Ensuring the Safe Use of Pesticides

In South Carolina, our households, landscapes, pets, and livestock are frequent hosts to a wide variety of pests such as insects, weeds, plant diseases, and rodents. These pests can sometimes cause problems, including structural damage to our homes, financial loss to farmers and other plant and animal producers, and they can carry human and animal diseases. To maintain our healthy quality of life, pesticides are sometimes used to control or to prevent these problems. The Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) at Clemson University helps to protect people and the environment by ensuring the safe and appropriate use of pesticides.

In addition to Private pesticide applicators - people who apply restricted-use pesticides to agricultural commodities on their own property - there are 12 different categories of commercial pesticide applicators that are regulated by DPR. These include pest control in such areas as forest production, public rights-of-way, and aquatic pest management.

The Department of Pesticide Regulation is responsible for the licensing of both Private and Commercial Applicators, as well as pesticide Dealers. After the initial licensing, applicators must maintain their certification through DPR.

In addition to licensing responsibilities, DPR helps to ensure the safe use of pesticides by:

  • Performing routine inspections of pesticide manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to assure that restricted-use pesticides are sold only to licensed applicators, that quality standards are followed by manufacturers in production of pesticides, and that dealers follow storage and display regulations.
  • Routinely inspecting the facilities and operations of all types of Private and Commercial Applicators, as well as government agencies such as school that have employees that apply pesticides.
  • Regulating chemigation - the application of agricultural chemicals through irrigation systems. Inspections are made to determine whether these systems are in compliance with the law and its regulations.
  • Obtaining samples of pesticides for laboratory analysis to ensure that no contaminants are in the pesticides and that guaranteed ingredients are present in the amounts disclosed on the label.

Monitoring Treatment Standards

The activities of South Carolina pest management professionals are also monitored in three other general areas:

The issuance of Wood Infestation Reports in conjunction with real estate transactions. The regulations of the South Carolina Pesticide Act require full disclosure of all evidence of wood destroying organisms and damage caused by these organisms on the Official South Carolina Wood Infestation Report (usually required in a property transfer). DPR is responsible for intervening and investigating if a discrepancy is found or if any information is lacking from the Wood Infestation Report.

Prevention or control of subterranean termites, a common structural pest in South Carolina. Detailed standards describe how treatments must be performed. The professional DPR field staff conduct routine inspections to assess compliance with these standards. DPR also investigates any complaints or reports of treatments that are alleged to be improper.

Activity criteria for wood infesting organisms (powder post beetles, old house borers, drywood termites, and wood decay fungi). Certain behaviors must be confirmed by a pest management professionals before an infestation can be declared active and have a treatment proposed. This protects consumers from being sold unnecessary treatments. It is also a violation of the South Carolina Pest Control Act to make "false and misleading statements" regarding a pest infestation. The Department of Pesticide Regulation investigates complaints that allege conflicting diagnoses or conflicting treatment proposals.

Educational Programs

It is the philosophy of the Department of Pesticide Regulation to use an educational approach to obtain regulatory compliance and to take enforcement action where appropriate.

The Department of Pesticide Regulation makes federally mandated protection programs an integral part of all pesticide-related inspections and investigations. Training and educational programs, along with enforcement and/or regulations, are conducted to support Worker Protection, Prevention of Groundwater Contamination, Endangered Species Protection, and Integrated Pest Management Programs.

Complaints of pesticide misuse or violations of our regulations are investigated immediately. Any threat to the environment or public health takes the highest priority.

Legal Authority

The Department of Pesticide Regulation is responsible for enforcing all pesticide regulations and laws, both state and federal. We are responsible for carrying out provisions of the South Carolina Pesticide Control Act and the South Carolina Chemigation Act. Through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, DPR also implements provisions of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.

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