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Risk Assessment and Pesticide Decisions

Basis for Risk Management Decisions

We use the conclusions of risk assessments to make informed decisions regarding whether to approve a pesticide or use as proposed, or whether additional protective measures are necessary to limit occupational or non-occupational exposure to a pesticide. For example,

  • We may limit the amount of a pesticide applied to crops, or prohibit use on certain crops, if consuming too much food treated with the pesticide or drinking water comtaminated by the pesticide may result in an unacceptable risk to consumers.
  • We can limit use in specific geographic areas as needed to protect groundwater or other drinking water sources.
  • We can require workers to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as a respirator or chemical resistant gloves.
  • We can prohibit workers from entering treated crop fields until a specific period of time has passed.

If the pesticide still does not meet the safety standard under FIFRA or FFDCA as appropriate, after considering all appropriate risk reduction measures, we will not allow the proposed pesticide or use.

Precautionary Label Statements

We communicate the potential risks of using a pesticide on product labels. Always read the precautionary statements and follow all label instructions regarding how and where a pesticide may be used..

The degree of toxicity of a pesticide determines what precautions must appear on the pesticide label. These include, for example:

  • The "signal word" (caution, warning, danger).
  • The first aid statements.
  • The use and type of protective clothing.
  • Whether the pesticide may be used only by specially trained and certified applicators (restricted use pesticides).

The pesticide toxicity categories are determined by the effects caused if the pesticide is consumed, inhaled or comes in contact with the skin.