Labels and Rates
The admonition to "READ THE LABEL" is never as important as when dealing with insecticides. Everything you need to know about a product appears on its label.
In fact, the label is really a legal contract between the manufacturer and the user. It is against the law to use any insecticide in a manner that is not totally consistent with the label information. By law, a label must contain all of the following information:
- Each active ingredient must be listed by name. All other compounds (adjuvants) are grouped together as "Inert Ingredients".
- Formulation and Concentration
- Alphanumeric designations give type of formulation and amount of active ingredient. For dry formulations, the concentration is given as a percent by weight (e.g., "20WP" is a wettable powder containing one pound of active ingredient in every five pounds of product). For liquid formulations, the concentration is given in pounds of active ingredient per gallon (e.g., "3EC" is an emulsifiable concentrate containing 3 pounds of active ingredient per gallon of product).
- Signal words
- The toxicity hazard of a pesticide is instantly recognizable by key words that appear in large type on the front panel of every label. The most hazardous pesticides bear the words "Danger" and "Poison" together with a skull and crossbones. Moderately hazardous compounds contain the word "Warning", and compounds with only a slight hazard are designated with the word "Caution".
- Legal Uses and Application Rates
- The label lists all legal uses of a pesticide, and gives the maximum application rate. It is against the law to use a pesticide for any purpose not listed on the label.
- Safety and Health Information
- The label specifies the type of protective equipment needed to apply the product safely. It also describes emergency actions that should be taken in case of accidental exposure or poisoning.
- Environmental Hazards
- Specific dangers to wildlife, ground water, or other components of the environment are listed on the label together with specific directions for avoiding those hazards.
- Disposal Instructions
- The label gives specific instructions on how to decontaminate and dispose of the empty pesticide container.
To use a pesticide correctly, you must be able to calculate the correct application rate.