Cooperative Extension
MG Manual Home
Water Quality and Use

  MG Manual Reference
Ch. 16, pp. 10 - 13

[Pesticide Management Practices: practices | disposing ]

Read and follow the pesticide label. - All the printed information including the label on the product, brochures, and flyers from the company or its agent about a pesticide product is called labeling. The label printed on or attached to a container of pesticide will tell how to use the product correctly and what special safety measures need to be taken. Read and follow the label instructions carefully.
Pay special attention to:

Ingredient statement
- Each pesticide label must list the names and amounts of the active ingredients and the amount of inert ingredients in the product.
Precautionary statements - A section with a title similar to "Hazards to Humans and Domestic Animals" will tell the ways in which the product may be poisonous to humans and animals. It will also describe any special steps necessary to avoid poisoning, such as the kind of protective equipment needed. If the product is highly toxic, this section will inform physicians of the proper treatment for poisoning.
Environmental hazards - The label tells how to avoid damage to the environment. Some examples are: "Do not contaminate water when cleaning equipment or when disposing of wastes," and "Do not apply where runoff is likely to occur."
Signal words and symbols - Some pesticides may be hazardous to people. You can tell how toxic a product is by reading the Signal Word and Symbol on the label. Highly toxic pesticides are generally not sold in the home garden trade.
Directions for use - The pests the product will control, crops the product can be used on safely, how much to use, how the product should be applied, where and when the material should be applied, application to harvest periods.
Mix only the amount needed - Try and mix only the amount of pesticide needed to spray the desired area. If an amount is left over it is best to apply it to the target area.
Remember: it is a violation of federal law to use a product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.
Properly clean application equipment. Thoroughly clean all equipment immediately after use. Pesticides should not be stored mixed. If you have a small amount of pesticide left over that has been mixed, less than 10% of the batch, spray it over the target area. If you have a large amount, more than 10% of the batch, it should be disposed of in a land fill licensed to handled pesticide residue.
Thoroughly clean all spray equipment but do not dump the rinse water on the ground, spray the rinse water on the area sprayed. Spray the rinse water over a broad area so that the pesticide will be further diluted.
Beware of the effects of pesticides on the environment.
Fine mists of herbicides can drift to nearby crops or landscape plants and kill them. Bees and other pollinators can be killed if a crop is treated with a pesticide when they are in the field. The natural enemies of pest insects can also be killed by pesticides. Life in streams or ponds can be killed by accidental spraying of ditches and waterways, runoff from sprayed fields, and careless container disposal. If more than one pesticide will control the pest, choose the one that is the least hazardous to the environment with the least possibility of groundwater contamination. Above all else, avoid excessive use of insecticides and spray only when crop and pest populations require their use.
Although most pesticides break down quickly, remaining in the environment only a short time before being changed into harmless products, some pesticides break down slowly and stay in the environment for a long time. These are called persistent pesticides. Some persistent pesticides can build up in the bodies of animals and humans. These pesticides are called accumulative. Careful use is important even though most persistent pesticides have very limited usage or have been removed from the market. For example, chlordane is a persistent pesticide and its use is limited to termite and fire ant control and is no longer manufactured.
Pesticides become problems when they move off target. This may mean moving with soil particles by erosion or leaching through the soil into groundwater supplies.
Following safety precautions and using common sense can prevent harm from pesticides. Before buying a pesticide, identify the pest to be controlled. Then find out which pesticide will control it. If there is a choice of several, choose the least environmentally hazardous product.
At the time of purchase and before applying, read the label of the pesticide you intend to buy to find out the following: that the host plant (and pest) are listed on the pesticide label; the pesticide is not phytotoxic to the plant being protected; safety conditions for use, such as special equipment, protective clothing, restrictions on use, and environmental precautions needed.

Next Next
Search Index Comment

This site was developed for the Arizona Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture, The University of Arizona.
© 1998 The University of Arizona. All contents copyrighted. All rights reserved.