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Label Review Training: Module 4: Applying the Principles of Pesticide Label Review, Page 17

Section 5: How should I review mandatory statements for enforceability?

Reviewing Mandatory Statements

Pesticide labeling needs to clearly identify what is required of the user to handle and apply a pesticide in a way that reduces risk. If labeling fails in this respect, statements on pesticide labeling may be interpreted by users differently from how the registrant or EPA intended when the labeling was accepted. If EPA believes that misuse has occurred, an administrative law judge or a court may have to decide whether a product's labeling statements are clear enough for the user to understand how to lawfully use the product. To ensure that the intent of each labeling statement is clear, mandatory statements need to be clearly distinguishable from advisory statements.

As discussed in Module 1, a mandatory statement is any direction or precaution that is necessary to reduce risk and achieve effective use of the product. Mandatory statements must:

  • Use unambiguous verbs, such as “must,” “will,” “shall,” and “do not.”
  • Use imperative or directive sentences. For example:
    • “Do not apply directly to water.”
    • “Wear chemical resistant gloves.”
  • Be clearly separated from advisory statements to the extent possible.


For more information about mandatory statements see Chapter 3, Section IV.A of the Label Review Manual and PR Notice 2000-5.

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