Is the fly spray misting system in your barn safe?

March 13, 2009

Horse in Barn, Saratoga Spring NY - Image from US Posters
Horse in Barn, Saratoga Spring NY - Image from US Posters

I asked myself this question and found after extensive research that the answer is not as easy to find out as I had hoped.

First I had to find out what pesticide was being sprayed.

I asked several barn owners, went to several feed stores and called several local distributors.

I found that all of the individuals I spoke with were using a pesticide product containing a chrysanthemum flower based chemical called pyrethrum or pyrethrin (derivative). This of course does not mean that this is the product being used in your barn.

The information I received from that point was very inconsistent. Some said it was safe to be in the barn while it was being released, and others said it was not safe.

I decided to call The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Agriculture. Representatives seemed surprised that pesticide spray was being sprayed in some barns while people were actually in the barn.

Both the EPA and the Department of Agriculture told me to read the label to learn how to use the product safely, or to call them with the EPA registration number.

I was also told that the label is actually a legal document and it is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling. However, the label on a product can change from time to time as it is re-registered, so do not assume that the new bottle of pesticides has the same label as the old one. As new information about a pesticide is discovered, the labels can change.

Even though it appears that the answer to this question is not completely straightforward, it is a good bet that trying to get the answer from any source other than the label is inadvisable. Even the EPA and the Department of Agriculture need to go by the labels, and they will only give you an answer after you give them the actual registration number on the bottle.

I have included examples of the wording on labels of some of the products that I found were being used in horse barns in my area.

All of the products included the precautionary statements “HAZARDS TO HUMANS AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS” and “Caution: Harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through skin. Causes moderate eye irritation. Avoid breathing vapors or spray mist. Avoid contact with skin, eyes or clothing. Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling. Remove contaminated clothing and wash before reuse.”

Under Directions for Use, all of the labels said, “It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.”

Pyranha Space Spray 1-10 HP

— for use in fly spray misting systems EPA REGISTRATION No. 21165-32 included the following wording on its label:

“Personnel should vacate containment areas (horse barns, dog kennels & zoo animal quarters) to be to be treated while treatment is in progress. Treated areas should be thoroughly ventilated prior to re-entry by personnel.” It also said

“Recommended For Commercial/Industrial Use Only”

Liquid Gold

— which is also designed for fly misting systems EPA REGISTRATION NO. 21165-32-82331 had the wording under instructions for outdoor automatic spray systems:

“Automatic spray systems must be programmed so as not to activate and/or release when people, pets, and food or feed are present.“ “manually activate and deactivate the automatic spray system 30 minutes to an hour before outdoor activity is planned. Do not manually activate the system when people, pets, or food are in the treatment area.”

Atroban 11%

— which is also designed for these systems EPA Reg. No. 773-59 had the wording:

“For space spraying, do not remain in treated areas and ventilate the areas before reoccupying. Animals should be removed from areas prior to treatment.”

If you or your children are in a barn that is spraying pesticides while you are present, I suggest you read the label and make sure the pesticide is being used in accordance with federal law and the label. After all, it is your health at stake.

I don’t know if this article has actually answered the question “Is The Fly Spray Misting System In Your Barn Safe?“ However, I hope this article will raise awareness in the horse community of the importance of reading and following these labels. After all if you follow these labels, you will certainly provide yourself, your family, your friends and your horses with a safer environment.


Department of Agriculture in Arizona, 602-542-0901

Environmental Protection Agency (Patti), 415-947-4223

Article in The Equestrian July/August 2008 issue, titled “Fly Sprays”

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