Pesticide Applicator Input Requested on EPA Web-Distributed Labeling Pilot

January 27, 2011
ICM News

By Betsy Buffington and Kristine Schaefer, Department of Entomology

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is exploring a possible new way of delivering pesticide labeling information called Web-Distributed Labeling (WDL).  The concept is being considered for pesticides used by applicators in agriculture, professional turf and landscapes, and rights-of ways for implementation in the future.

With WDL, the pesticide container label would include basic ingredient and safety information and a link to a WDL website to search and download specific state and crop/use directions. The resulting Internet label would be legally valid, including key information from the container label as well as the crop/use specific application information the applicator selected from a drop-down menu. If Internet access was not available, the applicator could use a toll-free number on the container label to get the specific use directions by U.S. mail or fax.

Possible benefits of WDL include shorter, crop and state-specific labels and faster information regarding label revisions of new uses. Pesticide container labels that are now very lengthy (some sixty-plus pages) could be shortened significantly to possibly five or six pages and new uses or revisions could be available on the Internet much quicker. Another benefit would be the ability to adjust the text font size on the WDL thus making it easier to read than some current container labels.

Some drawbacks to WDL may include the lack of Internet access or toll-free access for some applicators and the demand that may be placed on pesticide dealers or others to provide the WDL information to applicators. Also not having the use directions on the pesticide container and requiring an extra step to get this information will be an adjustment and could be less convenient.

EPA is evaluating the efficacy of WDL and would like pesticide applicator feedback. Pesticide applicators are encouraged to go to the WDL pilot website at and test-drive the label search functions to create crop/use specific labels. Applicators can search the labels by either entering in the EPA registration number or by entering the state and then product, crop and uses. Applicators are then asked to complete a short, anonymous survey to provide their input on the feasibility and usefulness of the WDL concept.  EPA will use the survey results to decide whether or not to move forward with web-distributed labeling.

Kristine Schaefer and Betsy Buffington are program specialists in the Pesticide Management and the Environment program. Schaefer can be reached by email at or by phone at (515) 294-4286. Buffington can be reached at 515-294-7293 or

Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Integrated Crop Management News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on January 27, 2011. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.


Elizabeth Buffington Extension Program Specialist III

Betsy Buffington is an extension program specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She is part of the Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP), conducts pesticide applicator training focusing on seed treatment and fumigation, and develops resource materials for ...

Kristine Schaefer PSEP Program Manager I

Kristine is the program manager for the Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.