Potentially dangerous chemicals need to be accurate and contain appropriate information about the dangers of handling the product, but they should also be clear and easy to read. The types of pesticides used by professional exterminators and pest control specialists are especially good candidates for proper labeling, as the information they contain could be read by the expert and transmitted to other industry professionals as well as clients.
In an article for Pest Control Technology online, Richard Berman, formerly of Waltham Services, looks at some of the specific language that appears on pest control products and their implications for use.
He specifically discusses the difference between the label content that are required and leave no doubt as to what the user should do and the "advisory" statements, which describes actions that are highly recommended, if not mandatory.
The language that companies use for these different sections of the label and product description needs to be factually accurate and tonally correct, so labels contain words like "may" or "must" in the right place. Berman writes that there is still ambiguity even when the right tone is taken because risk can still exist.
"For example, Keep out of Reach of Children will always appear on labels, even though many products are expressly labeled for application in areas occupied by children, and some labels may even allow contact after treated surfaces have dried," he writes. "In such cases, I would interpret the keep-out-of-reach statement to apply to the chemical concentrate or ready-to-use formulation."