Frequently Asked Questions

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While pesticides are invaluable tools for agriculture, pesticide use presents risks that must be carefully managed. PRT is a user-friendly tool to evaluate pesticide risks using the best available science. It helps inform decision-making for growers and crop advisors by providing a visual snapshot of potential risks. It can also be used to measure risks within a company’s supply chain or sustainability certification program, and enables companies, programs and other users to identify and reduce the highest risks and quantify and communicate risk reduction. The pesticiderisk.org team includes qualified scientists and its risk indices have undergone independent scientific review.
Yes, PRT accepts spray records from an Excel template that can be downloaded from the Pesticide Data page. This feature allows a user to upload multiple pesticide applications at once, rather than entering each application individually. Currently this feature is only available for pesticides with US EPA registration numbers. To upload multiple pesticide applications at one time, complete the template with the US EPA registration number and the application rate, including the proper units, e.g., pounds, ounces or gallons per acre (lb/ac, oz/ac, or gal/ac). Upload the template by clicking “Import Spray Records,” also on the Pesticide Data page. Existing electronic records can be used to fill in the template. Existing electronic records submitted to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation can also be uploaded to PRT. On the Pesticide Data page, click “Import Spray Records” to upload data downloaded from the CalAgPermits platform.
PRT can track and measure risk over time to help prioritize and target risks for reduction, compare the risk profiles of alternative products, and demonstrate the impact of changing application methods and volumes. However, it does not provide site-specific risk mitigation options, and does not account for changes in efficacy when mitigation practices are implemented. See the Guide to Interpreting Risk Scores for general mitigation advice.

If the product is registered by the US EPA and has a US EPA registration number, contact the IPM Institute at support@pesticiderisk.org. Some products may not be in PRT because they contain new active ingredients for which toxicological data are not yet available. The PRT database is updated regularly to add new active ingredients when data are available.

Products without US EPA registration numbers, i.e., products being applied in countries outside of the US, can be added to your PRT account by clicking the “Describe your Product” button after clicking “Add a Pesticide Application.”


Growers Outside the US

Yes, any producer anywhere in the world can use PRT. Its database includes thousands of pesticide products registered by the US EPA for use on many crops and is updated on an ongoing basis. Producers outside of the US can describe any pesticide product and obtain risk results. Development is in progress to add a searchable database of pesticide products used outside of the US that do not have US EPA registration numbers.
PRT includes a feature to manually enter and save products that are not US EPA-registered by providing information on the active ingredient, active ingredient concentration, country of registration and registration number. To describe a product, click “Add a Pesticide” on the Pesticide Application Scenarios tab, and then click “Describe a Product” and enter the product information. Additionally, though the indices are based on US data and studies, the usage and residue levels assumed in the risk assessment methodology for environmental, inhalation and pollinator indices can still be applied to non-US contexts. Dermal risks may differ in hotter climates where less clothing may be worn during application, and dietary risk is based on US consumer’s food consumption patterns so may also differ outside of the US.
Units can be changed on the Profile page in PRT. Click “Profile” in the top right corner of the web page. On the Profile page, select the dropdown under Preferred Units of Measure. Select “Metric” in the dropdown menu and then click “Update”. Units will now be in metric. All pesticide applications made prior to the unit change will remain in the units in which they were added, but all new pesticide applications will be in metric units.

Using PRT as part of a third-party or buyer’s sustainability program

To earn credit in EFI for completing PRT, create an account, indicate that you are participating in EFI on the sign-up page and enter your PIN. If you have an existing account, visit the Account Info tab on the Profile page and click “Edit” next to Grower Groups, select EFI and enter your assigned PIN. Contact EFI if you do not have an assigned PIN. Your PIN provides you with one year of free access to PRT. When creating a scenario, select “EFI-certified” from the dropdown menu for pesticide applications being made to EFI-certified crops. Any pesticides entered into scenarios indicated as “Not EFI-certified” will not be shared with or accessible to EFI.

Payment

PRT is a privately funded tool developed by IPM Institute of North America, Inc., a non-profit organization. We rely on funding from users to support website maintenance, database updates and continued development of new features and capabilities for PRT.
Costs are on a sliding scale based on income (see table below). As noted in the terms and conditions, we reserve the right to audit your organization at any point to ensure that the correct income was selected.
Annual Revenue Annual Fee
Less than $250,000 $75
$250,000 - $1 million $150
$1 - $10 million $500
More than $10 million $1000
Our payment system is set up to securely handle credit cards. If you require an alternate payment method, please contact us at support@pesticiderisk.org.
Yes. We recognize that a subscription to PRT may be a significant investment for some, but we think that you will find value using this tool. For this reason we offer a 10-day free trial. Trial users can explore the PRT workspace, upload, add and save pesticide records and get risk scores for each of the 13 risk indices. The PRT Excel uploader, a feature that expedites the process of importing pesticide spray records, is disabled during the trial and reactivated for paid users. All data entered during the trial will be saved.

