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Environmental safety data must be applied in the registration of pesticides, including labels and labeling. Knowledge of physiology, ecology, and behavior of organisms should be combined with the physical and chemical properties, formulation, and use patterns of pesticides to reduce hazard to fish, wildlife, and habitat. The hazards of pesticides can be separated into (1) the pesticide concentrations, (2) the time and nature of exposure, and (3) exposure to nontarget organisms. Hazard varies with the habitat and the sensitivity of organisms, including the most vulnerable life stage, links of food chains, habitat requirement, and other limiting factors. The bioaccumulation of residues may also compromise the wholesomeness and value of fish and wildlife for both recreational and nutritional uses. Mitigation of the hazard can be accomplished by adequate training of pest control operators, better formulations, application methods, timing of the application, and utilization of the safest pesticides or alternative pest control methods and cultural practices (integrated pest management). However, such precautions must be more universally accepted and applied over broad geographic areas to be effective in minimizing losses.
pesticide hazard reduction, environmental safety, mitigation of fish and wildlife losses, vertebrate pest control
Senior scientist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Interior, Washington, D.C.,