Consumer Pesticide Safety & Label Interpretation

By their nature, many pesticides may pose some risk to humans, animals, or the environment because they are designed to kill or otherwise adversely affect living organisms. At the same time, pesticides are often useful because of their ability to control disease-causing organisms, insects, weeds, or other pests. The pesticide label is your guide to using pesticides safely and effectively. It contains pertinent information that you should read and understand before you use a pesticide product.

Consumer fact sheets prepared for Clemson University Home & Garden Information Center by Robert G. Bellinger, Extension Pesticide Coordinator

  1. Reading the Pesticide Label (HGIC 2750)
  2. Pesticide Safety (HGIC 2751)
  3. Pesticide Application Tips (HGIC 2752)
  4. How to Handle Pesticide Spills (HGIC 2753)
  5. Pesticide Container Disposal (HGIC 2754)
  6. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) (HGIC 2755)
  7. Manejo Integrado de Plagas (IPM) (HGIC 2755S)
  8. Organic Pesticides and Biopesticides (HGIC 2756)
  9. Pesticidas Organicos y Biopesticidas (HGIC 2756S)
  10. Less Toxic Insecticides (HGIC 2770)
  11. Insecticidal Soaps for Garden Pest Control (HGIC 2771)

Clemson University Pesticide Information Program (PIP) Information Sheets dealing specifically with homeowner safe pesticide use:

  1. PIP-20 How to Use Homeowner Pesticides Safely - discusses pesticide selection, if needed; prior planning; safe application; and proper storage, disposal and cleanup.
  2. PIP-36 How to Choose a Lawn Care Company - when choosing a lawn care company, follow these guidelines to help you make an informed choice.
  3. PIP-37 Store Pesticides Safely - provides safe pesticide storage guidelines that can be applied to most storage situations, regardless of size.

Entomology Insect Information Series publication for homeowners produced by Household and Structural Urban Extension Entomology

  1. Choosing a Professional Pest Control Company (EIIS/HS-23)

Information on Pesticide Safety for Homeowners from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  1. Disposal Instructions on Residential/Household Use Pesticide Product Label - EPA PR Notice on new labeling for residential/household use pesticide products. PDF format.
  2. At Home and in the Garden - EPA Concerned Citizens Resources.
  3. Read the Label First - Protect Your Garden - PDF format. 2 pages.
  4. Read the Label First - US EPA - an interactive pesticide label with pop-up text explaining the basic statements found on a pesticide product label.
  5. Pesticide Safety Tips - Although pesticides can be useful, they also can be dangerous if used carelessly or are not stored properly. Here are some tips for safer pest control. EPA, OPP. This page provides a list of important tips for the safe handling of household pesticide products.

Additional Information on Homeowner Pesticide Safety

  1. California Department of Pesticide Regulation Consumer Fact Sheets 
  2. Pesticides and the Home, Lawn and Garden - A guide to the safe use of pesticides by homeowners. Purdue University. PDF format. 12 pages.
  3. National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) Pesticide Fact Sheets - designed to answer questions that are commonly asked by the general public about pesticides and pesticide related subjects.
  4. National Pest Management Association Consumer Information