Learning About Labels

By law, certain kinds of information must appear on a pesticide label. People who use pesticides have the LEGAL responsibility to read, understand and follow the label directions.

Pesticide labels usually contain the following important sections.

1. Product name

2. Type of pesticide

3. Ingredient statement

4. Keep out of reach of children

5. Signal word

6. Statement of practical treatment

7. Note to physician

8. Precautionary statements

9. Hazards to humans and domestic animals

10. Environmental hazards

11. Physical or chemical hazards

12. Directions for use

13. Storage and disposal


Protection of people and the environment from harmful effects of pesticides is based primarily on three factors.

The pesticide registration process requires extensive testing for potential adverse health and environmental effects for each pesticide. The registration process takes many years and costs millions of dollars. Pesticide labels are developed to inform applicators about safe and proper use of the product, to warn about potential risks, and to recommend methods to avoid risks.

Read and understand the pesticide label before you buy the product. Read the label before mixing, applying, or storing the pesticide, or before disposing of the container. Anyone possessing, handling, or applying a pesticide is responsible and can be held liable for any damage, loss, or unintended consequences that the pesticide may cause.

Handling and applying pesticides requires knowledge, care, and good judgment. Every applicator must read, understand, and follow the pesticide label instructions.






National Pesticide Telecommunications Network

Washington State Pesticide Page



 Written by
Carol Ramsay
Pesticide Education Coordinator


Carrie Foss
Pesticide Education Associate


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