Get Up-to-Date Pesticide Labels, Labeling and Safety Data Sheets

by By Diane Brown, Michigan State University Extension
2/3/2013

If you didn't already get it done last fall, now is a good time to do a pesticide inventory and look at the quantities and condition of what is on hand and determine what needs to be ordered for the upcoming growing season. Michigan State University Extension recommends that when looking at old pesticide stocks, you should check to make sure that the label is attached to the container and is legible. Make sure that if you need to replace a label it has the same information as the original.

Labels can change from year to year, and legally you can't replace an old label with a more current one that has different information. Replacement labels can be obtained from the pesticide dealer where you bought the product, or online at several websites including:

Greenbook 
Crop Data Management Service 
Agrian 

All of the websites work a little differently, but labels, supplemental labels and material safety data sheets (MSDS, recently renamed SDS, or safety data sheet) can be obtained free of charge from these sites. You will need to have labels and any required supplemental labeling in your possession. Assembling a loose-leaf notebook with a set of all the labels for pesticides in your inventory or making electronic copies of the labels and storing them on your computer is a good idea.

It is also necessary to keep a set of SDS' at the workplace for all products considered to be hazardous substances and keep them in a location where they are accessible to all workers. SDS' provide the information needed to respond effectively to situations involving daily worker exposure or emergency situations.

The SDS lists the content of the product and if any of the ingredients are subject to specific regulations. It also identifies special precautions that should be taken when storing, using and disposing of the product. Employers must maintain a written hazard communication program including container labeling, employee access to SDS and hazard notification. Employers must ensure that each employee receives training to impart basic knowledge of how to find information on an SDS and how to properly make use of that information.