This document describes some of the smaller, yet important pieces found on the pesticide label. Examples of these various components are provided and their meanings explained.
While not as obvious as sections of the pesticide label that require much larger space, such as "directions for use" or "environmental hazards," several small pieces of information are required to relay the entire meaning of the label. While ever so small and seemingly unimportant, these small pieces of the label are vital to the safe, proper, effective, and legal use of the product.
Name and Address
The company name and address of the registrant, the producer, or the person for whom the product was produced must appear on the pesticide product label. For products produced by the registrant and sold under a distributor agreement, the name and address on the distributor brand product must be qualified by statements such as "Manufactured for...;" "Distributed by...;" or "Available exclusively from..." to indicate that the name shown is not the basic registrant of the product. The name and address must be displayed prominently on the label, but in no certain place.
The EPA encourages registrants to include a company telephone number or toll-free hotline number along with the name and address. By providing a contact number, users of products will have access to information regarding all facets of the product use. Some registrants also include the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) hotline number for emergency information on the pesticide product label (see http://www.npic.orst.edu/ for information on the NPIC). If a registrant chooses to include the NPIC number, alone or along with a company phone number, the following statement will be seen: "For information on this pesticide product (including health concerns, medical emergencies, or pesticide incidents), call the National Pesticide Information Center at 1-800-858-7378."
Graphics and Symbols on Labels
Graphics or symbols in addition to written text are seen on some labels as long as they are explained in the text. The explanation should be clear in meaning, should not obscure or crowd the required label language, not misbrand the product, and not be false or misleading. The EPA has accepted the following types of graphics and symbols that may be used at the discretion of the registrant to appear on their product labels:
Diagrams of how to open product containers.
Graphics displaying nozzle and/or application patterns.
Pictograms near the precautionary labeling statements that illustrate the different exposure routes (oral, inhalation, and/or dermal) to pesticides.
Pictures consistent with the label text showing examples of places where the pesticide may be used, such as in a household or on a specific commercial site.
Child hazard drowning pictogram and labeling (a bucket with a child turned upside down in the bucket outlined by the red circle and diagonal slash through it indicating negation).
Pictures illustrating appropriate protective gear.
Pictures illustrating proper pesticide use.
Hazardous Materials Identification System/National Paint & Coatings Association/National Fire Protection Association (HMIS/NPCA and NFPA) ratings systems for hazard codes.
Use of a logo to indicate absence of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in a pesticide product. The logo will be used in conjunction with the universal negation symbol.
Certain graphics and symbols are viewed as acceptable by the EPA and seen on labels under certain conditions:
The "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval" is a limited warranty to consumers and promises to refund the purchase price or replace the product if defective. Products which bear this symbol on their labels do not mean that their warranties are endorsed by the EPA.
Department of Transportation symbols which indicate the hazard and flammability of a particular pesticide product.
Bar codes which allow easier scanning of prices in retail stores.
Net Contents/Net Weight Statement
This net contents/net weight statement indicates how much product is in the container and is required by the EPA to appear on the label. From a use and storage standpoint, this is a very simple, but important, piece of information to know because it can help in predetermining the amount of product to purchase before a job or the beginning of a season. Purchasing excessive amounts of unnecessary product translates into future use and storage considerations. There is no certain area of the label where the statement must be placed, but most labels will indicate this information at the bottom of the front label panel below the company name and address. Net contents/net weights are expressed using the following terms:
Dry formulations (includes solids or semisolids such as dusts, granules, pelleted or tableted baits, wettable powders, microencapsulated products, and impregnated materials): pounds or ounces.
Liquid formulations (measure determined at 68°F): gallons, quarts, pints or fluid ounces.
Pressurized products (includes gases and aerosols): pounds and ounces.
Conventional US units of measurement are used on pesticide labels. Pesticide labels may also declare net contents in metric units (liters, kilograms, etc.), as long as the US units are stated.
Fishel, F.M. (2005). Interpreting pesticide label wording. PI-34. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/PI071
National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC): http://www.npic.orst.edu/