How To Gather Just The Facts From Pesticide Labels

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When it comes to using pesticides, being able to read and interpret the information on a pesticide label is very crucial. The pesticide label is the information that is printed on or attached to the pesticide container, and this information can be divided into the following four categories:

I. Safety information: This section contains information related to child hazard warning, signal word, statement of practical treatment, and hazards to humans and domestic animals.

II. Environmental information: This section contains information related to environmental hazards.

III. Product information: This section contains information related to use classification, brand/trade name, ingredient statement, net contents, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration number, EPA establishment number, name and address of manufacturer, formulation, physical or chemical hazards, and limited warranty and disclaimer.

IV. Use information: This section contains information related to directions for use, and storage and disposal of the product.

This article aims to help pesticide applicators understand the information contained within the safety, environmental, product, and use sections of the pesticide label.

→Click here to see the pesticide label for Safari 20SG® (dinotefuran, Valent Professional Products), which has been included with this article to help better understand the information presented in this article.

Also, the pesticide label for Mustang Max EC® (FMC Agricultural Products) has been included with this article to help with answers to the CEU Series 37 questions. →Click here to view the Mustang Max EC label.

I. Safety information

Please refer to page 1 of the Safari 20 SG® label for this section.

(a) Child Hazard Warning: the front section of each pesticide label bears the statement “KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN”. This is to prevent poisoning in children, a major cause of injuries in children.

(b) Signal Word: Often indicated in large text size, the signal word indicates the level of toxicity of a pesticide to humans upon ingestion (when swallowed). The signal word is based on the entire contents of the pesticide product and not just the active ingredient or product components that affect the pest. Signal words can be of the following types:

i. DANGER along with the word POISON/PELIGRO or DANGER alone labeled pesticides are highly toxic. The oral lethal dose is a few drops to a teaspoonful.

ii. WARNING/AVISO labeled pesticides are moderately toxic, and the oral lethal dose is a teaspoon to an ounce.

iii. CAUTION labeled pesticides that are slightly toxic, with oral lethal dose of one ounce to one pint or one pound.

iv. CAUTION labeled pesticides that are relatively non-toxic, with oral lethal dose over one pint or one pound.

The level of toxicity decreases as you go from DANGER to CAUTION relatively non-toxic.

The signal word for Safari 20SG® is CAUTION.

(c) Statement of Practical Treatment: This section provides the information for antidotes and treatment to medical personnel treating a pesticide poisoning victim.

(d) Hazards to Humans and Domestic Animals: This section of the label provides the precautionary statements which indicate the specific hazards, routes of exposures, and precautions to be taken to avoid injury to humans and domestic animals.

The Safari 20 SG® label has the following statement for this section: “Harmful if swallowed or absorbed through skin. Causes moderate eye irritation.”

(e) Personal Protective Equipment: This section of the label provides specific information about the type of protective clothing that needs to be worn during handling, mixing, or applying the product.

II. Environmental Information

Please refer to pages 1 and 2 of the Safari 20 SG® label for this section.

(a) Environmental Hazards: In this section the label provides the information about the potential hazards and the precautions needed to prevent injury or damage to the environment.

Example of environmental hazard statement from the Safari 20SG® label: “This pesticide is toxic to shrimp.”

Aparna Gazula is a commercial horticulture agent at the UF/IFAS Alachua County Extension service in Gainesville.

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2 comments on “How To Gather Just The Facts From Pesticide Labels

  1. Tracey Moehling

    My husband and I took Series Test #37 on 4-11-12. Unfortunately, I did not print out the results page you emailed to me and now AOL has decided to delete all mail over 30 days old. Could you please resend our results? Our pesticide license numbers are: Robert E. Moehling- PV 9647 Tracey Moehling – PV28677 Thank-you.