When used responsibly, pesticide products provide many benefits such as promoting affordable and abundant food supplies. To ensure the safety of the environment and human health, pesticides are also heavily regulated.
Pesticide Safety in the Crop Protection Industry
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the government body responsible for regulating pesticides and assessing risks associated with these chemicals. This includes evaluating whether pesticides pose an unreasonable risk to humans and the environment and requiring pesticide registrations when applicable.
Before a crop protection product can be approved for use, it must be shown – through a series of tests and evaluations -- that there is "reasonable certainty of no harm" to human health or the environment posed by its intended use, including pesticide residues that remain on food. EPA also makes special consideration when assessing pesticide risks and vulnerability for children, including evaluations for various age groups.
To minimize dangers of pesticides, EPA sets limits on how a product may be used, how often it may be used, what protective clothing or equipment must be used, along with other restrictions. EPA also protects the pesticide industry’s estimated 2.5 million employees through federal worker protection standards.
Pesticide Safety for Consumers
Specialty pesticides are pest management tools used to protect health and safety as well as enhance the quality of life and the environment.
Specialty pesticide products are used in and around homes, businesses and public areas; on lawns, flowers and trees; in commercial greenhouses and nurseries; on sports turf including golf courses; and for vegetation management in water, along roadways, railroads and utility rights-of-ways.
These pesticides are not for agricultural or crop protection purposes but are used by consumers and others to combat plant diseases as well as pests such as cockroaches, termites, fire ants, mosquitoes, weeds and rodents. You can find out more about specialty pesticides and their proper and safe use at http://www.pestfacts.org.
Using pesticides safely means using the appropriate pesticide and using it as it only as was intended according to the label - whether you are a consumer using pesticides in and around your home, a farmer using pesticides on crops or a professional applicator.
EPA Resources related to pesticide use and pesticide safety: