The environmental impact quotient (EIQ) developed by Kovach et al. (1. Kovach, C. Petzoldt, J. Degni & J. Tette. 1992. A method to measure the environmental effect of pesticides. N.Y. Food Life Sci. Bull. No. 139.) is an effort to fill an important gap: the need to provide growers and others with easy-to-use information about the adverse effects of pesticides. However, flaws in both the formula and its conceptual underpinnings serve to make the information provided misleading. Although Kovach et al. provides a great deal of information and many interesting ideas, we recommend that EIQ presented there not be used as a tool to evaluate field applications of pesticides. Further, current understanding of pesticides and their effects is not sufficient to allow the environmental effects of a pesticide to be captured by a single number. We discuss alternate ways to provide growers and policymakers with usable information about pesticides.