Invasive Species Management

Aug 24

[ARCHIVED] Reading a Pesticide Label

The original item was published from August 24, 2021 1:50 PM to August 24, 2021 2:01 PM

It is Important to know how to properly use pesticides (herbicide, insecticide, fungicide, etc.)  

Pesticides are regulated by the US EPA and the CO Dept. of Agriculture.  Before a pesticide may be sold in the US it undergoes many years of testing.  The results of the tests contribute to developing the statements on the label.  All instructions on the labels must be followed.  

Labels contain information about the safety precautions, use sites, rates, and pests to be controlled.  Always read the entire label before handling. 


  • Brand Name - the name the manufacturer gives their product
  • Active Ingredients
  • Chemical Name - the name of the chemical compounds and their structure
  • Common Name - a name given to the chemical by the EPA - usually one to two words that are easier to use than the technical chemical name
  • Inert Ingredients - part of the product but are not the portion that acts on the pest.  Usually carriers, solvents, etc.
  • EPA Reg # - the identifying number given to the specific product by the EPA after it undergoes their registration process
  • EPA Est. # - this number identifies where the product was manufactured


  • Signal Word
    • Danger - may cause significant eye damage or skin irritation
    • Danger Poison - Very toxic through any route to the body (skin, eyes, breathing)
    • Warning - Moderately toxic; may be moderately irritating to skin or eyes
    • Caution - Slightly toxic; may be slightly irritating to skin or eyes
  • Hazards
    • Human and Domestic Animal Hazards - explains the potential hazards to humans and pets.  Explains ways to minimize the hazards.  Additional information can be found on the product's MSDS.
    • Environmental Hazards - describes the potential impacts to desirable plants, animals, water, bees, etc.  May list methods to minimize the impacts.
    • Chemical Hazards - explains fire, explosion or other chemical hazards that may exist 
  • Emergency Information - directions on how to deal with emergency exposures, spills, etc.
  • Protective Equipment - lists the protective equipment that needs to be worn (i.e. gloves, shoes plus socks, eye protection, etc.).  The required equipment may be different if the site is a non-crop site vs. a production agriculture site.


  • Site/Crop - describes where the product can be used
  • Re-entry - explains how long you need to wait before entering a treated area.  The time may be different if the site is a non-crop site vs. a production agriculture site.
  • Grazing/Haying/Mulch - explains whether a site can be grazed, hayed, or used for mulch after treatment 
  • Rates - gives the amount of the product that should be used
  • Storage and Disposal - lists how the product should be stored and how to dispose of unused portions of it.
  • Restricted Use Notice - Restricted use pesticides require an applicator's license.  This includes private applicators and commercial applicators.