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Ammonia & Urea Products For Microbe Control Now Regulated Under FIFRA
(February 2011)

EPA has reached a decision that ammonia and urea products used in combination with chlorine to help control microbes fall under the scope of FIFRA, and are required to meet the act’s registration requirements. This action stems from a dispute among three companies – Buckman Laboratories, Nalco and Ashland Hercules Water Technologies – regarding a conflict over the sale of ammonia and urea products, which the pulp and paperboard industry mixes with sodium hypochlorite for use in killing microorganisms in wastewater so it can be recycled.

Buckman and Ashland registered their ammonia and urea products with EPA, but Nalco, which has similar products, had not. In 2007, Nalco filed a petition with EPA asking the Agency to find that its products were not subject to FIFRA regulation. Previously, EPA had given Nalco temporary authority to sell ammonia and urea products as long as it did not make any pesticidal claims. In response, Buckman – joined by Ashland – filed petitions asking EPA to force Nalco to register its own products.

TSG and McKenna Long & Aldridge, representing Buckman, argued that the three companies state or imply that their ammonia and urea products should be added to chlorinated water as part of a biocide control system where the material will interact with chlorine that is also added to water. The reaction of ammonia or urea with chlorine forms a new chemical substance – chloramine – that has pesticidal activity against microbial organisms. This in turn defines those products as pesticides requiring their registration under FIFRA.

TSG and McKenna Long & Aldridge helped win the favorable decision as EPA now requires the registration of ammonia-based and urea-based products for the control of microbes in the pulp and paperboard industry as pesticides.

For more information, please Contact TSG.
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