National Pesticide Information Center



Pesticide Products

What is a "pesticide" and what's not?

According to the law, a pesticide is any substance "intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest...." Many people are surprised to learn that antimicrobials, herbicides and bug repellents are all pesticides. Plant growth regulators, defoliants, and nitrogen stabilizers are also pesticides.

Active Ingredient(s) + Other/Inert Ingredient(s) = Pesticide Product

Tips about pesticide products:

  • The label is the law. Following the label directions is less risky, too.
  • All pesticides have some risk. The amount of risk depends on the amount of exposure and the toxicity of the ingredients.
  • Each registered pesticide product has a signal word to communicate its toxicity.
  • Pesticides can be formulated as liquids, dusts, gels, baits, etc., and the formulation may affect the risk.
  • While NPIC is not able to make product recommendations, our Pesticide Specialists may be able to put you in touch with local experts who can.

To learn more, choose from the following topics:

Additional Resources:

If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Last updated October 27, 2014