No. 5 Article 1/April 23, 2004

How Do Your Records Stack Up?

Although most applicators keep pesticide records because it makes good agronomic sense to do so, there are legal reasons to keep these records as well. The type of information you are legally required to keep depends on your type of business and the type of pesticide you use.

According to the Illinois Pesticide Act, pesticide dealers must retain a record of each individual restricted use pesticide (RUP) sale for 2 years. The record must include the following information: (1) purchaser's name, address, and certification number and type of certification; (2) quantity and kind of pesticide sold; and (3) date of sale.

According to the same Illinois law, all commercial applicators must maintain records of RUP applications they make. The following information must be recorded and retained for 2 years from the date of application. In addition, federal regulations require all commercial applicators to furnish a copy of either the state- or federally required records to the customer within 30 days of the RUP application (note below that the Worker Protection Standard notification requirements are more strict): (1) pesticide product name and its U.S. EPA registration number; (2) amount of chemical concentrate applied per unit (for example, pounds or ounces per acre); (3) date of application (M/D/Y); and (4) use site(s).

According to federal law, all private applicators (those who apply pesticides to their own land) must maintain records of RUP applications. The following information must be recorded within 14 days of the RUP application (note later in this article that the WPS notification requirements are more strict) and maintained for 2 years: (1) certified applicator's name and certification number; (2) date of application (M/D/Y); (3) pesticide product name and its U.S. EPA registration number; (4) amount of chemical concentrate applied (for example, pints, quarts, gallons, pounds); (5) crop, commodity, stored product, or site treated; (6) size of the area treated (acres, bushels, animals, etc.); and (7) location of application (any system that accurately identifies the location of the application). For a spot application, simply enter "spot application" and a short description of the location.

Many view pesticide records as a good "insurance policy" against false accusations. Although not required in Illinois, it is a good idea to record (on-site) wind direction and speed during the application, should you find yourself the subject of a drift complaint.

What About WPS Record Keeping?

Record keeping is also an important part of complying with the federal Worker Protection Standard (WPS). If you must comply with the WPS, you will need to keep records of all--restricted and general use--pesticide applications and provide this information at a central location. Private applicators who maintain RUP application records are already recording most of what is needed for WPS record keeping. However, there are three additional pieces of information that you need to document: (1) time of application, (2) active ingredients used, and (3) restricted entry interval (REI).

Other Key Items for WPS Employers

Record-Keeping Resources

Because no standard forms are required for any of the records listed here, you can use any system you like--as long as the required information is included, and it is legible and accessible to those who have a legal right to see it.

Many pesticide companies, suppliers of personal protective equipment, and other organizations offer record-keeping sheets or notebooks. In addition, many companies offer software (some for free) for computerized record keeping. The University of Nebraska Web site lists several software packages (

If you have not heard of the USDA publication Recordkeeping Manual for Private Pesticide Applicators, I encourage you to take a look. The publication is free, but don't let the price fool you. This 8.5-by-11-inch, spiral-bound notebook provides ample guidance and room for notes. Moreover, it streamlines the RUP and WPS record-keeping requirements and allows flexibility. Due to popular demand (Illinois leads the pack!), the USDA is working on a third printing, which is expected to be available later this spring. Because of this delay, I obtained permission to scan and make the manual available online ( Feel free to print these documents and create your own three-ring record-keeping binder(s).

For further information about these laws, contact the Illinois Department of Agriculture (217-785-2427) or your local University of Illinois Extension office. In addition, you can find a good deal of information about record keeping, the Worker Protection Standards, and other items of interest at our Pesticide Safety Education Web site ( Paulsrud

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