FQPA, PCPA & Children’s Health

The Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) was passed in 1996 and made important changes to the way that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates pesticides that are used on food crops. In particular, FQPA requires that EPA apply an additional 10-fold safety factor (called the FQPA factor) when setting tolerance levels to “take into account potential pre- and postnatal toxicity and completeness of the data with respect to exposure and toxicity to infants and children” (EPA). EPA’s decision on whether a lower FQPA factor (including a value of 1x) may be applied depends on the toxicology database, exposure assessment and residual concerns. For example, even if offspring are more susceptible than adults, the EPA may reduce the FQPA factor to 1x if the potential hazard is well-characterized and there is no residual concern. Canada’s Pest Control Products Act (PCPA) similarly applies an extra 10x safety factor to protect infants and children when setting acceptable daily intake (ADI) levels. Unlike in the United States, however, this extra safety factor is usually applied by default unless there are specific health data available to show that children are not more sensitive than adults.
Exponent toxicologists have the expertise and experience to assist clients on issues related to application of the FQPA and PCPA factor for their products. We have scientists on staff who have served as senior scientists at EPA working on issues related to developmental toxicity and children’s health. Our scientists have been integral in workshops and discussions addressing the differences in how the US and Canada apply these additional safety factors. We also have expertise in the design and evaluation of studies to address whether or not an additional safety factor is required.