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About biopesticides

2018-02-06 19:23:40

What are the advantages of using biopesticides?

  • Biopesticides are usually inherently less toxic than conventional pesticides.
  • Biopesticides generally affect only the target pest and closely related organisms, in contrast to broad spectrum, conventional pesticides that may affect organisms as different as birds, insects and mammals.
  • Biopesticides often are effective in very small quantities and often decompose quickly, resulting in lower exposures and largely avoiding the pollution problems caused by conventional pesticides.
  • When used as a component of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs, biopesticides can greatly reduce the use of conventional pesticides, while crop yields remain high.

To use biopesticides effectively (and safely), however, users need to know a great deal about managing pests and must carefully follow all label directions.

How does EPA encourage the development and use of biopesticides?

In 1994, we established the Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division in the Office of Pesticide Programs to facilitate the registration of biopesticides. This division promotes the use of safer pesticides, including biopesticides, as components of IPM programs. The division also coordinates the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP).

Since biopesticides tend to pose fewer risks than conventional pesticides, EPA generally requires much less data to register a biopesticide than to register a conventional pesticide. In fact, new biopesticides are often registered in less than a year, compared with an average of more than three years for conventional pesticides.

While biopesticides require less data and are registered in less time than conventional pesticides, EPA always conducts rigorous reviews to ensure that registered pesticides will not harm people or the environment. For EPA to be sure that a pesticide is safe, the Agency requires that registrants submit the results of a variety of studies and other information about the composition, toxicity, degradation, and other characteristics of the pesticide

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