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Pesticide Safety

The more you know about pesticides, the safer you and your family will be. This safety list is a must-read for anyone thinking about purchasing or using pesticides. The most important thing you can do is remember to Read The Label First.

Pestcides for weeds and insects.

Practicing Pesticide Safety

Pesticides are created to eliminate unwanted animals, insects, weeds or other pests. While they are very helpful, they can also be very dangerous to humans, pets and beneficial insects such as bees and other pollinators.

Whether synthetic or organic in origin, you should treat all pesticides with caution. Always read the labels carefully, following all of the procedures and precautions. Here are some important safety tips for handling pesticides:

• Cover exposed skin as directed by the instructions. Wear long sleeves, long pants, rubber shoes, respirator and safety goggles. When gloves are recommended, wear unlined chemical or waterproof gloves. Cloth or leather gloves are absorbent and only accelerate and extend skin contact.

• Remember that the greatest risk to the user occurs when mixing concentrated chemicals. Use extra care as the main danger is from exposure to skin.

• Before using, remove children, toys and any pets from the area.

• Do not transfer chemicals to another storage container. Never use food or beverage containers.

• If you're using a sprayer or a spreader, make sure it's calibrated correctly. Wash it thoroughly after each use. It's a good idea to have separate sprayers for different chemicals such as insecticides and herbicides.

• Be wary of using pesticides where surface water runoff can occur. And be especially careful near a body of water.

• Never spray on windy days. Chemicals can drift to plants you don't want to harm. Do not let spray drift into a neighbor's yard.

• Spray indoors only if the area is well ventilated and the pesticide is made for indoor use.

• Wash hands thoroughly after use, especially before eating, drinking or smoking.

• Use extra caution if anyone in your family has allergies or asthma.

• Use repellents with caution, especially those applied on children.

• When purchasing, keep pesticides separated in the shopping cart. Bag them separately.

• Clothing can absorb mists. When cleaning up after using pesticides (including repellents) wash all clothing separately.

• Peel or wash thoroughly any affected fruits and vegetables before eating.

Disposal and Storage of Pesticides

• Follow the instructions on the label for storage or disposal of unused pesticides.

• Use your community household hazardous waste collection program.

• Do not put leftover pesticides into the garbage or pour them down the drain.

• Do not reuse empty pesticide containers.

• Plan ahead and buy and mix only what you need. Some pesticides lose potency over time, especially in freeze/thaw areas.

• When not in use, keep pesticides sealed in childproof containers and locked in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place. Keep them away from children's reach.

• Store away from pilot lights or flames.

• Keep metal storage containers clean and dry to prevent corrosion.

• Keep pesticides away from food, water and other garden supplies such as fertilizer.

Pesticides and Pets

Remember to protect your pets when using pesticides. Remove them from any area that's being treated and keep them away until it's safe to return (this information should be on the product label). Don't store any pesticide near your pet's food or water, nor near their kennel or other personal space.

Keep pet emergency contact information close by, just as you do for your other family members.  

Preventing Pests in Your Home

Insect pests are persistent and opportunistic, but there are several things you can do to prevent or reduce their presence inside the house.

Block their entry

  1. Seal crevices and cracks
  2. Keep window screens repaired
  3. Use a drain screen in sinks
  4. Keep shrubs trimmed and lawn free of debris
  5. Eliminate standing water outdoors

Eliminate attractions

  1. Keep crumbs and spills cleaned up
  2. Keep trash cans covered and emptied
  3. Seal and store food properly
  4. Rinse containers before putting into recycling bin