Inactive Ingredients?

Ever pick up a product in the supermarket and stare at the label baffled by the by the long list of inactive ingredients in your pasta sauce? Where do they come from and what are they? Well, chances are it’s from pesticide.


There’s been a flurry of writing on the subject recently, and a push now to consider this issue as important. For more information, see:

Mystery in a Bottle: Will the EPA Require Public Disclosure of Inert Pesticide Ingredients?
http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.118-a168

Article excerpts:

According to the EPA, there are currently more than 1,000 active ingredients and about 4,000 inert ingredients in use.

“The current lack of information [available to consumers and users] about inert ingredients interferes with the fair and efficient functioning of the market by adversely affecting consumers’ ability to exercise individual choice or express preferences and thus the market-driven incentives for producers and suppliers of pesticide products. As a result, pesticide products may contain levels of hazardous ingredients that are higher than society needs or wants and/or people may use a pesticide product or combination of products that lead to more adverse health or environmental outcomes than would otherwise occur.”

—U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Advance notice of proposed rulemaking
Federal Register, 23 December 2009

…..The EPA doesn’t have current publicly available data on total pesticide use, although agency spokeswoman Enesta Jones says the agency expects to release a report on sales and use of pesticides later in 2010. The agency had previously calculated in Pesticides Industry Sales and Usage: 2000 and 2001 Market Estimates that about 5 billion pounds of active ingredients were used in 2001 in products such as insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, disinfectants, and wood preservatives. If each of the United States’ 3,717,792 square miles received the same amount, that would be an average of about 1,350 pounds per square mile per year. Based on limited data on the percentages of inert ingredients in various types of products, a conservative estimate suggests about 6–10 billion pounds of pesticide products may be spread in the environment each year.”

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