered pesticide alternatives may differ depending on the use in question, thus risk comparisons across uses may also differ.

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Why Apply for Reduced Risk Status

Advantages to receiving reduced risk status for your registration action:

  • Expedited decision timeframe under the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act
  • Expedited decision timeframe under the NAFTA Joint Review process
  • Opportunity for expedited establishment of maximum residue limits by the Codex Alimentarius Commission
  • Marketing advantage: although companies are not allowed to put a reduced risk pesticide claim on their labels, EPA believes that companies use the conventional reduced risk pesticide status to their marketing advantage
  • End users of treated crops give preference to crops treated with reduced risk pesticide products

Advantages at the state level:

  • New York State reporting requirements waived for reduced risk uses
  • Expedited decision timeframe by California Department of Pesticide Registration for reduced risk uses

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Applying for Reduced Risk Status

Information to include in a reduced risk rationale -- Guidance for preparing your conventional reduced risk pesticide or OP alternative status rationale is provided in PR Notices 97-3, and 98-7, respectively. In short, your request should fully address the following areas:

  • executive summary of your chemical
  • human health effects
  • environmental fate and effects
  • other hazards
  • pest resistance and management (e.g., Integrated Pest Management)
  • risk comparisons to registered alternatives
  • comparative performance

If you have received reduced risk status for labeled use(s) of your active ingredient in the past, you may wish to explore whether you qualify for streamlined processing of your application.

How to submit a reduced risk request -- Provide 3 copies to one of the following address:

By overnight mail or courier:

US EPA, Office of Pesticide Programs
2777 South Crystal Drive
Document Processing Center (Reduced Risk Appl.)
Potomac Yard 1 Arlington, VA 22202

By U.S. Postal Service:
Document Processing Center (Reduced Risk Appl.)
Office of Pesticide Programs (7504C)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460

In addition, provide12 copies to

Debra Rate, Reduced Risk Program Coordinator
2777 South Crystal Drive
mail code 7505P, cubicle #S7822, 7th floor
Potomac Yard 1
Arlington, VA 22202

For prompt processing, contact the Reduced Risk Program Coordinator, Debra Rate at (703) 306- 0309, before sending copies of the rationales. Also let your product manager know that you are applying for conventional reduced risk pesticide status.

Because the PRIA code assigned to your registration application is dependent on whether or not you are pursuing reduced risk status, submit your reduced risk rationale with the Section 3 application and clearly indicate in your cover letter that you are requesting reduced risk status for the registration action. The agency will not entertain conventional reduced risk pesticide or OP alternative status requests before receiving a complete Section 3 application.

Next steps in the process: The Reduced Risk Committee meeting is normally scheduled for approximately one month after we receive your request, and the agency's decision occurs at the conclusion of that meeting. For new chemical reduced risk use submissions and first food use submissions of previously registered chemicals, it will take longer as the Committee meeting date will not be scheduled until after we complete the science screens for data completeness.

You should receive a call with information on your conventional Reduced Risk pesticide meeting date within one to two weeks of your submission. If you have not been contacted within this time, contact Debra Rate ( or (703) 306- 0309. In most cases your company will be invited to attend the conventional reduced risk pesticide meeting. Exceptions to this may include submissions of new uses for active ingredients already granted conventional reduced risk pesticide or OP replacement status and rebuttals of previous decisions.

Structure of the Reduced Risk Committee:

  • 10-15 minute summary presentation of reduced risk argument by the registrant
  • Questions from the Committee members for your company's technical representatives. The primary purpose of the meeting is to clarify or resolve any outstanding issues with your company's request for reduced risk status.
  • Internal Committee deliberation
  • Committee vote on reduced risk status at the conclusion of the meeting
  • Registrant informed of Committee’s decision at the conclusion of the meeting

Following the meeting, we send a letter documenting the decision to the registrant.

