Pesticide Safety Tips To Keep Your Family Out of Danger

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Pesticide Safety Tips To Keep Your Family Out of Danger

By Lee S. Yudin
Pacific Daily News
July 25, 1998

Pesticides are chemical substances used to kill or greatly reduce pests. For example, insecticides are used to control insects, herbicides are used to eliminate weeds and Rodenticides to kill mice and rats. The misuse of these chemicals can be extremely dangerous to humans and to our environment.

Pesticides can enter the body in four major ways: oral exposure (when you swallow a pesticide), ocular exposure (when you get a pesticide into your eyes), and dermal exposure (when you get a pesticide on your skin). Pesticide poisoning most commonly occurs in children under five years of age. A simple rule that will help reduce the risk of the number of pesticide poisonings is to keep all pesticides locked up.

Below, I have listed Pesticide Safety Tips that has a homeowner you need to be aware of when either storing, using, or disposing pesticide containers.

  • Before using any pesticide, identify the pest problem. If in doubt seek professional assistance for proper identification and control measures. Use the proper pesticide to do the job.
  • Follow label instructions carefully. The label is meant for your safety. It provides information on protective clothing and equipment, first aid treatment, environmental hazards, specific use directions, and other vital information. ALWAYS READ THE ENTIRE LABEL BEFORE USING ANY PESTICIDE.
  • Wear proper personal protective clothing (as stated on the label) when mixing, handling or applying pesticides.
  • Never use kitchen utensils for pesticide measurements or stirring and reuse them for food.
  • Mix and only the amount needed to complete the job. Storing mixed pesticides is not recommended.
  • Never transfer a pesticide to a container, such as a soft drink bottle, that would attract children.
  • Never smoke while mixing, handling, or applying pesticides.
  • Never spray outdoors on a windy day.
  • When a pesticide come in contact with your skin, hair, or clothing, remove contaminated clothing and cleanse skin and hair with soap and water immediately.
  • When a pesticide comes in contact with you eye, immediately wash out eye with cold water for 15 minutes or more. See a doctor if necessary.
  • Never mix clothing that you have worn when either mixing, handling, or applying pesticides with family laundry. Always wash these clothes separately.
  • After any pesticide use, it is important to wash your hands and face before eating, drinking, or smoking.
  • Never store pesticides near food, feed, seed, fertilizers, or animals.
  • Store pesticides properly by placing in a cool, dry, well ventilated building (shed), under lock and key, and in the original container. The storage area should be supplied with detergent, hand cleaner, water, absorbent material (charcoal, sawdust, paper) to soak up any spills, and a fire extinguisher rated for chemical fires.
  • Dispose of empty pesticide container safely. Always rinse out empty containers (metal, plastic or glass) three times. “Home Use” pesticide containers may be safely disposed of by wrapping them individually with newspaper and placing them in a covered trash can.
  • In case of pesticide poison-ing, refer to the pesticide label immediately or first aid treatment. Then call or go to the doctor or hospital for immediate care. Take the label with you to show your doctor. Emergency numbers (doctor, hospital, poison center, or 911) should always be clearly posted in your home so anyone can readily call for help.

For more information concerning the use of pesticides or pest related problems contact your local Cooperative Extension Service.