Reading Pesticide Labels: Examples
& some observations related to the availability of products
that are compliant with the Halifax Regional Municipality
Pesticide By-law .


Contents
  1. Examples of Pest Control Product Labels

  2. Notes and Observations
  3. Some Conclusions

  4. Opportunities for Vendors

To: Permitted Materials Page
and Reading Labels
2005 Update
(separate page)


Weed & Feed products containing herbicides
banned under the By-law are apparently
still popular in HRM.

1. Examples of Pest Control Product Labels

The six products whose front labels are shown below were available in one or more of five stores in HRM visited on April 15-17, 2004. These products were selected to illustrate a range of active ingredients and target pests and do not necessarily represent the proportion of different types of products on store shelves.

FRONT LABELCONSTITUENTS AND RELATION TO LISTS OF PERMITTED MATERIALS

Insecticidal soap, the only pest control material in this product is an ALLOWED material under the CGSB Organic Standard (and OMRI). It is also listed in the HRM Administrative Order 23 List so this product is allowed under the HRM Pesticide By-law.


The list of pests controlled does not specify chinch bug so it cannot be used for chinch bug even though the product is otherwise compatible with the Pesticide By-law. See back label

This product contains insecticidal soap & pyrethrins. The pyrethrins (botanical pesticide) are RESTRICTED under the CGSB Organic Standard (and OMRI), but are on the HRM Administrative Order No. 23 List. Hence this product is allowed under the HRM Pesticide By-Law. (Pyrethrins are restricted under organic use becasue of their broad spectrum actvity and potential fro harful effects on humans).


The list of pests controlled does not specify chinch bug so it could not be used for chinch bug regardless of the Pesticide By-law. See back label

This product contains pyrethrins & piperonyl butoxide. Piperonyl butoxide is PROHIBITED under the CGSB Organic Standard (and OMRI). Piperonyl butoxide is not on the HRM Administrative Order No. 23 List, and so this product is NOT allowed under the HRM Pesticide By-law.


The list of pests controlled does not specify chinch bug so it could not be used for chinch bug regardless of the Pesticde By-law. See back label

This product contains rotenone, a botanical pesticide. Rotenone is RESTRICTED under the CGSB Organic Standard (and OMRI). It is not on the HRM Administrative Order No. 23 List, and so this product is NOT allowed under the HRM Pesticide By-law.
The list of pests controlled does not specify chinch bug so it could not be used for chinch bug regardless of the Pesticide By-law. See back label
This product contains permethrin, a synthetic pesticidal compound similar to natural pyrethrins. As a synthetic pesticide, permethrin is PROHIBITED under the CGSB Organic Standard (and OMRI). It is not on the HRM Administrative Order No. 23 List, and so this product is NOT allowed under the HRM Pesticide By-law.
This product specifies only ants as a target pest, so it could not be used for chinch bug regardless of the Pesticide By-law. See back label

This product contains carbaryl, a synthetic pesticide and as such it is PROHIBITED under the CGSB Organic Standard (and OMRI). It is not on the HRM Administrative Order No. 23 List, and so is NOT allowed under the HRM Pesticide By-law.
This product includes chinch bug as a target pest. bug. See back label

2. Notes and Observations

Compliance of the products with the HRM Administrative Order No. 23 and/or the CGSB Organic Standard (and OMRI): Summary
  • Only one of the 6 products above would likely qualify for unrestricted, ALLOWED status under the the CGSB Organic Standard (and OMRI) AND be allowed under the HRM Pesticide By-law.

  • One product would likely have RESTRICTED status under the CGSB Organic Standard (and OMRI), BUT would be allowed under the HRM Pesticide By-law. As noted above, this product contains pyrethrin, which is a broad spectrum pesticide and for which there is evidence of signficant adverse effects on humans. See More About Pyrethrin/Pyrethrins

  • The other four products would be RESTRICTED under the the CGSB Organic Standard (and OMRI) and as they are not on the list in Administrative Order No. 23, they are NOT allowed under the HRM Pesticide By-law.
Notifications related to the Pesticide By-law
  • There were no notifications in plain view related to the Pesticide By-law in any of the stores visited. Four of the five stores visited carried pest control products that would be prohibited for residential use under the HRM Pesticide By-Law, including Weed and Feed products with herbicides. (Herbicides are not permitted under the HRM By-law) The fifth store carried only insecticidal soaps and pyrethrin-containing products, none with piperonyl butoxide.

    It is recognized that in addition to residents of HRM, these stores cater to persons managing commercial properties that are not subject to the By-law, also to persons who reside outside of HRM.
Placement of products in the store and on shelves
  • In none of the stores visited were pest control products kept in an area that was clearly separated from mainstream traffic; nor were there any prominent signs to indicate the presence of toxic materials in the vicinity, e.g. to give some notice to persons with sensitivities or people with children accompanying them.

