How to's

Reading pesticide labels

How to read a pesticide label

Pesticide labels are detailed and confusing. Important information is often in small print. Look for:

Active ingredients are chemicals used to kill the pest.

Other ingredients can be water, solvents or other ingredients –sometimes they’re called Inert ingredients. The manufacturer is not required to identify them.

Directions for use explain how to use the product. Check for protective clothing requirements. Never apply more than the label allows.

Precautionary statements are hazards to people – especially children – and pets.

Environmental hazards explain hazards to water quality, birds and other wildlife.

Back To Top

How to get rid of old pesticides

How to get rid of old pesticides

The pesticides listed below have been canceled or restricted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency because of their effects on human health or the environment.

If you have products containing these ingredients don't use them. Take them to a household hazardous waste collection facility.

  • 2,4,5-T
  • Aldrin
  • Clopyralid
  • Chlordane
  • Chlorpyrifos
  • Diazinon
  • DDT
  • Dieldrin
  • Heptachlor
  • Kepone
  • Lead arsenate
  • Lindane (a few uses remain, such as lice shampoo)
  • Mirex
  • Pentachlorophenol
  • Silvex
  • Toxaphene

Pesticide disposal

All counties in Washington and Oregon have hazardous waste disposal programs. Contact your health department, public works department or solid waste agency for information.

For contacts, see Resources. If you are from out of our area contact your solid waste agency for information.

Back To Top

How to report pesticide use violations

You can file a complaint concerning pesticide misuse or a licensing violation in Oregon and Washington. Be prepared to provide as much information as possible concerning the incident.

Oregon State Department of Agriculture
635 Capitol Street
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: 503-986-4635
Fax: 503-986-4735
TTY: 503-986-4762

Washington State Department of Agriculture
Toll free statewide: 1-877-301-4555
Olympia: 360-902-2040 (use this for emergencies)
Moses Lake: 509-766-2575
Spokane: 509-533-2690
Wenatchee: 509-664-3171
Yakima: 509-225-2640

Information on how WSDA will respond to your complaint is available in English or Spanish (español).

Back To Top

How to find Poison Centers

Oregon Poison Center or 800-222-1222
Washington Poison Center or 800-222-1222


What does OMRI mean?

Some pest control products have the OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) label. OMRI is a private non-profit group certifying products that meet U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program standards. OMRI products are generally safer, but not always. As with any pesticide, use OMRI-listed products carefully and according to label directions.

Back To Top