Pesticide Infractions

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 commercial applicators.

  1. Invalid business or applicator license - Do you know where your card is? If so, check the expiration date. If not, well ...
  2. Label violation - 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.
  3. Improper mixing - 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Drift complaints - 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 plants.
  7. 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 and purchasers.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 efficacy.
  10. 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.

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