Crop and Pest Management Guidelines

A Cornell Cooperative Extension Publication

1.9 Reduced-risk Pesticides, Minimum-risk Pesticides, and Biopesticides


1.9.1 Reduced-risk Pesticides

EPA has expedited the registration of conventional pesticides having low toxicity to humans and nontarget organisms (including fish and birds), low risk of groundwater contamination or runoff, low potential for pesticide resistance, demonstrated efficacy, and compatibility with IPM. EPA refers to materials meeting these criteria as "reduced-risk." The "reduced-risk" designation applies only to certain uses of a particular pesticide and may not include all labeled uses of the product.


1.9.2 Minimum-risk Pesticides

Minimum-risk pesticides are certain pesticides exempt from EPA registration under FIFRA. Since these products are not registered with the EPA, they have no EPA registration number. Minimum-risk pesticides contain only active and inert ingredients outlined in federal regulations (40 CFR 152.25(f)(1) and 40 CFR 152.25(f)(2), respectively). Minimum-risk pesticides must also meet certain label requirements. Detailed information on minimum-risk pesticides is available at: pesticides.

New York State does not require registration of minimum-risk pesticides meeting EPA's criteria. However, other states may require their registration.


1.9.3 Biopesticides

EPA defines biopesticides or biological pesticides as certain types of pesticides derived from natural materials such as animals, plants, bacteria, and certain minerals. This group includes microbial pesticides (which contain bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc., as the active ingredient); plant incorporated protectants (pesticidal substances plants produce from added genetic material like corn genetically modified to produce Bacillus thuringiensis toxins); and biochemical pesticides comprised of naturally occurring substances that control pests by nontoxic mechanisms (such as pheromones or some insect growth regulators). Biopesticides must be registered with EPA. See biopesticides/ for more information on biopesticides.

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