Richard Nixon photo

Statement on Signing the Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act of 1972.

October 21, 1972

WHILE pesticides have been regulated by Federal law since 1910, it was not until after World War II that they began to be used in large volumes for a great variety of purposes. Since that time, the use of pesticides has become one of the major reasons for the tremendous growth of American agriculture, helping our farmers to provide sufficient food and fiber for this Nation and for much of the world.

But even though pesticides have greatly aided our agricultural productivity, they can also present serious problems. For if they are not used properly and prudently, they can be damaging to the natural environment and harmful to human beings.

As part of my environmental message of February 1971, I proposed that the Congress--for the first time--give the Federal Government authority to regulate effectively the use of all pesticides in the United States. I am pleased that this recommendation has received the diligent, conscientious consideration of the Congress and especially of the House and Senate agriculture committees and the Senate Commerce Committee. The legislation which has emerged after this consideration is as strong and workable as my original proposal. I take great pleasure in signing it into law today.

The act I sign today represents the most significant legislation in this field since the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act was passed in 1947. That law required the registration of pesticides, but it did not address the problem of misusing properly registered pesticides and it did not control pesticides which moved solely in intrastate commerce. The new law remedies these defects. It prohibits the use of any pesticide inconsistent with its labeling, it extends Federal regulation to all pesticides including those distributed or used within a single State, and it takes a number of additional important steps to improve and strengthen the regulatory process.

As a result of this new law, the Federal Government, for the first time, will be able to exercise adequate control over the use of pesticides. We will now be able to ensure that we can continue to reap the benefits which these substances can contribute to the well-being of America, in terms of maximized agricultural production, without risking unwanted hazards to our environment and our health.

Note: As enacted, the bill (H.R. 10719) is Public Law 92-516 (86 Stat. 973).

Richard Nixon, Statement on Signing the Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act of 1972. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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