Bug Scout 1981
Pesticides are Poisons
(Tom Turpin, Entomologist, Purdue University)
The skull and crossbones? Oh, it's used to signal danger. What I mean is... Well, we're talking about insects!
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January 3, 1981

All pesticides are poisons.  However, pesticides are not equally hazardous to humans.  Thus, federal law requires that all pesticide labels include a signal word.  The signal word indicates the poison category for the product.

The most hazardous compounds have the signal word "Danger" and a skull and crossbones on the label.  Moderately hazardous pesticides have the signal word "Warning."  The least hazardous of the pesticides have the signal word "Caution."

These signal words are meant as a guide to the user.  However, regardless of the signal word, all pesticides should be handled carefully.  People who handle pesticides should know the location of the nearest poison control center.  That knowledge might be valuable in case of pesticide poisoning.

Remember, you can never be too careful when handling pesticides.  Treat pesticides as if they are poison.  They are!  

by Tom Turpin, Entomologist, Purdue University

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