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2013 PRESS RELEASES

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July 17, 2013
READ THE PESTICIDE LABEL – IT’S SERIOUS BUSINESS, AND IT’S THE LAW

Contact: Elaine J. Lidholm, 804.786.7686

Recently, an estimated 50,000 bumblebees were killed in Wilsonville, Oregon after a commercial pesticide applicator treated blooming linden trees with a powerful insecticide in an effort to control aphids. Although the incident is still under investigation, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service (VDACS) reminds everyone who uses pesticides, either individual homeowners or professional applicators, of the importance of reading and following the instructions for use on the pesticide label. 

Pesticides include a broad group of chemicals and substances that are used to manage undesirable insects, weeds, fungi, bacteria and viruses. Regardless of their mode of action, before pesticides can be sold, they must undergo a registration process with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The EPA reviews scientific data to determine the potential effects a pesticide may have on humans, animals and the environment. The instructions and related precautions that appear on the pesticide label are intended to protect the user, other people, animals and the surrounding environment by minimizing the potential risk of exposure to the pesticide. The likelihood of an incident like the bumblebee kill in Oregon is minimized when users follow the directions on the label.

Every pesticide reviewed and registered by the EPA contains the following statement: “It is a violation of federal law to use a pesticide in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.” That federal law is the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). In addition to violating FIFRA, failure to use a pesticide according to its label could also constitute a violation of the Virginia Pesticide Control Act. Both the federal and the Virginia pesticide laws provide for civil or criminal penalties for violations.

What are the risks of not reading and following the label?

To learn more about the proper use of pesticides, visit the Virginia Pesticide Safety website at vapesticidesafety.com. This site is maintained by VDACS’ Office of Pesticide Services. In addition to information regarding the proper use of pesticides, the website also contains information about common and seasonal home, lawn, and garden pests, as well as options for managing those pests.

VDACS posts all of its news releases on Facebook and Twitter. To receive immediate updates, follow us on Twitter@VaAgriculture or like us on facebook.com/VaAgriculture.

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