How to Read a label

How to read a label

Main Label

  • Brand Name: Used to advertise and market the product. Different names are used by different manufacturers, even though their products may contain the same active ingredient.
  • Formulation: Identifies the way the pesticide in that container is mixed for application, e.g. ready-to- spray, concentrate, ready-to- use, granules or other.
  • Product Type: Indicates whether it is an insecticide, herbicide or fungicide. Specific examples include kills aphids, controls broadleaved weeds, etc.
  • Net Contents: Indicates the amount of product a full container holds.
  • Signal Words: Reflects the potential toxicity if product is used incorrectly. Danger = highly toxic. Warning = moderately toxic. Caution = slightly toxic.
  • Active Ingredients: Specific names and amounts of materials included in the product.
  • OMRI Listed: If the ingredients are approved for organic gardening, the label will include the OMRI icon. OMRI stands for the Organic Materials Review Institutue, the nonprofit organization that certifies organic materials. (Remember, even organic products can be hazardous if used other than is stated on the label.)

Precautionary Statements And Product Information

  • Hazards to Humans and Domestic Animals: Notes potential hazards and actions that can be taken to reduce them, such as wearing gloves. May also provide extra information on protecting children and pets.Environmental Hazards: Outlines the product’s potential to harm wildlife, fish, endangered plants and animals and wetlands, or water. It also describes ways to avoid environmental damage.
  • Physical and Chemical Hazards: Explains the fire, explosive or chemical hazards the product may pose.
  • First Aid: States exposure conditions requiring medical attention, and the protocol if someone is accidentally poisoned by the product. If this happens, always call a doctor or the National Poison Control Center (1-800- 222-1222) for further assistance. Have the label available when calling or visiting a doctor. It includes specific instructions and information the physician will need.
  • EPA Registration Number: Verifies that the Environmental Protection Agency has reviewed the product and found it can be used safely when the directions on the label are followed properly.
  • Manufacturer’s Name and Address: States where to find more information about the product.

Ingredients And Names

  • Ingredient Statement: Lists materials in the product, including:
    • Active ingredients – specifically the names and amounts of chemicals responsible for controlling pests, listed by common name/chemical name and percentage
    • Other ingredients – not listed specifically, these do not control the pest but serve other purposes, such as dissolving the active ingredients or affecting how the product works
  • Chemical Name: A complex name used by chemists to describe the chemical structure of the pesticide, herbicide or fungicide. It may or may not be listed.
  • Common Name: A simpler version of the chemical name. For example, the common name for the pyrethroid cyano(4-fluoro- 3- phenoxyphenyl)-methyl 3-(2,2- dichloroethenyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropanecarboxylate is beta-cyfluthrin.

Directions For Use

This is one of the most important and useful portions of a pesticide label. It details the proper timing and application methods for success. It specifies which pests the product is registered to control and where the product can be used (plants, animals and locations).

The Directions For Use explain:
  • How To Apply – without causing physical harm to the user, others or the environment
  • Where To Apply – will state where product can and cannot be used, i.e. indoors and outdoors
  • How Much To Apply – amount needed to achieve best results
  • When To Apply – details proper application timing and frequency
    (NOTE: Using more product or using it more often than stated on the label does not provide better control)
Additional directions may include:
  • For Best Results – offers guidelines to optimize results, i.e. “pull back mulch, water in with ½ inch of water,” etc.
  • Intervals To Harvest – how soon a crop can be used/eaten after application
  • Re-Entry Period – time that must pass before people and animals can re-enter a treated area
  • (Show bee icon here) Pollinator Protection Box – new addition to EPA- required labeling signals the pesticide’s potential hazards to bees and other pollinators, along with restrictions and information to protect pollinators when using that product. Just look for the bee icon.

Storage And Disposal

Describes the best methods for storing the product and what users are to do with unused product or the empty container.

Please note:

A pesticide label is considered a legal document that must be followed to the letter. Doing so ensures you purchase the right product, use it safely and achieve desired results. Not doing so risks the safety of yourself and others, threatens the environment, exposes you to possible legal action and will not help control the targeted pest.