Daily News Archive
From January 9, 2002

EPA Allows Change to Pesticide Label Requirements

Becoming effective February 12, 2002, EPA will allow the deletion of the "caution" signal word found on toxicity category IV pesticide products' labels. Environmentalists are concerned because the label change allows the elimination of language that warns of the risk and the potential for poisoning from using the pesticide product.

EPA regulations, 40 CFR Part 156, require the use of human hazard signal words on pesticide labels which are assigned by levels of toxicity. Toxicity categories range from I to IV, I being the most toxic and bearing the signal word "Danger. " Toxicity category II products must bear the signal word "Warning," while "Caution" has been used to indicate both class III and IV pesticides.

EPA officials stated that they made the decision to allow the removal of the signal word from class IV pesticides in order to eliminate confusion among consumers trying to gauge the risks associated with these pesticides and the more toxic ones bearing the same signal word.
However, public interest organizations believe this label requirement change will actually create greater confusion among consumers.

Although the label change is voluntary, pesticide registrants are still required to file an application with EPA
requesting permission to remove the signal word. The final rule was published in the Federal Register to amend CFR40 on pesticide labeling requirements on December 14, 2001 in 66 FR 64764 and can be accessed at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-PEST/2001/December/Day-14/p30820.htm.

For more information contact Jean M. Frane, Field and External Affairs Division (7506C), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, Ariel Rios Building, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington DC 20460; (703) 305-5944; or [email protected] or contact Beyond Pesticides.