Fast Moving Bill Could have Wide Ranging Consequences for Products Involving Pesticides and Related Treatments

In a move that caught a number of legislators and potentially affected parties off guard, the House Agriculture Committee last week rushed into introduction and passage on the House Floor a bill, H.861, that would greatly expand the regulatory authority of the Agency of Agriculture over any product treated with or otherwise integrating pesticides.

The full implications of the bill remain only partially explored and considered, but the products affected could potentially range across such items as wood products, clothing, seeds, and everything in between.

Vermont statute defines an “economic poison” as “any substance produced, distributed, or used for preventing, destroying, or repelling any insects, rodents, nematodes, fungi, weeds, or other forms of plant or animal life or viruses, except viruses on or in living man or other animals, which the secretary [of Agriculture] shall declare to be a pest” and “any substance produced, distributed, or used as a plant regulator, defoliant, or desiccant.”

The bill would include in the definition of an “economic poison” so-called “treated articles”, which the bill defines as “pesticide or class of pesticides exempt under 40 C.F.R. § 152.25(a) from regulation under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, 7 U.S.C. § 136-136y.”

The bill directs the Secretary of Agriculture to develop regulations governing covered products used or sold in Vermont based on a determination of hazard to the environment or that the product is deemed by the Secretary to be “dangerous” or “unwise”.

Concerns have been raised about how broadly the bill’s scope could be applied and the standards by which regulations could be imposed. AIV will be working with potentially impacted companies and industries to identify and further understand the bill’s implications and working on addressing concerns with the bill in the Senate.

If you know or suspect that this bill is of interest or concern to your company or industry, please do not hesitate to contact us at for more information and to discuss options for engaging on the bill.