Why Read the Label?
No one likes to read instructions, but not reading how to program your electronic equipment doesnít usually prove dangerous. However, when it comes to protecting yourself, your family, the family pet, and the environment, reading a pesticide label is vital. The label is a guide to using the pest control pesticide safely and effectively. Not only will the label help you keep your family and home safe, but the label also tells you if you are buying the right product, how to apply the pesticide, and how to the handle the substance before, during, and after use.
Some pesticides are less harmful than others, but all should be used with care. Even organic or natural pesticides can be harmful and should be used as instructed on the label. With using pesticides, comes responsibility and responsible users read and follow the label instructions carefully. Using a pesticide other than what is directed on the label is not only dangerous, but also illegal.
When should you read the label? You should read the label before you buy a pesticide, before you use the product, before you store it away, and before you dispose of any unused portion or the container. The label contains special instructions for each step of use relative to the pesticide product.
Read the label before you buy the product. When in the store or shopping online, read the label to be sure you are buying a product that will help you. There is nothing worse than spending your hard-earned money on a product that does not work. The product is most effective when used under the recommended conditions and for the targeted pests. Read the label to find out if the pesticide targets the pest you want and to be sure the product doesnít target those you donít want harmed.
If you have trouble reading small print take reading glasses along with you to the store. Pesticides have a lot of information printed on the container and often the smaller the container, the smaller the print. Small print combined with poor lighting in the store can make the words look like a line of obscure letters. Shopping for pest products online has its advantages. For one, a good pest product site will provide pages containing the label, so you can read the instructions at your leisure. Another advantage is you can zoom on a page, making the print larger and easy to read. Shopping online also allows you to print out the label, whereas tearing off the label in the store is prohibited. You should never remove the label on a pesticide container, even after purchase; thus, an online copy could prove useful.
Read the label before you use the product. Reading the label before using the product will give you instructions on how to prepare the area if any special preparations are necessary and will provide information concerning weather conditions, or if ventilation is required. You donít want to use a pesticide only to discover the product has washed away before it can take affect or that it damages plants or other property or that you and your family have to leave your home unprepared because you did not properly ventilate the area. Worse yet, you donít want to call a poison control center or an ambulance because you did not properly use the product.
The label will warn you of any possible hazards and tell you what precautions you should take, such as wearing protective clothing. The instructions may tell you to wear long pants, shoes, and a long sleeved shirt to protect your skin or safety glasses to protect your eyes. It may seem as if you are being overly protective, but follow the recommendations. After all, the manufacturer knows the product better than you do.
Read the label before you store a product. The product may be flammable, toxic, or become ineffective if stored under certain conditions. Once mixed, some products may not be effective after storage and should be disposed of right away. Follow the recommendations and use common sense, such as not storing a flammable product next to your gas hot water heater.
Read the label before you dispose of a pesticide. Pesticides can be dangerous under certain conditions such as heat, and can be dangerous to the environment. Most products should not be poured down a drain, on the ground, or simply tossed in the trash because they can be hazardous to the environment, especially in concentrated quantities.
Pesticides can be wonderful products when used properly. Using them improperly, however, can cause serious health problems and prove hazardous to the environment. To properly handle a pesticide you should read the label many times. Donít rely on your memory. The label will help you purchase the most effective product, it will help you keep you and your family safe, and the label will help you to store and dispose of the pesticide in a responsible manner.
About the Author: Dennise Brogdon is the managing editor of the Hughston Health Alert, a quarterly, patient-information newsletter, and she is an editorial assistant for the National Athletic Trainersí Associationís scientific journal, the Journal of Athletic Training. Dennise is a Web site copywriter and editor. She has experience writing and editing SEO copy and META tags, brochures, advertorials, video scripts, and other technical and promotional material, as well. Dennise earned a BA in English with professional writing as an emphasis at Columbus State University. She is a member of the American Medical Writers Association and the Georgia Writers Association.