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Jim Meade / Iowa City
Senior Contributor

Web Distributed Label initiative by EPA

The EPA has a public comment period open until late March on a proposal to change how pesticides are labelled.  The paper label, which can run up to 50-60 pages, will be replaced by a condensed version of maybe 5-6 pages.  Each user will go online or call a toll-free number for information on how to use the product in their area and on their crop.


As you can see, the label can be tailored exactly for your use.  It can also be updated at any time, so if the EPA changes the label on a product the only way you'll know it is if you check it out - the old paper label won't tell you and evevn last weeks WDL could have been changed.


Would you like this system?


Iowa State has a short paper on it.


Here is the EPA site information.


Here is a letter from a number of big ag interests opposing this concept.


 There are many objections listed in the letter just above and also seen online.  One that I haven't seen but occurs to me is the likelihood that eventually - it might be years yet -  the EPA will require you to sign in before using the pesticide.  You may think that is unlikely, but the EPA will say that since you can't tell from the paper label how ot use a profit, you must check it out online and since they can update it at will, you need to check it every time you use the pesticide.  It would like pilots who need to check to be sure they are not going to enter a Temporary Fligtht Restriction (TFR), which is a portable no-fly zone established when there is a presidential visit, foresst fire, the Super Bowl, and so forth.  The deal is, you are guilty until proven innocent if you apply a product and find out later the label was changed from what you remember.  While this may be my paranoia, it is entirely possible for environmentalists to use Freedom Of Information Act to access who is checking on label use and thus who is using a given pesticide.  Given current concerns about pesticide use, it would be one more step in the requirement for each applicator to have permission before each use.


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