Ten Common Pesticide Infractions
Listed below are ten
common infractions of pesticide laws as found by inspectors in one EPA
region. The list provides some good points for pesticide training
classes because it serves as a reminder of some of the simple things
that can be overlooked. The points are valid for both private and
Invalid business or applicator license - Do you know where your card is? If so, check the expiration date. If not, well ...
- This includes the use of a product on plants (or sites) no longer
supported by the label or not following label instructions. For
example, the labels for many pesticides have been changed over the past
4 to 5 years as a result of the EPA's reregistration program.
Consequently, many uses for products, such as diazinon and malathion,
have been eliminated. Some applicators may continue to buy and use
products on plants (sites) that are no longer on the label. Reading the
label before purchase and use is imperative.
- Read compatibility statements and other directions carefully.
Problems here can be due to prohibited tank mixes that cause
interactions. There can be plant reactions from combinations of certain
classes of pesticides that are applied days, or even weeks, apart.
Failure to survey the site before applying a pesticide
- This can range from overlooking or forgetting a sinkhole in a field
to accidental spraying of a pet's water bowl or children's toys by a
lawn care applicator.
Poor preparation for spills or other emergencies
- How many application rigs carry some soap, water, disposable towels,
and an eyewash kit? Worker protection standards now are very specific
about providing decontamination materials. Applicators should be
familiar with how to handle spills of the pesticides they are
transporting or applying.
- Particle and/or vapor drift can result in off-target movement of a
pesticide. Knowledge of product characteristics and attention to
environmental conditions such as wind speeds or inversions will reduce
the potential for problems. Be aware of sensitive nearby crops or
Incomplete or missing records
- Private and commercial applicators must keep appropriate records of
pesticide applications. Dealers who sell restricted use pesticides also
must maintain records that contain specific. information about products
Spray tank not properly cleaned; applicator not familiar with tank's history
- This can lead to crop damage or illegal residues. Purchase of used
spray equipment should include determining the types of products that
had been applied by the previous owner. Solvents in some EC
formulations can serve as tank cleaners. This can result in inadvertent
crop injury by the new owner.
Applicator makes erroneous product safety claims
- While there could be cases of overselling a product, lack of
familiarity with the label may be a major reason for unrealistic
claims. Read beyond just the crop and rate information. Look critically
for cautions or warnings, such as crop or variety sensitivity or
effects of specific weather conditions on applications or product
Failure to use required personal protective equipment
- Requirements are spelled out now and may even require specific types
of gloves or spray suits. Use quality equipment, and keep it clean and
functional. Replace it as needed.
Attaining familiarity with
product labels, technical bulletins, state and federal laws, and
material safety data sheets, along with attention to details are keys
to avoiding common pitfalls associated with pesticide applications.