Pesticide Testing & Regulation

Pesticides are some of the most tested and regulated products in the world.


Today’s pesticides are the results of many years of scientific research and testing. To bring a new pesticide to market, it takes roughly $286 million USD and 11 years of research and development.1 The crop protection industry and government agencies that regulate pesticides continually review and monitor them to identify any potential health effects.

Pesticides are some of the most tested and regulated products in the world. In fact, more tests are required for pesticides than for pharmaceuticals. Manufacturers must follow very stringent product development criteria, whereby an average of 160,000 chemical molecules are analyzed and those with potential negative effects are screened out from the very beginning.

Pesticides are some of the most tested and regulated products in the world.

Extensive Pesticide Testing

These tests, based on internationally accepted regulatory guidelines, are sufficiently strong to support regulatory risk assessment. Once approved, these products require re-registrations about every 10 years. Products are only approved by authorities and placed on the market if thorough testing and evaluation shows they do not pose unacceptable risks.

Extensive pesticide testing ensures their safety for people, wildlife, and the environment. Tests are undertaken to evaluate a range of potential adverse effects on both humans and the environment. They take into account the potential for sensitive windows of exposure (e.g., pregnancy and puberty) and vulnerable populations (pregnant or nursing women, the very young or very old), ensuring high margins of safety. The weight of scientific evidence shows that pesticides are not associated with human diseases.

New and Improved Formulas

Pesticides are continuously improving thanks to scientific innovation. New pesticides are more environmentally friendly than their decades-old predecessors. They do not persist in the environment or bioaccumulate in the human body or wildlife. In fact, most pesticides today are less toxic than table salt or vinegar.

Most pesticides today are less toxic than table salt or vinegar.

Scientists are constantly developing new products and re-evaluating old products based on safety and efficacy. New products are rigorously evaluated to ensure they do not pose unacceptable risk to human health or the environment. Older products that had high risk with normal use, which could not be mitigated, have been voluntarily restricted or withdrawn from the marketplace.

Data Transparency

Before any pesticide can be approved for use, all safety data related to human health and the environment must be submitted to regulatory authorities for their review. Most of this data is already available to the public. However, CropLife International and its member companies have made a global commitment to enable more public access to this safety data.

1  The Cost of New Agrochemical Product Discovery, Development and Registration in 1995, 2000, 2005-8 and 2010-2014; R&D expenditure in 2014 and expectations for 2019. Phillips McDougall. March 2016.

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