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first_img  Ask for the name of the active ingredient in the product. Call yourcounty extension office to learn the appropriate use of that product. Telemarketers have been pushing pesticides to Georgia farmers and homeowners.But GregMacDonald, a Universityof Georgia scientist, warns people to be cautious when buying restrictedchemicals.”It’s not the actual selling over the phone that’s dangerous,” saidMacDonald, a weed scientistwith the UGA College of Agriculturaland Environmental Sciences. “It’s the buying.”The most recent cases of telemarketed pesticide sales were to farmers.But homeowners have beentargets, too.Lora Lee Schroder, a consumer protection specialist with the GeorgiaDepartment of Agriculture,said some salespeople try to sell farm chemicals to homeowners. Buthomeowners can’t legally usethem.”They’re trying to sell these chemicals to homeowners with the pitchthat if it’s diluted enough,it’s safe around the house,” Schroder said. “Or (consumers are told)they can buy ag chemicals inbulk and save money. Either way, it’s an illegal use of the chemical.”Schroder said farm chemicals are formulated differently from those mixedfor home use.”Even though the active ingredient may be the same in both products,”she said, “the concentrations are different, and the products are designedfor different uses.”MacDonald said the main problem is that you can’t see the label on apesticide container sold overthe telephone. The label tells the buyer how to legally use the product,he said.”We’ve had one case of a company selling a herbicide to kill the weedsin pecan orchards,” hesaid. “The seller promised it would kill weeds for four years. Theproblem was that the productwould kill the pecan trees, too.”Most often, the sellers exaggerate the pesticide’s benefit or sell itfor a use for which it is nolonger labeled. But without seeing the label, the buyer can’t knowthe product’s real use.The label tells the buyer many important things: the chemical’s legaluse, how to dilute it for useon different plants or crops, proper safety precautions, remedies foraccidents with it and how tocontact the manufacturer with questions.Schroder said it’s a must to have a label on every product. “Withouta label affixed to a pesticidecontainer, the product is considered illegal,” she said. “And it’svery unsafe.”Without a label, you can forget what chemical is in the container andhow to treat any physicalinjury the chemical could cause.MacDonald suggests a few things to do to protect yourself from pushytelephone sales.   Ask for more information. Get a copy of the product label to readfor yourself its uses and limitations.center_img   Get the name and address of the selling company and the name ofthe salesperson. Use this information to find out the company’s reputationfrom the Better Business Bureau.What can you do if you’ve gotten a real “bargain” over the phone and laterfind the product isunusable? Not much.Schroder said you can try to return it to the seller. But often thetelemarketing firm hasdisappeared, leaving its customers high and dry.But that poses another problem: What do you do with unusable chemicalson the farm or in thehome? Your county extension office can tell you how to safely disposeof illegal chemicals. Or theycan help find someone who can legally use them.MacDonald said sending an account of your bad experience to the localBetter Business Bureaucan help others avoid the same situation.Most often the telemarketers’ deal sounds too good to be true and probablyis. MacDonald saidthe safest way to buy pesticides is to buy from someone you know andtrust. “Otherwise,” he said,”it’s definitely ‘let the buyer beware.'”last_img read more

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