Rebutting the agency's decision denying reduced risk status - If we deny your reduced risk request, you have 30 days from receipt of our letter documenting the decision to submit a written rebuttal to the decision addressing the concerns conveyed in our letter. Provide the rebuttal by mail or courier to Steve Schaible, using the appropriate address listed above. The Committee will consider the additional information and convene to reevaluate the reduced risk decision based on the additional information or arguments provided.

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New Uses of Active Ingredients Already Granted Conventional Reduced Risk Pesticide or OP Replacement Status

If you have received reduced risk status for use(s) of a pesticide in the past and you are requesting reduced risk status for new uses of that same pesticide, the agency offers a streamlined process for review of the request. This streamlined process assumes that the current submission does not present any issues that would require complex deliberation by the Reduced Risk Committee.Typically, a meeting of the committee will not be required and the agency will have a reduced risk decision no more that 30 days after the receipt of the reduced risk rationale.

We will accept these new uses of active ingredients already granted reduced risk status in an abbreviated submission format. The format of the request should be similar to that of an expanded executive summary with supporting tabular information. For instruction on where to send your submission and how many copies to provide, refer to "Applying for Reduced Risk Status" above.

The following are examples of situations where this streamlined approach may not be appropriate:

  • requested use(s) significantly change the risk picture for the chemical (e.g., use(s) are the first food uses, first outdoor uses, etc.)
  • previous reduced risk determination involved complex and difficult-to-resolve issues
  • new information about the chemical requires significant analysis
  • risk comparison to alternatives for requested use(s) not as clear cut as original submission which received reduced risk determination
  • insufficient information in the rationale for the Committee to make a decision.

In such cases the Committee would require that the requestor submit a more detailed rationale and/or meet with the Committee as part of a formal conventional reduced risk pesticide meeting.

If you choose to submit a reduced risk rationale using the streamlined approach, the request should include:

  1. Proposed use sites, and pests to be controlled for those use sites.
  2. A summary of the major reduced risk advantages the product offers from proposed uses and the major reasons why these uses qualify for conventional reduced risk pesticide status.
  3. A discussion of how the overall risk picture will change with the addition of these new uses (e.g., what percent of the reference dose is now used, how close are levels of concern for non target species to being exceeded, any new risk concerns, etc.).
  4. Any other reasons why the proposed uses are important (e.g., resistance management, limited alternatives, etc.)
  5. List of the major alternative pesticides in use for the above site and pest combinations. This list should include percentage of market share by dollars and acres treated and should include the major currently used products as well as up-and-coming lower risk alternatives.
  6. Projected market share over a five-year period and from what products it will take this market share.
  7. Tables summarizing the toxicology, environmental effects, and environmental fate of the product in comparison to the products identified in #5.
  8. Tables summarizing application rates and comparative performance of the product to the products identified in #5.
  9. Product formulation and application method(s).
  10. Representative seasonal treatment program(s) for the active ingredient on the requested use sites.
  11. Amount reduction represented by requested use pattern as compared to typical current use programs. (Please make sure that these programs are indeed typical for major growing regions.)
  12. Copy of proposed label(s).

If you have questions about whether this streamlined approach is appropriate for your submission, please contact Debra Rate ( or call (703) 306- 0309.

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Chemicals/Uses that have Received Reduced Risk and/or Organophosphate (OP) Alternative Status

List of Reduced Risk/Organophosphate Alternative Registration Decisions for Conventional Pesticides

Alternatives to Organophosphate Pesticides - Organophosphates (OPs) are a group of closely related pesticides used in agriculture and non-agricultural sites that affect functioning of the nervous system. They were among the agency's first priority group of pesticides to be reviewed under the Food Quality Protection Act. The agency, in PR Notice 98-7, made alternatives to organophosphate (OP) pesticides a priority for review and regulatory decision-making. 

The conventional reduced risk pesticide program screens OP alternatives for this initiative. Unlike reduced risk status, expedited decision timeframes for OP alternatives are not specifically described in the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA). However, these actions remain a priority and the agency will continue to seek expedited introduction to the marketplace while still meeting its registration obligations under PRIA.

See Also:

Conventional Pesticides

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