More and more Americans turn to the Internet for every conceivable kind of information. From how to make lemon meringue pie from how to file federal tax extensions, the Internet seems to provide guidance on nearly any issue an American might be wrestling with. Unfortunately, the federal government does not trust businesses to submit, track and otherwise provide certain kinds of information online. Even though the Internet is increasingly where individuals turn for information, some government agencies remain stuck behind the times.

Thankfully, the Environmental Protection Agency recently opted to embrace the Internet as a source and outlet for valuable information. Prior to this month, businesses which manufacture pesticide products were not allowed to treat any pesticide labeling information posted online as legally valid. However, the EPA recently released voluntary process guidelines for posting legally enforceable labeling information online.

When it comes to avoiding penalties for environmental violations, it is critical that businesses follow regulations to a tee. However, certain regulations do not always make the most practical or legal sense. For example, it benefits consumers to have pesticide information available online, just as it benefits companies to provide information online that is legally enforceable.

While the EPA will still require manufacturers to pair all of their pesticide-related products with EPA-approved labeling, it will now allow manufacturers to outfit these labels with a reference to an online location where consumers can download complete and enforceable labeling. As this policy shift is likely to benefit consumers and manufacturers alike, it is a most welcome development.

Source: Bloomberg BNA, “EPA Authorizes Companies to Make Pesticide Labels Available on Internet,” Patrick Ambrosio, April 7, 2014