4 Things to Look For on Foot Bath Product Labels

4 Things to Look For on Foot Bath Product Labels

People and animal safety is a must-care-about when the dairy farmer chooses a hoof care product to use in the cow’s foot bath. “The farmer feeds the world” is a phrase that is often used, and consumer’s trust in farm products is the farm’s ultimate promise.

Important safety information on dairy hoof product labels cover various safety areas to ensure the safe use of the product. The main areas are shown in the pictograms and cover the following hazards:

  1. Corrosive
  2. Toxicity
  3. Long Term Health Hazard
  4. Hazardous to the Aquatic Environment

Safe use of a product is essential for everyone – yourself as a farmer, your children that perhaps wander and play around the barn, the farm’s employees, etc. This also ensures the consumer’s safety when they purchase the farm’s products.

The Globally Harmonized System (GHS), which was incorporated into Canada’s Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), is used to draw attention to specific dangers when using a product. The GHS pictograms are often found on product labels and are recognized everywhere around the globe.


This pictogram indicates that the product is corrosive and therefore has a destructive effect on body tissues such as skin, eyes, esophagus, and lungs. In addition, the substance may cause a chemical burn.

A corrosive product can also damage clothing and will deteriorate anything made of wood and metal.

WHMIS GHS Corrosive


Product labels with this pictogram indicate a higher degree of danger. The skull-and-crossbones pictogram indicates that the product can result in acute or sudden and severe toxicity. It is essential to know that when you decide to use a product with this warning, it comes with a severe risk, and you ought to take appropriate precautions. Substances and mixtures (even in low quantities) may cause harm or death within a few hours or a day if inhaled, digested, or absorbed via the mouth or skin.

Health Hazard

This pictogram indicates that the product poses a health hazard. For instance, the product may be:

  • A carcinogen, thereby potentially inducing tumours;
  • A mutagen, causing changes in DNA;
  • Toxic to the reproductive system or other specific target organs;
  • A respiratory or skin sensitizer;
  • An aspiration hazard.

These products may give off fumes that, if inhaled, can put you in danger. Therefore, the use and storage of these products is not recommended. Any contact with the skin of the user and the animal could have a destructive effect. For this reason, in another blog post we investigated whether you should use formalin (formaldehyde) in a dairy footbath.

WHMIS GHS Health Hazard
WHMIS GHS Environmental Hazard

Environmental Hazard

This pictogram indicates that the product poses a risk to the environment. Usually, reference is made to acute or chronic fish and aquatic toxicity if this product ends up in waterways and irrigation systems. It is also safe to assume that a product with this warning label should throw red flags if you are using a biodigester for your farm’s manure handling.

Be Aware & Work Safe!

Sometimes we do things without thinking or realizing that the outcome might be different than we expected. Perhaps you know a friend, coworker or family member affected by the accidental and unknowing use of a chemical and got hurt.

The GHS/WHMIS pictograms and the descriptive text have a clear message to every user before they touch a product. Incorrect usage or exposure can have a lasting impact on your own health and the environment around you. Make sure you read product labels before using the product!

Our Hoof-Sol Bath and Intra Eco-Bath are safe products to use on a dairy farm—obviously, when using any products you still have to use common sense! We still advise the user to take regular precautions when handling any concentrate to ensure safety for the user (gloves and eye protection). Our hoof products are positively evaluated by the authorities to be safe for the user and the animal.

All legal-to-use hoof products on the Canadian market are approved for use by Health Canada and marked with a VHP number or a DIN number. This approval process is used by Health Canada to ensure safety for the user and the food supply.

How to Read Foot Bath Product Labels

Each pictogram represents a specific type of hazard and is clearly posted on a hoof care product. This indicates that the product is not safe to use unless appropriate precautions are taken.

Additionally, each approved hoof product has either a DIN or VHP registration number from Health Canada to authorize its safe use on a farm. If either of these registration numbers is missing, we advise to stay clear of using them.

Here’s an example of a safety label you might encounter on a foot bath product like formaldehyde.

Example of Foot Bath Product Labels
  1. Product identifier: common or chemical name.
  2. Pictograms: GHS & WHMIS graphics that clearly show the dangers that are applicable to this product.
  3. Hazard statements: a brief description of common hazards associated with the chemical or product. These statements should correspond with each and every chemical’s safety data sheet.
  4. Precautionary statements: a brief explanation of how to administer first-aid if someone comes into contact with the hazardous chemical.
  5. Chemical manufacturer/importer/responsible party information: the name, address, and telephone number must be indicated on the label.
  6. DIN or VHP number: showing approval by Health Canada for the legal and safe use of this product on livestock farms.

To learn more about the requirements for product labels for any product that used on a farm, visit the website of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

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