How To Read a Pesticide Label
The labeling of pesticides is more complicated than most other chemical products. This is necessary because many pesticides are more toxic than other chemicals found around the home. Warnings, use specifications, and directions must be much more complete and detailed.
You can tell the toxicity of a pesticide by looking at the signal word on the label. Pesticides are classified into Toxicity Categories I – IV (Category I is the most toxic, IV the least toxic). The signal words and the precautionary statements required on the label are different for each category. The following Toxicity Rating Scale indicates the requirements for pesticide labels.
Signal Words on Pesticides
Category If the label has this signal word... This is how toxic the product is (approximate amount needed kill an average person).
- Highly Toxic DANGER, POISON – A few drops to one teaspoon
- Moderately Toxic WARNING – One teaspoon to one ounce
- Slightly Toxic CAUTION – Over one ounce
- Not Toxic – Not Required