The literature was reviewed to assess the understanding and interpretation of pictograms used in pesticide exposure risk communication, and to assess the results in the context of the new European Union (EU) regulatory context for the sustainable use of pesticides. The results indicate that the understanding of pictograms used on pesticide labels by workers and operators is generally low. Standardized approaches, contrary to their claims, are not easily understandable, culturally neutral, or universally understood. Although there is scope for the greater use of pictograms in training, it is important to stress that they should never replace the full and frequent verbal training in a language understood by the trainee. They can, however, be used to complement training, facilitate recall, and encourage compliance. While the policy affecting the handling, labeling, and use of pesticides is applied across the EU, there has been no analysis of the different types of pictograms that have been used in the European context, nor the different ways that they are employed (e.g., on labels, on signs, during training), nor understanding of their meaning by European workers and operators. Furthermore, the implications for risk with residents and bystanders are less clear than for workers and operators.
- risk communication
- sustainable use directive