  • In two of the four stores with pest control products that would be prohibited for residential use under the HRM Pesticide By-Law, products such as Safer's Soap containing only non-synthetic pest control agents were kept on a different shelf or a different part of a shelf from products with synthetic pest control agents. In two of the stores, they were mixed together in a more or less random manner.
Packaging
  • It was noted that some pest control products were contained in cardboard boxes; the bottom edge of one package had a somewhat dog-eared appearance. It was not determined whether products in boxes were inside plastic bags.
Warnings on front of containers
  • Three products of the six illustrated above had no warnings of any sort on front of the containers, although they listed PRECAUTIONS, including KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN on the labels on back of the containers. On one of them, you had to peel back the back label to see the warning.


  • Three products had the statement KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN on the front label.


  • One product had a prominent Skull and Crossbones warning.
Bulk amounts
  • In general, the products that are permissible under the By-law were available in smaller units compared to the more potent products. To treat a given area of chinch bug affected lawn with insecticidal soap, for example, would require purchasing several fold more individual containers than would be the case if it were treated with, for example, diazinon. This is partly a function of the greater strength of the more potent materials, partly due to the smaller size of the largest containers of insecticidal soap. (The lack of large containers may be related to restrictions imposed by the PMRA on Domestic Pesticides).

Click on Photos for
Larger Images


These products containing synthetic pestcides were separated from the natural products.

These products with natural materials were separated from the products with synthetic pesticides.


Here various natural products and synthetic pesticide products were mixed together.


Herbicide (not permissible under the HRM Pesticide By-law)


Herbicide (not permissible under the HRM Pesticide By-law)


Herbicide (not permissible under the HRM Pesticide By-law)

Update, July 31: Some Improvements!





There were some significant changes at one of the stores where herbicides were prominently displayed without warnings in April. In July:
  • a large sign listing 12 easy steps to get your lawn off drugs was displayed at the front of the section with herbicides, and next to it a variety of hand weeding tools;

  • a yellow, Pesticide in Use sign was taped in prominent view above the herbicides.


Unfortunately, elsewhere, a product containing Sevin was displayed for control of chinch bug, without equivalent warnings or indications of alternatives.

The active agent in Sevin is carbaryl, a carbamate insecticide which inhibits nerve transmission. See Carbaryl Part 1 and Carbaryl Part 2 by Caroline Cox for information about the hazards of this insecticide.

3. Some Conclusions

  • One definitely has to read the labels and compare the active ingredients to the materials listed in Administrative Order #23 to determine if a product is compatible with the HRM Pesticide By-Law. Brand Names alone are not a sufficient guide, nor is the placement of products within stores. Unfortunately, even reading the label is not totally reassuring when less than 100% of ingredients are reported, which was the rule rather than the exception.
  • It seems likely that some vendors whose apparent intent is to place the more benign products separately from the more potent ones (judging from placement of products on shelves) are not aware that botanical pesticides (except pyrethrins), synthetic pyrethrins, and piperonyl butoxide (often included in pyrethrin products) are not compliant with the HRM pesticide By-Law.
  • Some products lack prominent warnings on the front labels.
  • At least in the stores visited, much more effort should be made to keep separate and to identify, the areas with pesticides. The products in containers and bags in stores are highly concentrated and need to be given the same respect (caution) as that afforded medicines in drugstores.
  • Currently at least some of the stores selling pesticides (including herbicides, fungicides) that are not compliant with the Pesticide By-law are not providing any information in plain view about the Pesticide By-Law.
  • There is a need to make available bulk quantities of materials that can be used under the HRM Pesticide By-law. (The lack of them currently may be related to restrictions imposed by the PMRA on Domestic Pesticides).

4. Opportunities for Vendors

Vendors could benefit by catering to the large market in HRM for products that are compliant with the Pesticide By-lawe.g., by
(i) placing permissible products together in a specific area
(ii) providing information about the By-law in plain view
(iii) providing permissible products in bulk quantities
(iv) actively advertising these products
At least one large supermarket chain has taken significant intiatives in this area and carries only more benign pesticidal products. In the case of mixed product vendors, the model to follow might be pharmacies and their active marketing of herbal products as well as the traditional products; also their keeping riskier products in separate locations or in secure locations behind the counter is a good model for placement of pest control products in stores.

This page was posted on the versicolor.ca/lawns website on 19 Apr. 2004.
The Page was modified 3 Aug. 2004
(www.versicolor.ca/lawns/img/shelves/index.html)