Frequently Asked Questions

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While pesticides are invaluable tools for agriculture, pesticide use presents risks that must be carefully managed. The Pesticide Risk Tool 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. The team includes qualified scientists and its risk indices have undergone independent scientific reviews.
Yes, any producer anywhere in the world can use the Pesticide Risk Tool. Its database includes thousands of pesticide products registered by the US EPA for use on many crops and is updated on an ongoing basis.
The Pesticide Risk Tool is a privately funded, non-profit tool. While in the past we were able to offer this service free of charge, we now rely on funding from users. Support through user subscriptions goes to expanding the scope and improving the accuracy of the tool as well as maintaining the website.
Pesticide Risk Tool cost is income-based on a sliding scale (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
We recommend using our online payment system to submit payment for the Pesticide Risk Tool. Our online system is set up to securely handle credit cards. Our alternate payment methods include check and wire transfer. You may mail a check to: 211 S Paterson St., Ste 380; Madison, WI USA, with "PRT Subscription Fee for [PRT Username]" in the Memo. To set up a wire transfer, please contact and with your request. We will activate your full PRT account upon receipt of payment.
We recognize that a subscription to 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 Pesticide Risk Tool workspace, upload and save pesticide records and get risk scores for each of the 13 risk indices. The Pesticide Risk Tool 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.
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 Risk Scores for general mitigation advice.
The risk rating scale is divided into three categories: low, moderate and high risk. Risk scores fall into different categories based on the index category. Low risk is indicated by the yellow zone; the amber zone represents moderate risk, and a risk score in the red zone signifies high risk. For more details on how to interpret risk scores, read the Guide to Interpreting Risk Index 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 Index Scores. In the future, the Pesticide Risk Tool will incorporate automatic consideration for greenhouse environments.
In some cases, the Pesticide Risk Tool will not have enough data required to make a risk calculation for a given index. A risk index could fail to calculate because we are missing the necessary physical and chemical properties (e.g. foliar half-life) for the active ingredient or because we are missing the necessary toxicity values for the end point of concern. 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 our Legend for Symbols.
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 differences in application methods a number of different 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. The Pesticide Risk Tool also 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 our 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, workshop or adjacent field etc. To learn more, see the Inhalation Risk section of our Guide to Interpreting Risk Index 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.
Our risk scores are generated using the best available science. The tool’s development team includes qualified experts from academic research, scientific consulting firms, government agencies and non-profit organizations.
Yes, the Pesticide Risk Tool 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. 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 “Upload Excel Records,” also on the Pesticide Data page. Existing electronic records can be used to fill in the template.
No. The Pesticide Risk Tool generates risk ratings 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, and users are required by law to follow all label instructions regardless of the tool's risk outputs.
All user data stored on is strictly confidential and will not be shared with any third parties. We use industry standard security measures to secure sensitive information. Please review our privacy statement for more information.
No, pesticide cost and efficacy are currently not incorporated into the tool.

If your product registered by the US EPA and has a US EPA registration number, contact the IPM Institute at Some products may not be in the Pesticide Risk Tool because they contain new active ingredients for which toxicological data is not yet available. The Pesticide Risk Tool database updates will add new active ingredients when data are available.

If your product is not registered by the US EPA, you may define your product when adding a pesticide application.

A pesticide product that does not have a US EPA Registration number must be defined by the user to be able to assess its risk in the Pesticide Risk Tool.
Only you, within your account, can access the defined products you've created in the Pesticide Risk Tool. No other PRT users will be able to see, change or access the products you've defined.
MRLs are technically legal standards that vary from country to country. PRT uses its own standardized, science-based index for consumer dietary risk. It therefore does not address MRLs specifically.
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.
The chemical type and application method are the more important details in PRT, though you should run PRT analysis on a crop that is similar to the one you grow. Crop specificity is most important for the worker dermal, dermal cancer, pollinator and consumer dietary risk indices. For worker dermal and dermal cancer, harvest and cultivation methods (hand-scale vs. mechanized) can affect the amount of contact workers have with the crop and pesticide. For pollinator, the risk score depends on the attractiveness of the crop to pollinators and the bloom date of the crop. If you select a crop with similar growing and pollinator patterns, the risk scores for worker dermal, dermal cancer and pollinator will be sufficiently similar. E.g. for walnuts, run PRT on almonds for worker dermal and dermal cancer; and on grapes for pollinator risk scores. For consumer dietary, 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 directly related to the crop so substitute crops can’t be selected.
PRT includes a feature to manually enter and save products by active ingredient, called User-Defined Products. Additionally, though our indices are based on US data and studies, the usage and residue levels assumed in our risk assessment methodology can still be applied to non-US contexts.
You can set your units 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. Click the “Update” button. Your units should 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.
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