The role of independent research in the regulatory process: A lesson involving the urban pest management community in the United States
  Key Words  
  Communication, termiticide, scientific review, panel protocols, efficacy
  B.T. Forschler
  The regulatory process in the United States, as it pertains to termite management, is charged with the dual responsibilities of environmental stewardship and consumer protection. These two important roles can only be accomplished using sound scientific data as the foundation of the decision-making process. Sources for obtaining scientific data include scientific and popular press literature while additional information can be accessed through manufacturer in-house data bases and service provider records. The regulatory community finds itself faced with sorting through information during the decision-making process and determining what constitutes an unbiased, scientific assessment of product efficacy. This task is often complicated by the fact that many regulatory decision makers do not have a scientific background resulting in a lack of confidence when examining data provided for registration of new products or use patterns. Members of the Urban Pest Management Community (UPMC) in the United States often find themselves at odds over regulatory decisions. Understanding that communication and cooperation are required for reasonable conflict resolution, a dialog initiated by the leadership of three UPMC organizations: Association of State Pest Control Regulatory Officials (ASPRCO), National Pest Management Association (NPMA), and Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE), resulted in the formation of the Termiticide Scientific Review Panel (TSRP). The three aforementioned organizations represent part of the UPMC in the US which also would include but is not limited to the Federal regulatory arm [the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC)] and the urban entomology research community [comprised of University, Consultants, and Federal research organizations –United States Agriculture Department’s Forest Service (USDA, FS) and Agricultural Research Service (USDA, ARS)] and property owners (representing a wide range of interests that include the real estate industry, mortgage lenders, as well as, the actual property owners). The formation of the TSRP in the United States is an example of using common sense for a common cause that could stand as a blueprint for other countries interested in placing a level of comfort to the science used in the process of regulation.