Understanding the Risk Results

PRT can track and measure risk over time to help prioritize particular risks or suppliers, compare the risk profiles of alternative products and demonstrate the impact of changing application methods and volumes. However, it does not provide site-specific risk mitigation options and does not account for changes in efficacy when mitigation practices are implemented. See the Guide to Interpreting Risk Scores for general mitigation advice.
The risk rating scale is divided into three categories: low, moderate and high risk. Low risk is indicated by the yellow zone, the amber zone represents moderate risk and the red zone signifies high risk. For more details on how to interpret risk scores, read the Guide to Interpreting Risk Scores for more information.
For most greenhouse operations, many of the risks associated with pesticide applications will be reduced. Read the section titled Reading the Risk Outputs – Greenhouse-Grown Crops in the Guide to Interpreting Risk Scores. In the future, we hope to incorporate automatic consideration for greenhouse environments.
In some cases, PRT will not have enough data required to make a risk calculation for a given index. A risk index could fail to calculate because the necessary physical and chemical properties (e.g. foliar half-life) for the active ingredient are missing or because the necessary toxicity values for the end point of concern are missing. If a risk bar is present or a number is given (e.g. 0.00 or <0.01), then a calculation was made. In cases where no calculation is made, a risk score may be replaced by a "pass code" or a warning. To interpret these, see the Risk Summary Legend.
No, risk scores are not combined into a single overall value. The tool is designed so that the user is aware of risks to each individual concern.
Yes, the tool handles different application methods in several ways. The method of application will affect a pesticide’s movement to surface water. The tool models this movement to surface water taking into account how the pesticide is applied as well as its likelihood to runoff or stick to the soil and how long it lasts in the environment. PRT uses Use Pattern Adjustment Factors (UPAFs) to adjust risk scores when an application method is known to reduce or increase likely exposure levels to a specific non-target organism.
Where possible, risk indices are calibrated against field studies, but because this isn’t always possible, some indices are based on laboratory studies. To learn more about how risk indices are calculated, see the Guide to Interpreting Risk Scores.
The Inhalation index calculates risk for a person present for a significant period of time within 100 feet of the treated field. This includes any person, farm worker or non-farm worker, spending a significant period of time within the specified distance, whether they are on the field or at a nearby residence, school, workshop, adjacent field, etc. To learn more, see the Inhalation Risk section of the Guide to Interpreting Risk Scores.
No, risk results are for a single application at the specified application rate. The tool does not currently account for any accumulation of pesticides in soil, groundwater, surface water or plant and animal tissues resulting from repeated applications.
Risk scores are generated using the best available science. The tool’s development team includes qualified experts from academic research universities, scientific consulting firms, government agencies and non-profit organizations. The white papers for each index are available for review in the Project Materials and provide detailed information on the risk score calculations.
No, pesticide efficacy and cost are currently not incorporated into the tool.
No. PRT generates risk scores based on the information entered by the user and will not detect when an incorrect rate has been entered. It is the user’s responsibility to read and follow all label instructions. Users are required by law to follow all label instructions regardless of the tool's risk outputs.
MRLs are legal standards for allowable pesticide residues that vary from country to country. PRT uses a standardized, science-based index to assess potential consumer dietary risk that is not based on MRLs.
A mounting body of evidence is showing that interactions between active ingredients used together may alter and increase their individual risks, and that formulated products may carry more risk than active ingredients alone. However, more research is needed to quantify these effects. We hope that PRT will be able to capture them in the future, but currently risks of active ingredients are counted independently, without accounting for possible synergies.
The infrastructure for adding site-specific features in PRT is already in place and we hope to add them in the next phase of development, contingent on funding and sufficient data sources.

Privacy and Security

All user data stored on pesticiderisk.org is strictly confidential and will not be shared with any third parties unless users share their data by 1) sending it to Whole Foods Market using the “send scenario” option or 2) sharing it with EFI for program analysis purposes by indicating that pesticides in a scenario are “EFI-certified” when creating the scenario. We use industry standard security measures to secure sensitive information. Please review our privacy statement for more information.
Only you, within your account, can access the products you've described in PRT. No other PRT users will be able to see, change or access the products you've added. The PRT team will be reviewing described products quarterly in order to add products to a searchable database of products used outside of the US (and without US EPA registration), which will make it easier for all users outside of the US to use PRT.

Select a crop that is similar to the crop to which pesticides are being applied; a similar crop is one that has a similar attractiveness to pollinators and growth habit, which influences how farm workers come into contact with the crop from planting to harvest. The active ingredient, application rate and application method have the biggest influence on the risk results in most cases.

Crop specificity is most important for the worker dermal, dermal cancer, pollinator and consumer dietary risk indices. For the worker dermal and dermal cancer indices, harvest and cultivation methods (hand-scale vs. mechanized) can affect the amount of contact workers have with the crop and pesticide. For the pollinator indices, risk scores depend on the attractiveness of the crop to pollinators and the bloom date of the crop. By selecting a crop with similar growing and pollinator patterns, the risk scores for the worker dermal, dermal cancer and pollinator indices will be sufficiently similar. For the consumer dietary indices, the amount of pesticide residue consumed varies depending on how the crop is consumed and how much of the crop is consumed. Consumer Dietary risk scores are specific to the selected crop, and therefore substitute crops will not provide accurate dietary risk scores.

For example, for walnuts, run PRT on almonds for worker dermal and dermal cancer; and on grapes for pollinator risk scores. There is no substitute crop for the dietary indices.

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