In the previous sections, I have
covered topics that include pesticide residues, residue
tolerances, residue monitoring, and risk assessment. It’s a lot
of information and a complex legal issue. However, when it
comes to the practical application, one rule is clear.
In order to produce quality crops without the risk of
illegal residues, you need to strictly follow the label
instructions, because the label is the law. Following label
instructions will ensure safe, effective, and cost-effective
use of the pesticide. In this section, I will guide
you through several parts of the pesticide label that
will help you when choosing and using pesticides. Let’s review a little. What
exactly is a pesticide label? It is a complex legal document
that you must read and understand before applying the
pesticide. Labels contain detailed information on how to
use the product correctly. Always make applications in
strict accordance with all label instructions and state and local
regulations. It is important to note what your state regulations
are because sometimes, particularly in California,
some state regulations are not written into the label. For example, Title 3 of the
California Code of Regulations list restrictions not
imposed by FIFRA. There are some additional
restricted active ingredients where permits and applicator
licenses are required. In California, in order to apply
restricted materials, a PCA recommendation is required. Additional personal
protective equipment is required in California. Also, in the case of soil
fumigants, there are some additional buffer zones
and rate restrictions. You can check with your Ag
Commissioner for information on these additional regulations. In the case of most pesticides,
the label is attached to the front or back of the pesticide
container. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires
manufacturers to attach additional fold-out labels, or
booklets, to packages that are too small to have all the
required information printed on them. These booklets, together
with the part of the label affixed to the container, are
the complete pesticide label. [No audio] Before purchasing a pesticide,
make sure you have the complete label, including any
accompanying label booklets. People who employ pesticide
handlers and fieldworkers in California are required by law
to provide unrestricted access to complete labels and Safety
Data Sheets. Safety Data Sheets give more information about
the pesticide’s hazards. Never remove a pesticide label
from its container or use unlabeled pesticides. It is not
recommended to use pesticides that were stored for long
periods of time, as regulations for their use may have changed.
In case you intend to use a pesticide that was bought a long
time ago, verify its status first in DPR’s pesticide label
database. If a pesticide or a use was cancelled, the pesticide
can still be used on that crop for a given amount of time. This
is referred to as “Existing stocks provision” and usually
accompanies a notice to cancel a product or specific use. [No audio] Check with your Ag
Commissioner if you are uncertain whether
a pesticide can still be used on your crop. [No audio] How will reading the label help
you? Pesticide labels answer most of the basic questions you
need to know about the product, its application, and handling. Let’s start with the brand name.
A brand name is the name the manufacturer gives to the
product. This is the name used for all advertising and
promotion. Brand names are often similar, but the composition and
concentration of the pesticide may vary. Therefore, always
carefully check that you buy and use exactly the product that was
recommended and registered for the crop where you
intend to apply it. There are also common names
and chemical names. The common name is the active
ingredient of the product. The chemical name is usually in
parentheses next to the common name and is a more complex name
that describes the chemical makeup and structure. When a
pesticide contains more than one active ingredient, the label will
state the percentage of each. Labels usually list the
formulation type, such as flowable, emulsifiable
concentrate, wettable powder, or soluble powder. This information
may be included in the brand name. For example, after the
trade name, you may see a “W” to indicate a wettable powder
formulation. The “EC” would indicate an emulsifiable
concentrate formulation. Be aware that there may be
different regulations for different formulations. Pesticide labels list the
percentage of active and other ingredients by weight. So-called
“Other ingredients” are all components of the formulation,
like a solvent or an adjuvant, that do not necessarily have
pesticidal action but may still pose safety or environmental
problems and form residues. Manufacturers do not usually
identify individually the names or percentages of “other
ingredients” in the product. When should you read
the pesticide label? First, make sure you read the
label before you even purchase the pesticide. Is it registered for
your intended use? Are there any restrictions or
other conditions that prohibit using this pesticide at the
application site? Is it suitable under current
weather conditions? Will it control the life
stage of your pest? What personal protective
equipment and special application equipment will you
need to apply the pesticide? Then always read the label
before any handling, mixing, application, or disposal
of the pesticide. Don’t rely on your memory! It is so important to
understand the pesticide label and follow
it completely. The remainder of this course
will focus on factors and label sections that you should pay
special attention to in order to avoid illegal pesticide
residues. We’ll take a look at Choosing the right pesticide
for the right crop, Pesticide use rate, The preharvest interval, The re-treatment interval for
repeat applications, and Plantback restrictions that
protect against illegal residues in subsequently planted crops. But before moving on further
let’s check your understanding with a short quiz.