Consumer Law at Your Fingertips
What are Pesticides?
- “Pesticides” are substances used to prevent, destroy, repel or mitigate pests, including insects, rodents, nematodes, fungi, micro-organisms or other life forms that may be injurious to persons, property or the environment.
- “Pesticides” include insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and rodenticides. They also include plant regulators, defoliants and desiccants. Some common household substances, such as disinfectants and sanitizers, are “pesticides.” Drugs used to treat microorganisms or viruses in animals or humans are not “pesticides.”
- Pesticides must be registered with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (there are some limited exceptions). Registrants must provide data to justify the registration, including data on safety, toxicity and environmental effects.
- Pesticide labels must be approved as part of the pesticide registration. The pesticide label spells out the purposes for which a pesticide may be used, and the directions for use. A pesticide may not be used contrary to label directions, or for an unlabeled purpose.