Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
Supply · Service · Stewardship

EPA Rejects Petition on Treated Seeds

On Wednesday, EPA rejected a 2017 petition to regulate treated seed, telling environmental groups the agency already "fully assesses" pesticides registered for treating seed, including effects on human health and the environment.

In September, the U.S. District Court for the District of Northern California in San Francisco approved a consent decree between the EPA and the Center for Food Safety and the Pesticide Action Network North America. The court gave the agency until the end of the month to act on the petition.

Though the EPA rejected the petition, the agency also announced on Wednesday plans to issue an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking to "seek additional information to what extent pesticide-treated seed is being distributed, sold, or used in a manner inconsistent with treating pesticide labeling."

Pesticide-treated seed is used widely across the country. For years, treated seeds were exempted from regulation as a pesticide as part of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The environmental groups sued in December 2021 because the agency had not responded to a 2017 petition to regulate treated seed.
Treated seeds currently make up an estimated 180 million acres in the United States.