Pesticide safety starts with the label

Guelph, Ontario, Canada

When it comes to growing crops, pesticides are a vital tool.

Pesticides, commonly known as crop protection or pest control products in Canada, play an important role on farms across the country. They enable farmers to put food on tables thanks to healthy and plentiful crops. However, using any pesticide product comes with a responsibility to ensure it’s used correctly and safely.

“When it comes to pesticides, the crop protection industry works to support products being made, transported, and used in a safe way,” says Erin McGregor, stewardship and policy manager for Syngenta Canada. “Ensuring that pesticides are used correctly is a priority and integral to the protection of not only the health and safety of farm workers and the public, but also the environment. Syngenta is committed to the responsible and ethical management of our products throughout their life cycle.”

So, what’s the critical first step in safely using pesticides? Reading and understanding the pesticide product label. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

The importance of reading pesticide labels

Before handling any pesticide, it’s crucial that you carefully read the product’s label, which provides detailed information on how to use the product.

A pesticide product label is a legal document that must be followed. That means products should not be used in any way other than outlined on the label.

A pesticide label includes vital information on a specific product, such as the degree and nature of hazard posed by the product, the application rate, first aid procedures, required personal protective equipment (PPE), and more.

According to Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Authority, the authority responsible for pesticide regulation in Canada, pesticides can be used safely by following the label directions. The text on the label reflects the results of the scientific evaluation that the product has undergone and specifies the correct use of the product to prevent unacceptable risks to human health and the environment.

Even when working with a product that you’ve used before, review the label before use. It’s not uncommon for labels to be updated, for example with changes to a product’s directions for use, precautions, or pre-harvest intervals.

Read the entire article on the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association website.