HANDS-ON TECHNIQUES TO REINFORCE READING PESTICIDE LABELS THOROUGHLY

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  • 1 University of Florida Miami-Dade County Extension, Homestead, FL 33030

Many people, including growers and gardeners, fail to carefully read pesticide labels before each use because they assume they know what the label contains. The UF Miami-Dade County Extension pesticide trainer developed several hands-on exercises where participants had to find information on labels chosen for specific features. The first group was people taking the Core/General Standards training. Five pesticide labels were used. Participants were asked to find information from three different categories: 1) basic information used for record keeping and about the product;2) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Precautionary Statements; and 3) additional product information such as irrigation and tank mix warnings. A second group, Private Applicators (growers and their employees), studied 6 labels (1 overlap with Core training). They were asked information that focused on Worker Protection Standard issues, resistance management, limits on number total amount applied, and pre-harvest intervals. For both types of licensed applicator training, participants were divided into groups of 5 to 6. On several occasions, growers and other licensed applicators said they thought labels should have greater uniformity regarding location of key information. Master Gardeners (MGs), the third group, were first given three general publications on labels and 1 on protecting the applicator. They then received labels of four homeowner products and were guided through finding information such as: labeled crops/sites, pests controlled, signal words, mixing instructions, preharvest intervals and replant information. MG knowledge was evaluated with a five-question quiz. All participants commented that they learned a lot about reading labels.

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