Pesticide Safety Tips for the Workplace and Farm

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Youʼve heard it before: THE LABEL IS THE LAW! It is considered a legal document that provides the applicator with specific information on use, environmental precautions, and personal protective equipment requirements. When pesticide label directions are followed correctly, pests are controlled effectively with minimal impact on people, nontarget species, and the environment.
It is important to realize that the pesticide label represents only the minimum standards for using a product safely. Among other factors to consider are well contamination, the safe transportation of pesticides, and good storage practices. But the product label is not designed to address these types of issues in detail; instead, government groups such as the Environmental Protection Agency, state departments of agriculture, and environmental management write regulations.
Pesticide safety regulations govern the day-to-day activities of the commercial pest management industry as well as farm operations. They require the business owner and the grower to meet specific objectives. But although regulations imply that you need to “build a better mousetrap” they generally donʼt tell you how. Regulations typically leave the details on and methods by which to meet the objectives up to the business owner or grower, thereby allowing flexibility for adaptation to various sites and operations. The purpose of this publication is to illustrate examples of the ingenuity of pest management professionals—farmers and commercial applicators alike—in developing business solutions to reduce the risk that pesticides pose to people and the environment. Their solutions are field-tested: they work, and they are cost effective and simple to implement.

Fred Whitford
Andrew Martin
Joe Becovitz
Arlene Blessing
Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service