The products used to protect plants are often presented in a derogatory sense with the term “pesticides”, from the transposition of the English term “pesticide”, exploiting the assonance with the Italian term for plague. In reality, a correct translation could be pesticide, since “pest” in English means adversity.
Better then to talk about phytosanitary devices or “pesticides”, agricultural drugs, since these are products that are used to defend and treat plants.
To be more precise, there are two different categories of crop protection products: phytosanitary products for ornamental plants (PPO) for free sale in gardens or supermarkets, and actual phytosanitary products, usable in the defense of cultivated plants, available in authorized resellers.
As in the case of drugs for human use, there are also risks or abuses in the use of agropharmaceuticals but, not for this reason, they must be demonized or rejected a priori. Phytoology (the science of plant defense) has considerably evolved and continues to progress with the introduction of increasingly safe defense systems and means for the environment, users and consumers. This does not mean that we can use crop protection products without any precaution or preparation.
Plant protection products are classified into 5 categories, based on acute toxicity, which measures the immediate effects if the product is ingested. For the purchase of plant protection products falling within the first three classes, a specific authorization is required: the “license”, issued by the Provincial Agriculture Departments after having attended a course and passed a specific exam.