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Safety Nugget Week of February 22 - Safe Pesticide Use< Back to Blog

Feb 29, 2016
By: J. Randall
Categories: Safety
Josh recently told me that the appearance of a certain kind of fish meant that spring would be here soon.  He knows a lot more about fishing so I’ll default to his knowledge on this subject but I do know daffodils are blooming at my house and the trees are starting to bud.
Warming weather increases our desire to get outside and prepare for spring and summer activities.  Trips to our local lawn and garden stores become more frequent, and honey-do lists get longer.  A few things to keep in mind as you get your lawn and home ready for the spring and summer is how to safely apply pesticides.
Commonly used pesticides in and around the home include herbicides (weed killers), fungicides (fungus killers), rodenticides (rat, mouse, gopher and mole killers) and insecticides (insect killers).  Many of these products pose at least some risk to humans or animals because they are designed to kill or control unwanted or disease-causing pests.  Something to think about before using these products is the possible effect on your safety, as well as that of your children and pets.
The severity of a pesticide exposure depends on the type of pesticide being used, the route of exposure and the extent of the exposure.  Although most exposures cause minimal effects and can be handled at home with proper skin washing and fresh air, some exposures can be life threatening.
To reduce the possibility and severity of exposure:
  • Wear protective clothing and gloves.
  • Mix pesticides/herbicides in a well-ventilated area.
  • Do not mix different products together unless specifically instructed to do so on the label.
  • Avoid windy days and getting into the drift of the spray.
  • Read and follow product directions and use ONLY as directed.  More does not mean better.
  • Remove all children’s toys, pet bowls and other objects in the area to be sprayed.
  • Keep children and pets out of area while spraying and do not allow people or pets to enter a treated area before the time period recommended on the label.
  • Clean all equipment thoroughly.
  • Store any unused products in a well-ventilated area, in the ORIGINAL bottle or labeled container and in an area secured with a lock or safety latch.
If skin exposure occurs, wash the area immediately with warm soapy water and rinse thoroughly.  For an eye exposure, remove contact lenses (if worn) and irrigate eyes for 15 min with tepid tap water. Do not use medicated eye drops or pressurized water.  After following these suggestions, call the poison center at (800) 222-1222 for further instructions. As with any exposure or if any questions before using a product, the Oklahoma Poison Center is available 24 hours a day.


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