The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a proposed rule that would declare a prion a pest under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), thereby requiring products “intended to reduce the infectivity of any prion on inanimate surfaces” to register as pesticide. According to EPA, the proposed rule would codify the agency’s current interpretation of FIFRA and implement a 2003 decision that expressly includes proteinaceous infectious particles within the regulatory definition of “pest.”

“This amendment, together with the formal declaration that a prion is a pest, will eliminate any confusion about the status of prion-related products under FIFRA,” states the proposed rule, which would direct any company seeking to sell or distribute a prion pesticide in the United States to obtain “a section 3 registration, section 24(c) registration, or a section 18 emergency exemption.” EPA will accept comments on the proposed rule until March 28, 2011. See Federal Register and EPA Pesticide News Story, January 26, 2011.