Understanding Product Labels


All products that Do It Yourself Pest Control (store.doyourownpestcontrol.com) sells come with a manufacturer's product label.

 It is important to read the entire label before application. A licenced pest management professional is required by law to understand and adhere to all label directions and as a "do-it-yourselver", it is highly  recommended.

Please call us if you have any questions concerning label cautions or directions. It is our recommendation that you consult a medical doctor for all sensitivities to chemicals before usage. If your doctor wants the manufacturer safety data sheet (MSDS) we have that for download.

*In the sections below, we have detailed the various sub headers on a product label that you would read.

Product Name

Most of manufacturers of technical pesticides (active ingredients) have a product name, for each chemical they sell to a specific industry sector. Some manufacturers that formulate may use the same active ingredient in several different products.

Ingredient Statement

The ingredient statement lists the official chemical names or common chemical names for each active ingredient. Inert ingredients are not normally named, unless there is a toxicological concern for the applicator.

Type of Pesticide

This is a short statement, often listed on the front of the label. This statement generalizes the pests to be controlled and the pesticide formulation.

Net Contents

The front part of the label lists how much formulation is in the container. It can be expressed in grams, kilograms, pounds, ounces, milliliters, liters, gallons, quarts, pints or fluid ounces. Liquid formulations may also list the pounds of active ingredient per gallon of product.

Registration and Establishment Number

An EPA Registration Number appears on all pesticide labels. Product safety data and sometimes efficacy data are required. The EPA establishment number identifies the facility of production.

Signal Words and Symbols

Every product label will have the toxicity measurement  and potential hazards to humans, non-targeted animals and environment. There are three signal words: DANGER, WARNING, AND CAUTION. Any signal word must be in large letters on the front of the label and followed by the statement, "Keep Out of Reach of Children".

  • DANGER-highly toxic. Any product that is highly toxic orally, dermally or through inhalation or that causes severe eye and skin burning will be labeled, DANGER. If a label has the word,"DANGER", it will also carry the word "POISON" with a picture of skull-and-crossbones symbol. Many restricted use pesticides carry this signal word. Only pest control operators with a restricted use license may apply these products.
  • WARNING-moderaly toxic. Most pest control products carry WARNING or the CAUTION signal words. Any product that is moderately toxic orally, dermally, or through inhalation or that causes eye and skin irritation will be labeled, WARNING. As little as a teaspoon to a tablespoon of the undiluted product, taken by mouth, could kill the average-sized adult.
  • CAUTION-slightly toxic. Any product that is slightly toxic orally, dermally, or through inhalation or that causes eye and skin irritation will be labeled, CAUTION. As little as an ounce to more than a pint of the undiluted product, taken by mouth, could kill the average-sized adult. Even the lest-toxic pesticides, such as some the diluted, ready-to-use formulation, must carry the CAUTION signal word on their label.

Precautionary Statements

All product labels will have instructions and precautions to reduce risk to people and pets. These statements are listed under the heading "Hazards to Humans and Domestic Animals".

Statement of Practical Treatment

These are statements that describe first-aid treaments, in case of poisoning. Typical statements include the following:

  • "In case of contact with the skin, wash immediately with plenty of soap and water."
  • "In case of contact with the eyes, flush with waer for fifeen minutes and get medical attention."
  • "If swallowed, drink large quantities of milk, egg white, or water. Do not induce vomiting."
  • "If swallowed, induce vomiting."

All labels with DANGER, WARNING, and CAUTION signal words have a section for physicians with appropriate medical procedures for poisoning emergencies. The product label may provide  phone numbers and identify an antidote.

Environmental Hazards

Some chemicals may be hazardous to the environment. Precautions are given in application methods and locations. Some products are classified as restricted use because the high potential environmental hazards. Look for warning statements concerning hazards to the environment, such as to birds or fish and other aquatic organisms.

Physical or Chemical Hazards

This describes any special hazards : flammable, explosive, corrosive or chemical hazards.

Classification Statement and "Restricted-Use Pesticide"

EPA classifies every chemical either "general" or "restricted" in terms of its usage.

Some states exceed EPA national guidelines and classify general use products as "restricted use" products. NY and CT have done this. Restricted use products can only be purchased and applied by a certified applicator. If the product does not have the term "Restricted Use", then it is a "General Use" product, even if the words "general use" do not appear on the label. Any one can purchase general use products, unless their residing state has exceeded EPA classifications. Most ot the professional products that we carry can not be purchased at home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowes and are sold only through speciality distribuition chanels.

Reentry Statement

Some products have a reentry precaution statement on their product labels. This specifies the the time before a person can enter a treated area without protective clothing or gear. They are typically found on aerosols, ULV machines, foggers and fumigants.

Storage and Disposal

This is information of appropriate storage and disposal of the chemical and disposal of the container. Storage and recommended temperatures are recommended. Never reuse any pesticide or herbicide containers. As you store pesticides or herbicides, always keep in mind the warning "KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN".

Directions for Use

This section is the largest of the label. It gives you the proper dilution rate, mixing rate, how much to use, target pest, timing of application, and proper equipment for application. It also provides the crop, animal, or site the product is intended for usage. It provides compatibility with other often used products. Included in the directions are phytotoxicity and other possible injury or staining problems.

Understanding the target pest is beneficial in application

Understanding the target pest is beneficial in application.  Do It Yourself Pest Control, we have instructional information to aid you. Always call us for recommendations or questions that need to be answered.



*Works Cited : "Laws and the Pesticide Label." Truman's Scientific Guide to Pest Managment Operations, Sixth Edition. Purdue University

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