Why the Pesticide Product Label Specifies Personal Protective Equipment
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires studies to determine if a pesticide can be registered and how it can be used without impacting health or the environment. To help protect pesticide handlers and early entry workers, the PPE specified on the label must be selected and used correctly, and all other directions and precautions must be followed.
PPE requirements are based not only on protecting the user from acute toxicity concerns but also from other toxicity concerns, such as repeated exposures and how the person would be exposed during mixing, loading and application.
Below is the “Precautionary Statements” section of a label. It contains both the signal word (Danger) and PPE requirements.
HAZARDS TO HUMANS AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS
Poisonous if swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin. Rapidly absorbed through the skin. Wear protective clothing and gloves. Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling and before eating, drinking, or using tobacco. Do not get in eyes, on the skin, or on clothing. Remove contaminated clothing and wash before reuse. Do not breathe dust.
Personal Protective Equipment
Applicators and other handlers must wear:
- Coveralls over short-sleeved shirt and short pants
- Chemical-resistant gloves
- Chemical-resistant footwear plus socks
- Chemical-resistant headgear for overhead exposure
- Chemical-resistant apron when cleaning equipment, mixing, or loading
- For exposures in enclosed areas, a respirator with either an organic vapor-removing cartridge with a pre-filter approved for pesticides (NIOSH approval number prefix TC 23C) or a canister approved for pesticides (NIOSH approval number prefix TC14G) or a NIOSH approved respirator with an organic vapor (OV) cartridge or canister with any N, R or P pre-filter.
- For exposures outdoors, dust/mist filtering respirator (NIOSH approval number prefix TC-21C) or a NIOSH approved respirator with any N, R or P filter.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning/ maintaining PPE. If no such instructions for washables, use detergent and hot water. Keep and wash PPE separately from other laundry.
Personal Protective Equipment Requirements on the Pesticide Product Label are Revised Frequently
Pesticide product labels undergo scheduled reevaluations, and can also be changed at any time due to new research and/or regulatory requirements. So read the entire label every time you purchase a pesticide product. The same applies to any PPE instructions that accompany the PPE – read them carefully every time you purchase the PPE, even if you purchased the same brand and model before.
Compiled by Wayne Buhler, PhD and David Jefferson MS