Section 18 of FIFRA authorizes EPA to allow States
to use a pesticide for an unregistered use for a limited time if
EPA determines that emergency conditions exist.
Most requests for emergency exemptions are made by state lead agricultural
agencies, although United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
and United States Department of Interior (USDI) also request exemptions.
The process generally takes place as follows. Growers in particular
regions identify a problem situation which registered pesticides
will not alleviate. The growers contact their state lead agency
(usually the state department of agriculture) and request that the
agency apply to EPA for a Section 18 emergency exemption for a particular
use. Requests are most often made for pesticides that have other
food uses registered. The state agency evaluates the requests and
submits requests to EPA for emergency exemptions they believe are
warranted. The uses are requested for a limited period of time (no
longer than 1 year), to address the emergency situation only. To
be as responsive as possible to the states and growers, EPA attempts
to make decisions on the requests within 50 days of receipt. (Flow
chart of emergency exemption process.)
During this 50-day time period, EPA must perform a multi-disciplinary
risk assessment of the requested use, relying largely on data that
have already been reviewed for the pesticide. A dietary risk assessment,
an occupational risk assessment, an ecological and environmental
risk assessment, and an assessment of the emergency are conducted
prior to making a decision. For the past several years, EPA has
also evaluated the risk to the most sensitive sub-population (often
infants and children) in its dietary risk assessments. The Agency's
evaluation also includes an assessment of the progress toward registration
for the use in question.
If the emergency appears valid and the risks are acceptable, EPA
approves the emergency exemption request. EPA will deny an exemption
request if the pesticide use may cause unreasonable adverse effects
to health or the environment, or if emergency criteria are not met.
As a matter of course, a state may withdraw an exemption request
atany point in the process.
Under the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), enacted on August
3, 1996, EPA must establish formal tolerances (maximum allowable
residue levels) to cover all pesticide residues in food, even residues
resulting from emergency uses. Tolerances established for emergency
exemption uses are time-limited to correspond to the use season.
In establishing a tolerance, EPA must make the finding that there
is "reasonable certainty that no harm" will result to human health
from aggregate and cumulative exposure to the pesticide, as required
by the new FQPA health-based standard. Establishment of these tolerances,
with their expiration dates, are published in the Federal Register.
If a need is immediate,
a state agency may issue a crisis exemption which allows the unregistered
use for 15 days. The state notifies EPA of this action prior to
issuing the crisis, and EPA performs a cursory review of the use
to ensure there are no concerns. If concerns are noted, EPA confers
with the state, and under extreme cases may not allow a crisis to
be declared. If the state follows up the crisis with, or has already
submitted, an emergency exemption request, the use may continue
under the crisis until the EPA has made a decision on the request.
If the state does not also submit an emergency exemption request,
EPA must still establish the appropriate tolerance(s) for the crisis
chart of crisis exemption process.)
The EPA FIFRA Section 18 Emergency Exemption database provides
information about current and recent actions under Section 18. For
detailed information about the tolerances associated with a particular
action, you may go to the Federal
Register and look up the tolerance document according to the
date it was published. This database is updated approximately every
How to Search the Section 18 Database
The FIFRA Section 18 database includes records for all Section
18 Emergency Exemptions received by EPA. The database can be searched
by commodity (site), chemical or applicant; or any combination of
these three search criteria. Enter one or more letters of the site
or chemical name in the appropriate box to search by site or chemical.
The more letters you enter, the more selective the search. Applicants
can be selected from the drop down list. Chemicals are listed by
their common chemical name.
The search by site uses the “Food
and Feed Vocabulary” to find a matching search term to your
entry and returns a list of all crop/animal terms that correspond
to the search term. If the search returns more than one crop/animal
term, then you must select a term from the list which more closely
matches your search term. The search automatically selects Section
18 Emergency Exemption records for crop groups and subgroups that
include the selected crop term. If you are searching for records
about a unique, non-food site (ex. “birds, flightless,” “residential
areas”) and find no records, you may want to contact Alice
The database may also be searched by a specific date or a date
range. If you enter a specific date, the search will identify all
Section 18 actions from that date to the most recent update of the
database. Section 18 actions are recorded in this database starting
with those action received in October, 1997.
How to Interpret the Search Results
The search results display eight fields for each record for Section
18 Emergency Exemption:
|| The pesticide’s common chemical name.
||The crop/animal or site for which the pesticide
is approved for use under the conditions of the Section 18 Emergency
||The pests the pesticide is intended to control
||The state or federal agency that requested the
Section 18 emergency exemption.
||Date that EPA received the Section 18 Emergency
||Date that EPA responded to the applicant or the
date the applicant withdrew the exemption request.
||Action taken on the application.
||The date the tolerance was published for this
use in the Federal Register.
||The date the tolerance expires.
Search Section 18 Actions