Editor’s note: The following was written by Megan Taylor, Aaron Nygren, Nathan Mueller and Jenny Rees, University of Nebraska Extension educators, for the university’s Crop Watch website.
Checking labels has become second nature, but what about checking the seed tag?
This year remember to be safe when handling treated seed and check the seed tag for specific handling and use directions.
Treated seed is another route of exposure for the handler when thinking about pesticide safety, whether this exposure is to fungicide, insecticide or nematicide treatments present on treated seed. Tips to safely handle treated seed include:
Read the seed tag. This will be key to identifying personal protective equipment requirements, signal words, use, disposal, environmental hazards and storage information. Also be familiar with any restrictions (plant-back or grazing) listed on the tag before use.
Wear the right PPE. Most seed tags at minimum require long pants, long sleeves, shoes, socks and chemical-resistant gloves to handle the product.
Choosing the right chemical- resistant gloves is key to safe handling. Unlined chemical-resistant gloves that cover the forearm provide protection over a greater area and reduce the risk of exposure. Cotton-lined gloves, while more comfortable, absorb pesticides, are hard to clean, and increase your risk of exposure.
Many seed treatments require wearing gloves that have 14-millimeter thickness or greater when handling treated seed. These gloves can be made out of a variety of materials and are categorized by the EPA by their chemical resistance.
Chemical resistance categories (designated A-H) may be listed on the pesticide label and are based on the solvent rather than the actual pesticides. These categories describe the time you can safely handle a product using the material and thickness of different gloves. Many seed tags will list the EPA chemical resistance category or simply list the glove requirements directly on the seed tag.
Review the first aid before using the product and have a gallon of clean water with you to wash reusable gloves before removing them. After the gloves have been removed, remember to wash your hands with soap and water. Lastly, remember to inspect your PPE and replace items that are worn out or no longer effective.
In the event of a spill of treated seed, cover or dispose of the product following label instructions.