A pesticide is any substance intended to prevent, destroy or repel pests. Though often misunderstood to refer only to insecticides, the term pesticide also applies to herbicides and fungicides. The following are more specific types: “Herbicide,” a substance that kills plants/weeds. “Insecticide,” a substance that kills insects. “Fungicide,” a substance that kills fungi. “Rodenticide,” a substance that kills rodents. For more, go to epa.gov/pesticides
Pesticides could harm your health and the environment if not handled properly. Always read and follow the directions on the pesticide label. In addition, pesticide users must know the hazards of the product before applying. If a weed product is toxic to fish, make sure it stays out of nearby fish ponds or streams. If a product is toxic to honey bees, don’t use in areas where honey bees forage. Aerosol products and foggers should not be used around people with asthma or other breathing problems. Use the links below to learn about potential hazards of pesticides.
National Pesticide Information Center
Provides information to the general public and health care providers about health and environmental toxicity of pesticides. Emphasis on objective, science-based information. Provides service in English and Spanish.
Washington Poison Control Center
Can identify ingredients in many pesticide products and provide information about toxicity. Advises about medical treatment following over-exposure to pesticides. Service in English and other languages available.
- National Pesticide Information Center This site contains general and technical fact sheets on pesticide active ingredients.
- What Active Ingredients are in a Pesticide? Pesticide information is often organized by the name of the active ingredient. If you know the product name, you can look up the active ingredients at this site. This site will also link you directly to a print image of the product label. Federal law does not require pesticide labels to list most other ingredients in pesticide products. Other ingredients can be hazardous but are not required to be disclosed to consumers. If other ingredients are listed as hazardous by OSHA they should appear on the product SDS. For more on other ingredients go to the EPA website.
- WSU Pesticide Information – WSU Pesticide Education Program Fact Sheets This section of the WSU Pesticide Education program allows the user to access fact sheets on IPM, personal safety and environmental protection.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Pesticide Fact Sheets These are general fact sheets on pesticide use. The EPA is the federal agency with responsibility for regulating pesticide products.
- Washington State Department of Agriculture The website of the Washington State Department of Agriculture provides state specific information relating to IPM, pesticides, fertilizers and plant and insect pests. Links are also provided to receive information on specific pesticide information, laws, rules and regulations, contents of heavy metals in fertilizers and the waste pesticide collection program.
- Labels and Material Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for Pesticide Products An SDS is a brief fact sheet with hazard information for workers who mix and apply the pesticide product. The SDS and label list some of the pesticide ingredients and also the company phone number for emergencies. An SDS and label for every pesticide product registered in Washington are also on file at the WA Dept. of Agriculture: (360) 902-2030. Labels and SDSs for Pesticides for Agricultural Use National Pesticide Information Retrieval System List of Pesticide SDS Websites
- Extoxnet This is a university-sponsored site which offers summaries of scientific information on pesticide active ingredients. If you don’t know the common name of a pesticide product’s active ingredient (e.g. permethrin, diazinon) you can find it on the label and the SDS.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Pesticide Fact Sheets Detailed documents on specific pesticides.
- Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings This is a free online version of a physician manual produced by EPA. It contains detailed information about toxicity of pesticides, symptoms of over-exposure, and recommendations for treating acute illnesses related to pesticides. Manual is available in English and Spanish.
- Pesticide Information Center Online The PICOL pesticide label database contains information from pesticide labels in a searchable format. The database is supported by WSU and is designed to identify which pesticides are currently allowed for use on a given crop, or pest. It takes a little time to learn how to use this powerful database. Instructions are available online.
- Pesticide Storage Guidelines Learn how to store pesticides safely at home and at school.
- Pesticide Storage Checklist Be sure to inspect your pesticide storage area regularly to minimize the risk of an accident or exposure.
Pesticide Waste Disposal
- Non-Household and Commercial Grade Pesticides WSDA’s Pesticide Disposal Program collects unusable agricultural and commercial grade pesticides from residents, farmers, business owners and public agencies free of charge. Schools can contact the program about disposing unused pesticides.
- Household Pesticides Schools may also be able to dispose of over-the-counter pesticides at household hazardous waste collection events. To find out more about household hazardous waste disposal in your area, contact your county solid waste program (in the blue pages of your telephone book) or call 1-800-CLEANUP (1-800-253-2687) or visit Earth911’s website.
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