The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has put forward a proposal to remove 72 chemicals from its list of substances that are approved for use as inert ingredients in pesticides.

An inert ingredient is defined as any substance that is intentionally included in a pesticide that is not an active ingredient.

The aim is to reduce risks from pesticides containing potentially hazardous inert ingredients, explained Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. The agency wants to make sure that such ingredients are not added to any pesticide products unless they have been fully vetted.

This action comes in response to petitions by interest groups including the Center for Environmental Health, Beyond Pesticides, and Physicians for Social Responsibility. These groups asked the EPA to issue a rule requiring disclosure of 371 inert ingredients that are sometimes found in pesticide products.

An alternative approach taken by the agency is intended to reduce the risks posed by hazardous inert ingredients more effectively than by disclosure rulemaking.

Many of the 72 inert ingredients targeted for removal are on the list of 371 inert ingredients identified by the petitioners as hazardous. They include turpentine oil and nitrous oxide. However, according to the EPA, the 72 chemicals are not currently being used as inert ingredients in any pesticide product.

The full list of 72 chemical substances can be found at http://regulations.gov by searching for docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0558.

The EPA is requesting public comments on the proposal between now and November 21, 2014.