Chapter 12 - Pesticides

12.0 Pesticides

A pesticide is defined as a substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest, or intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant or desiccant. Two categories of pesticides are covered by the Cornell University Health and Safety Policy 8.6:

  1. EPA Registered Pesticides (the EPA registration number can be found on the manufacturer's label).
  2. Those experimental chemicals for which a pesticidal effect has been determined.

All university personnel (includes faculty members, staff members, students, and any other university-affiliated individuals) who label, store, use, transport, dispose of, or clean up spills of pesticides are responsible for adhering to federal and state regulations, as well as the Cornell University Health & Safety Policy 8.6.

It is essential that teaching, research, extension, ground and athletic field maintenance involving pesticide use be conducted properly and legally for the protection of the pesticide applicator, other employees, staff, students, public health, and the environment.

The responsibility for ensuring that all work with pesticides at Cornell is conducted properly and legally rests on the individual user.

12.1 Pesticide Certification (Top)

Cornell University requires that all individuals handling pesticides as a part of university programs must be NYS certified pesticide applicators. For more information on this requirement, see the Cornell University Health and Safety Policy 8.6.

12.1.1 Exemptions from Pesticide Certification (Top)

As per state and federal regulations, a number of exemptions from pesticide certification requirements exist.

These exemptions include:

  1. Licensed veterinarians, as well as licensed veterinary technicians, interns, residents, and veterinary students working under the direct supervision of a veterinarian in a veterinary facility (any building operated by the College of Veterinary Medicine) are exempt from the certification requirement when engaged in the use of general-use pesticides.
  2. Small laboratory quantities of pesticides used for analysis and treatment of samples in a laboratory and in an environmentally non-dispersive manner (e.g., microgram or gram quantities used inside a fume hood, mixed into media, etc.) are exempt from policy requirements. As with all other chemical use in the laboratory, use of laboratory quantity pesticides is regulated by the OSHA Laboratory Standard and other appropriate rules and regulations.
  3. Testing of materials for pesticide efficacy, toxicity, or other properties could also be exempted - for clarification, contact the Occupational and Environmental Health Program, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at 607-255-0485, or refer to the federal regulation: 40 CFR part 172.3.
  4. Teaching/demonstration of pesticide application(s), as well as recommendation of pesticide application or use is exempted from the certification requirements. However, the individual engaged in such activities is responsible for ensuring that these activities are compliant with federal, state, and local pesticide laws and regulations.

When using pesticides in a non-dispersive manner in a laboratory setting, an individual must follow the safety rules outlined in the Cornell University Laboratory Safety Manual.

For more information regarding pesticide use requirements and exemptions, please refer to the Cornell University Health and Safety Policy 8.6 or contact the CALS Occupational and Environmental Health Program at, or 607-255-0485, or visit the CALS Pesticide Webpage.


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Other Resources​ ​
OSHA Lab Standard​ Pesticide Regulations - 40 CFR part 172.3
University Health and Safety Policy 8.6 CALS Pesticide Webpage
NYS Environmental Conservation Law Part 325