Pesticide Label FAQs | South Dakota Department of Agriculture

Pesticide Label FAQs

Is it Necessary to Follow all Product Label Instructions When Using Pesticides?

State and Federal laws require all pesticide users to follow all product label instructions when using any pesticide product. Regardless of state and federal law, it is critical that all pesticide users are familiar with the label and that all instructions are followed. Risks and or injury to humans, crops, animals, wildlife, and the environment can result if the product label is not followed.

What Elements of the Pesticide Product Labeling Must I be Familiar With to Properly Use the Pesticide?

With any pesticide the product labeling is the law. State and federal law requires that all pesticide products be applied, used or disposed of in accordance with the product labeling. Therefore, it is critical that the user be familiar with all elements of the product label to use a pesticide in a proper manner. General elements of the product label include:

  • Product Name
    • Provides the trade name of the pesticide. You will note that there are many pesticides that have the same active ingredient but are marketed under different trade names.
  • Restricted Use Statement
    • This section indicates that the pesticide product is a Restricted Use Product and may provide a reason why.
  • Special Statements
    • Some products may carry special statements regarding where the pesticide product may be used or if there is supplemental labeling that applies to different states. It should be noted that not all pesticide products are labeled for use in all states.
  • Directions for Use
    • This section provides the user with information regarding how to use the product, what the product is designed to control, and where and how often to use it. Often times the manufacture will include a booklet with the container that provides detailed information for use. Some manufacturers will also provide a toll-free telephone number for consumers to obtain additional information about their products.
  • Precautionary Statements
    • Precautionary Statements on the product label provide information on how to reduce the potential for adverse effects from the use of the product. There are usually three (3) sections in this part of the label, including:
      • Human and Domestic Animal Hazards: This section describes the potential hazards to humans or domestic animals and actions the user can take to reduce the risk of adverse effect from the use of the product. Often this section will state what personal protective clothing is necessary to avoid exposure.
      • Environmental Hazards: If the product is potentially hazardous to fish, wildlife, plants, or animals or may endanger surface or ground water, this section will provide that information as well as what to do to avoid environmental hazards.
      • Physical or Chemical Hazards: This section provides such information about the product such as flammability or corrosivity. For example, if a product is flammable, it may contain a statement that prohibits use or storage around open flames.
  • Agricultural Use Requirements
    • This section of the label provides information necessary to comply with the Worker Protection Standard (WPS). Information found here includes restricted entry intervals, personal protective equipment requirements, inhalation hazards, and other information necessary to comply with the WPS.
  • Storage and Disposal
    • This section will provide information regarding storing and disposal of unused product and the empty container.
  • Signal Words
    • The product label will contain words that signal the user as to the potential hazard to humans. Signal words found on the label include “Caution”, “Warning”, “Danger”, and “Danger-Poison” with “Caution” being the least harmful and “Danger-Poison” the most harmful.
  • First Aid Information
    • This section of the label contains information on what to do if someone swallows, inhales, or contacts the pesticide. It may also provide special instructions to a physician if applicable.
  • Ingredients
    • Active Ingredient
      • The “Active Ingredient” of a pesticide is that which controls the target pest. This section of the label provides the amount of “Active Ingredient” in the product.
    • Other (inert) Ingredients
      • The product label will contain information that provides the user with the amount of “Other Ingredients” often referred to as “Inert” ingredients. This portion of the product does not control pests but is placed in the product to act as a carrier or improved efficacy of the product.
  • Manufacturer Address
    • This section simply states who the manufacturer is and their address. Sometimes a telephone number will be provided.
  • Manufacturer Warranty Statement
    • This statement provides information regarding how the product is warranted by the manufacturer and may contain disclaimers or liability statements.
  • EPA Registration Number (EPA Reg. No)
    • All pesticide products sold in the United States must be registered with the US EPA. The registration number shows the product has been reviewed by the EPA and that the EPA has determined the product can be used with minimal risk if you follow the directions on the label properly. The number is not an endorsement or guarantee of product effectiveness.
  • EPA Establishment Number (EPA Est. No.)
    • This number identifies the particular facility where the final phase of production of the pesticide took place.

Is it Possible that a Pesticide Product Could Have More Than One Label?

It is possible that a Pesticide Product could have more than one label. State regulatory authorities may require that a product label be changed to consider local conditions and cropping practices. It should be noted that when using a pesticide, label information must be taken from labels specific to the area where it is being applied.

US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Office of Pesticide Programs
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20260

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