Formulation Selection Considerations
The importance of formulation type is generally overlooked. The decision to use a formulation for a given application should include an analysis of the following factors:
- Applicator safety. Different formulations present various degrees of hazard to the applicator. Some products are easily inhaled, while others readily penetrate skin, or cause injury when splashed in the eyes.
- Environmental concerns. Special precautions need to be taken with formulations that are prone to drift in air or move off-target into water. Wildlife can also be affected to varying degrees by different formulations. Birds may be attracted by granules, and fish or aquatic invertebrates can prove especially sensitive to specific pesticide formulations such as 2,4-D esters.
- Pest biology. The growth habits and survival strategies of a pest will often determine what formulation provides optimum contact between the active ingredient and the pest.
- Available application equipment. Some pesticide formulations require specialized application equipment. This includes safety equipment, spill control equipment and, in special cases, containment structures.
- Surfaces to be protected. Applicators should be aware that certain formulations can stain fabrics, discolor linoleum, dissolve plastic, or burn foliage.
- Cost. Product prices may vary substantially, based on the active ingredients present and the complexity of delivering active ingredients in specific formulations.
Individuals such as commercial pest control technicians or farm workers who may not be involved in the selection process but are responsible for the actual application should also be made aware of the type of formulation they are using, its dangers and of the safety measures needed. This choice of formulation type can have an impact on human health and the environment. Inattention to the type of formulation being used could mean the difference between a routine application and one that is the source of environmental contamination - or worse, a serious human exposure.