We’re not Cockroaches, EPA. Tell Us What’s in that Toxic Spray!

Take a close look at the fine print on a can of Raid, a bottle of Cutters, a jug of RoundUp, or virtually any pesticide on the market today, and you’ll see these words:  “Inert ingredients.”

Inert ingredients are the pesticide industry’s best-kept secret.

The Bad News

There are thousands of chemicals used as inerts in pesticides, and over the years, we’ve discovered what some of them are.  The truth is that many inert ingredients are neither chemically nor toxicologically inert. Some cause cancer, some cause genetic damage, some cause reproductive harm, and others cause a wide variety of other health problems.

For decades, EPA has routinely accepted the pesticide industry’s line that these ingredients are “confidential business information.” That’s a red herring.  Pesticide companies can easily test their competitors’ products to find out what’s inside them.  The reason that pesticide companies use the inert ingredient loophole is that they want to keep doctors, independent researchers, and you in the dark.

The Good News

The new, improved EPA recently announced that they are considering requiring pesticide companies to disclose inert ingredients. After years of advocacy by CEH and other organizations, the agency has decided that “revealing inert ingredients will help consumers make informed decisions and will better protect public health and the environment.”

This is the opportunity that health advocates have been awaiting for over twenty years.

The next step:  until April 23, EPA is accepting public comments on the proposal, and you can play a vital role in this process.

Almost certainly, the pesticide industry will shout (and whine) from the rooftops that disclosing secret ingredients will hurt their business, stop innovation in the pesticide industry, make pesticides less effective, raise the price of lettuce to twenty bucks a head, and turn your house into a cockroach haven.

What You Can Do

To do the right thing, EPA needs your support.  It’s crucial that the agency hear from you now to counter the self-serving and misleading pressure they’re getting from the pesticide industry. Please click here to read the letter we’ll send to EPA and add your name to it. We need to gather thousands of signatures, so please share this with all of your friends and family who care about health and the environment.

With your help, we can close the pesticide industry’s inert ingredient loophole.  It’s an opportunity we can’t afford to miss!

Comments Closed


  1. Cecil Corbin-Mark
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Thank you to team CEH, especially Caroline, for all your hardwork to protect all of us from the real predatory pest, the pesticide manufacturers. The pesticides they peddle are pure poison.

  2. Posted January 29, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Lice Squad Canada supports this and has simular concerns. Funny how Health Canada is so fussy on natural treament options but has no issue with ouring pesticides on kids for head lice.

  3. Nancy Junker
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    I am happy to hear that the EPA is considering requiring pesticide companies to disclose inert ingredients, however, a more important step would be to ban pesticides (and all toxic chemicals) altogether. There are numerous natural ways to prevent bugs from infesting your home, eating your garden, and destroying your property that don’t involve using toxic chemicals, all which cause cancer in humans and animals from exposure in the air and water. Let’s all stop taking the “easy way out” by using toxic chemicals altogether, and instead find ways to solve these problems using our creative minds and our very able bodies. This is the only way we can make any real difference in, and is a necessary step in truly creating and cultivating a clean environment.

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  1. [...] Click here to see the brief explanation about the inert issue that I wrote a few weeks ago.  And here’s a great link for those you’d like to join me in reading the really nerdy stuff.   [...]

  2. [...] learn more about the inert ingredient loophole, read Caroline’s brief piece on inert ingredients. Posted Under: H: Environmental Health Permalink Share this [...]