February Is About Safe Pesticide Use

To raise awareness of pesticide safety practices, February is celebrated as National Safety Education Month. This year the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program offers help to refresh your knowledge about safe and effective pesticide use. Two frequently sought-after online courses focused on proper pesticide use to avoid illegal residues and proper selection, use, and removal of personal protective equipment are offered for free during the month of February. Use code safety100 at checkout to get your continuing education units (CEU) for free.


Pesticides are among the most regulated chemicals in the country. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the use of pesticides. All pesticides must be registered with the EPA, and the agency requires a battery of scientific tests to determine the potential risk to humans and the environment.


Best practices for using pesticides safely start with reading the label before each pesticide application. How will reading the label help you? Pesticide labels answer most of the basic questions you need to know about the product, its safe application and handling. Always make applications in strict accordance with all label instructions. Following label instructions will ensure safe, effective, and cost-effective use of the pesticide. Apart from the label, it is important to know what your state regulations are because some state regulations that also have to be observed are not written into the label. Note that not all pesticides approved by the EPA and available for purchase in the United States can be used in California. California is one of the few states that have more strict pesticide regulations for certain pesticides than what is required by the EPA. Even if you have used a given pesticide in the past, make sure you have an up-to-date label, as EPA may occasionally change labels. To learn more about pesticide labels and how to extract information relevant to the specific setting and situation in order to apply pesticides safely, enroll in the online course Proper Pesticide Use to Avoid Illegal Residues. Pest management professionals will earn 2.0 hours of Laws & Regs CEUs.


Because pesticides have the potential to cause injury or illness to anyone working with them, it is important to wear personal protective equipment, or PPE, to reduce a person’s exposure to pesticides. PPE includes clothing and certain devices worn to protect the human body from contact with pesticides or pesticide residues. Regular clothing is not considered PPE even though some pesticide labels may indicate that these specific items of regular work clothes can be worn during certain activities. All employees who handle pesticides in California are legally required to wear PPE. They must follow all PPE instructions on the pesticide label and follow all California laws and regulations. To learn how to select the proper PPE, use it, remove it, and dispose of it or clean and store it before, during, and after each incidence of pesticide handling and application, enroll in the online course Proper Selection, Use, and Removal of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Pest management professionals will earn 1.5 hours of Laws & Regs CEUs.


Visit the UC IPM website to see all 22 online courses that are available for continuing education credit.


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