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Pesticide Information (Labels, MSDS, WPS)

Pesticide Use

It is important for anyone applying pesticides to stay current with laws that govern the use of pesticides and to apply pesticides according to label directions. The following links provide information on training and licensing, worker protection standards (WPS), pesticides, labels, MSDS, regulations and use.

Pesticide training workshops and licensing
UMass Extension Pesticide Education Program

Pesticide applicator licensing for Massachusetts
Massachusetts Pesticide Bureau

Pesticide registrations, regulations and use
EPA Office of Pesticide Programs

Pesticide collection/disposal for Massachusetts
Pesticide Disposal-MDAR

Pesticide Storage Fact Sheet
Pesticide Storage

Pesticide Record-Keeping

Pesticide record-keeping is required by Federal regulations for restricted use pesticides and for compliance with the EPA Worker Protection Standard (all pesticides with “Agricultural Use Requirements” printed on the label, not just restricted use pesticides).  The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service carries out the provisions of the Federal record-keeping requirements. It is just as important to keep records for personal use as it is for official use.

This Recordkeeping Manual from USDA contains a good checklist (pg 9) of information required and forms to use if you are a private pesticide applicator. This manual is not intended for use by applicators licensed as commercial pesticide applicators. 

In place of the forms in the manual, some growers have created their own forms, some use a notebook while others on computer. You may keep your records using any method you wish as long as they contain the required information. Either handwritten notes, computer-generated records, or other recordkeeping systems are acceptable.

Recordkeeping form which was developed by a greenhouse grower in MA

Importance of IPM: Heavy use of chemicals can carry high economic, environmental, health and social costs, so IPM is less reliant on chemical pesticides. However, it is important that an IPM strategy also take into consideration the economic viability of the business, the quality and affordability of the crop, and the health of the people and environment of Massachusetts.

The Worker Protection Standard (WPS):

EPA Worker Protection Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has revised the 1992 Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) regulation to increase protection from pesticide exposure for the nations's two million agricultural workers and their families.

The WPS are designed to reduce pesticide poisoning and injuries among agricultural workers and pesticide handlers. WPS contains requirements for training, decontamination, notification, and emergency assistance. It also contains specific information about personal protective equipment and Re-entry intervals (REIs). All horticultural employers who use pesticide (including organic pesticides) and who have one or more employees must comply with all of the provisions of the WPS. Owners of agricultural establishments and members of their immediate family are exempt from some WPS requirements. However, they must observe the appropriate REIs and must use the proper personal protective equipment listed on the pesticide label. Greenhouse managers should have a copy of the following publications to explain responsibilities and comply with WPS, including the training of employees. See EPA website: Occupational Pesticide Safety and Health Share .

The majority of the rule revisions were effective on January 2, 2017.

Comparison chart of new vs old rules:
Comparison Chart: New WPS rules vs Old WPS rules

Detailed information on the changes:
Pesticide Worker Protection Standard "How to Comply Manual"
(This contains the manual separated into chapters, PDF)

Manual: How to Comply with the Worker Protection Standard for Agriculture
Manual: How to Comply with the Worker Protection Standard for Agriculture
(This is the complete manual, PDF)

Revisions to the Worker Protection Standard
Revisions to the Worker Protection Standard

What are the Major Changes for Farmers and Farmworkers?

The revisions to the Worker Protection Standard cover many different areas. The major revisions include:

  • Annual mandatory training to inform farmworkers on the required protections afforded to them. Currently, training is only once every 5 years.
  • Expanded training includes instructions to reduce take-home exposure from pesticides on work clothing and other safety topics.
  • First-time ever minimum age requirement: Children under 18 are prohibited from handling pesticides.
  • Expanded mandatory posting of no-entry signs for the most hazardous pesticides. Sites treated with pesticides which have a REI greater than 48 hours must be posted. The signs prohibit entry into pesticide-treated fields until residues decline to a safe level.
  • New no-entry application-exclusion zones up to 100 feet surrounding pesticide application equipment will protect workers and others from exposure to pesticide overspray.
  • Requirement to provide more than one way for workers and their representatives to gain access to pesticide application information and safety data sheets – centrally-posted, or by requesting records.
  • Mandatory record-keeping to improve states’ ability to follow up on pesticide violations and enforce compliance. Records of application-specific pesticide information, as well as farmworker training, must be kept for two years.
  • Anti-retaliation provisions are comparable to Department of Labor’s (DOL).
  • Changes in personal protective equipment will be consistent with DOL’s standards for ensuring respirators are effective, including fit test, medical evaluation and training.
    For specific information about respirator WPS see this chapter beginning on page 68:
  • Specific amounts of water to be used for routine washing, emergency eye flushing and other decontamination, including eye wash systems for handlers at pesticide mixing/loading sites.
  • Continue the exemption for farm owners and their immediate families with an expanded definition of immediate family.


Enforcement and Education
State agencies generally have primary jurisdiction for enforcing WPS misuse violations. The Pesticide Program enforces all pesticide Regulations in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The Pesticide Program is a part of the Division of Crop & Pest Services of the Department of Agricultural Resources. Here is information on the Pesticide Program:

UMass Extension Pesticide Education Program provides education to help growers and farmers to comply:
or use the EPA website

Training and Safety Materials for Implementing the Worker Protection Standard

EPA is providing resources to agricultural employers and handler employers to assist with compliance with the Revised WPS in conjunction with the Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (PERC).
Here are videos etc that are approved for training:

Medical Evaluation Forms and information.

Department of Labor, OSHA approved videos on respirators including fit testing.

Understanding ag respirators: selection, fit, inspection and training (powerpoint) presented by Garnet Cooke, Oregon OSHA. Explanation about how new rules apply to the use of respirators. This PowerPoint was presented to a fruit and vegetable audience, however, the general information helps explain the new requirements for respirator use.

Respirator Fit Testing

Questions pertaining to WPS can be answered by contacting one of the following individuals:

Laurie Rocco, MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources, Tel. 617-626-1782

Natalia Clifton, Pesticide Education Program, UMass Extension Tel. 413-545-1044

Pesticide labels, Material Safety Data Sheets & Pesticide Companies

Crop Data Management Systems, Inc.

How to use Pesticides in Commercial Greenhouses

New England Greenhouse Floriculture Guide (order form)
A Management Guide for Insects, Diseases, Weeds and Growth Regulators

Greenhouse Pest and Disease Guides - Smart Phone Web Apps
Greenhouse Pest Guide and Greenhouse Disease Guide
These guides contains options for using biological control and pesticides. Partial support for this project provided by the New England Florist Association Floriculture Applied Research Fund.

General Pesticide Information: Storage, Shelf Life, Disposal, Safety Equipment, Respirator, Cholinesterase, Effect of pH, Licensing, OSHA, Recordkeeping, Formulations/Equipment, Calculations, Spray Adjuvants, Groundwater Protection, Worker Protection Standard, Cleaning and Maintaining PPE, Pesticide Safety Training, Notification of Workers, Greenhouse Entry Restrictions
Section A: of the New England Greenhouse Floriculture guide (scroll to bottom - sample sections)