United States
                  Environmental Protection
                        Prevention, Pesticides
                        And Toxic Substances
June 1992
                  R.E.D.   FACTS
                  Citric  Acid
     All pesticides sold or used in the United States must be registered by
EPA, based on scientific studies showing that they can be used without
posing unreasonable risks to people or the environment. Because of
advances in scientific knowledge, the law requires that pesticides which
were first registered years ago be reregistered to ensure that they meet
today's more stringent standards.
     In evaluating pesticides for reregi strati on, EPA obtains and reviews a
complete set of studies from pesticide producers, showing the human health
and environmental effects of each pesticide.  The Agency imposes any
regulatory controls that are needed to effectively manage each pesticide's
risks.  EPA then reregisters pesticides that can be used without posing
undue hazards to human health or the environment.
     When a pesticide is eligible for reregi strati on, EPA announces this and
explains why in a Reregi strati on Eligibility Document, or RED.  This fact
sheet summarizes the information in the RED for citric acid.
    Use Profile
     Citric acid is an active ingredient in pesticide products registered for
residential and commercial use as disinfectants,  sanitizers and fungicides.
These products, containing citric acid in combination with other active
ingredients, are used to kill odor-causing bacteria, mildew, pathogenic
fungi, certain bacteria and some viruses; and to remove dirt, soap scum,
rust,  slime and calcium deposits.  Citric acid products are used in
bathrooms,  and in/on dairy and food processing equipment.
     Citric acid occurs naturally in plants and in animal tissues and fluids.
It can be extracted from citrus fruit and pineapple waste.  It can be produced
on an industrial scale by mold-based fermentation of carbohydrates such as
     The first pesticide products containing citric acid as an active
ingredient were registered in the early 1970's.  Currently, three products
containing citric acid and other active ingredients are registered for use as
fungicides and bactericides, as described above. Citric acid is "generally
recognized as safe," or GRAS (see 21 CFR 182.1033).

Human Health and
    Additional Data
  Product Labeling
Changes Required
            For More
     Although EPA has developed a set of data requirements for
reregi strati on,  the Agency believes there is a category of pesticides for
which a greatly reduced set of data requirements are appropriate.  Such
pesticides may be exempt from the usual generic data requirements for
toxicology, residue chemistry, human exposure,  ecological effects and
environmental fate, without compromising human health or environmental
safety.  However,  some data requirements (such as product specific product
chemistry data, acute toxicology studies and efficacy studies) usually are
essential, and generally will not be waived.
     Citric acid  is in this category of pesticides, and EPA is waiving most
of the generic data requirements for its reregi strati on.  Citric  acid is a well
known component of carbohydrate metabolism in living organisms, and is
found naturally in soil and  water.  It degrades readily when in contact with a
variety of microorganisms that are found in soil, natural waters and sewage
treatment systems.
     The current registered pesticidal uses of citric acid result in only
negligible human and environmental exposure.   EPA has received no reports
of adverse effects resulting from citric acid's use.  Citric acid, however, is a
severe eye irritant and a moderate skin irritant, so appropriate label
precautions are necessary.  The Agency believes that no significant adverse
effects to humans or the environment are associated with the  proper use of
citric acid as a pesticide.
     EPA has waived all additional generic data requirements for citric
     The labels of the three registered citric acid pesticide products must
comply with EPA's current pesticide labeling requirements.

       The registered disinfectant, sanitizer and fungicide uses of citric
acid are not likely to cause unreasonable adverse effects in people or the
environment, and are eligible for reregi strati on.
       These products, which contain both citric acid and other active
ingredients, will be reregistered once product-specific data and amended
labeling are received and accepted by EPA, and after the other active
ingredients also are determined to be eligible for reregi strati on.

     EPA is requesting public comments on the Reregi strati on Eligibility
Document (RED) for citric acid during a 60-day time period, as announced
in a Notice of Availability published in the Federal Register.  To obtain a
copy of the RED or to submit written comments, please contact the Public
Response and Program Resources Branch, Field Operations Division
(7506C), Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP),  US EPA,  Washington, DC
20460, telephone 703-305-5805.

     In the future, the citric acid RED will be available from the National
Technical Information Service (NTIS), 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield,
VA 22161, telephone 703-487-4650.
     For more information about citric acid or about EPA's pesticide
reregi strati on program, please contact the Special Review and Reregi strati on
Division (7508W), OPP, US EPA, Washington, DC 20460, telephone 703-
308-8000.  For information about reregi strati on of individual citric acid
products, please contact the Registration Division (7505C), OPP, US EPA,
Washington, DC 20460, telephone 703-305-5447.
     For information  about the health effects of pesticides, or for assistance
in recognizing and managing pesticide poisoning symptoms,  please contact
the National Pesticides Telecommunications Network (NPTN).  Call toll-
free  1-800-858-7378, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or Fax your
inquiry to 806-743-3094.