Healthy Gardening, Healthy You

Choosing a Control Method

- Cultural, physical, and capture/ mechanical methods are the least hazardous, and should be considered before chemical options.
- Products exempt from EPA registration are low toxicity chemical options. Consider these before EPA-registered options.
- EPA-registered pesticide products are the most hazardous of these three options. This category is further categorized by our safety score:

             - Lowest Hazard: Lowest toxicity or environmental hazards. Consider these first.

             - Moderate Hazard: Moderate toxicity and environmental hazards. Choose products with health and environmental ratings posing the least hazards to your site.

             - Highest Hazard: Highest toxicity and environmental hazards. Avoid product or consider as a last resort.

About Safety Scores

EPA-registered pesticide products have hazard ratings for the following health and environmental categories. The tables are based on evaluation criteria reviewed by scientists and other experts. The hazard rating system uses information from product labels, material safety data sheets and toxicology references. The Safety Score is determined by the average of all applicable scores. The highest possible score is 3.00, and the lowest is 1.00.

 -Short-term Health Hazard-

 Poses hazards from eating, drinking, or breathing fumes from the product or getting it on skin or in eyes. Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency toxicity categories for pesticides.

          3 : Nontoxic to moderately toxic or irritating to skin or eyes. Label includes the term "caution."

          2 : Very toxic or severe-but-reversible skin or eye irritant. Label includes the term "warning."

          1 : Extremely toxic. Label includes the term "danger."


 -Long-term Health Hazard-

 Contains ingredients that one or more government agencies have listed as causing cancer, reproductive toxicity or other delayed health effects. Rating is based on the scientific certainty that the chemical can cause these effects rather than the likelihood that they will occur from limited exposure.

          3 : All ingredients are known. Product contains no ingredient listed as a known or suspected human carcinogen (chemical that causes cancer) or reproductive or developmental toxicant.

          2 : Product contains possible carcinogen or ingredient that has been associated with long-term health effects.

          1 : Contains known, likely or probable human carcinogen or listed reproductive or developmental toxicant.


-Hazard to Aquatic Life-

          3 : Product presents no hazard to fish or other aquatic life or label does not contain aquatic toxicity warnings.

          2 : Product label warns of toxicity to fish or other aquatic life.

          1 : Product label warns of high toxicity to fish or other aquatic life.


-Hazard to Birds, Bees, or Pets-

          3 : Practically nontoxic to birds, bees and other beneficials. No label warnings of toxicity to wildlife.

          2 : Product label warns of toxicity to birds, insects or pets, or product is known to be a broad-spectrum insecticide.

          1 : Product label warns of high toxicity to birds, insects, wildlife or pets.


-Half-life in Soil-

 Half-life is the amount of time required for half the amount of applied pesticide to be completely degraded.

          3 : Less than 30 days

          2 : 30-99 days

          1 : 100 days or more


 -Water Pollution Hazard-

 Contains active ingredients that may be leached out of the root zone by rain or irrigation water, or wash off the surface of the land.

          3 : Low to extremely low mobility in soil

          2 : Moderate mobility

          1 : High to very high mobility

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