*Retailers vary greatly in size, types of pesticides that they can sell, and whether or not they have staff trained in the safe use of pesticides. Whether you are a retailer who sells only general-use pesticides, or a licensed pesticide dealer who is also authorized to sell restricted-use pesticides, promoting safe use of pesticides should be an integral part of your company’s goals.
Businesses that sell pesticides to the general public have numerous opportunities to promote the safe use of pesticides, and also have a responsibility to recommend competent advice when the customer’s question requires it. For example, the customer can contact the state agency that regulates pesticides, university Pesticide Safety Education Program, county or regional extension agents with pesticide responsibilities, or the product manufacturer.
Retailers need to understand and follow all laws that impact them in the sale of pesticides.
- Sale of restricted-use pesticides has special legal requirements.
- Sale of pesticides whose registration has been cancelled is illegal.
- Sale of illegal or counterfeit pesticides is never allowed. Retailers must be diligent in preventing their own purchase and sale of illegal pesticides, by making sure all pesticide products they sell have the required EPA labels.
Answering Customer Questions
If you sell only general-use pesticides, you can provide an added value for your customers if you have one or more employees trained and certified as a commercial applicator, even if your state does not require it in your circumstances.
- Make sure that your employees who are not certified are not making recommendations to your customers related to the use of pesticides – untrained employees who go beyond repeating what is on the pesticide label risk providing illegal advice.
- Businesses that sell restricted-use pesticides or make recommendations related to the use of pesticides must have at least one employee trained and certified as a commercial applicator.
Packaging and Delivery Services
Pesticide products should be placed in a separate bag, when employees bag a customer’s purchases.
If you provide delivery services for customers, employees should transport pesticides in a secure manner in the car trunk or truck bed, away from food, feed, or other groceries.
Retailers with nursery or greenhouse operations that involve employees in the use of pesticides, or in handling pesticide-treated items, must be diligent in understanding and implementing EPA’s Worker Protection Standard (WPS). A WPS statement would appear in the Agricultural Use Requirements box of the pesticide label.
Storage and Disposal of Pesticides
Retailers need to understand and follow all laws that impact them in the storage and disposal of pesticides. The pesticide label is a legal document which contains a Storage and Disposal box at the end.
- Pesticides must be stored in a way that will not endanger customers, employees and the environment, or food, feed, or any other merchandize that may be stored or displayed with the pesticides.
- Proper disposal is required when the pesticide is no longer registered, when the container has become damaged, or when the product is adulterated or becomes unusable for some other reason.
- If the retailer also prepares or sells food products, they need to comply with all the requirements of their state’s Department of Health.
Refilling and Repackaging of Pesticides
Businesses that also sell refillable pesticide containers or repackage pesticides into refillable containers must understand and comply with EPA’s Pesticide Container Containment Rule.
Some Additional Resources
For state and territory laws and more, here are the regulatory agency contacts:
Association of American Pesticide Control Officials
Association of Structural Pest Control Regulatory Officials
- Illegal Household Pesticide Products
- Responsible Pest Management for Retailers
- An Agricultural Retailer’s Guide to Customer Care
- Addressing Customer Questions and Complaints…The Basics Every Agricultural Retail Employee Should Know
- EPA’s Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS)
- PERC – Training Resources for the Worker Protection Standard
- EPA Pesticide Container and Containment Regulations