What Precautions should I Take with Chemical Pesticides?
While chemical pesticides may be extremely useful in preserving crops and gardens, they can be dangerous if handled improperly and stored or transported incorrectly.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claims that the most effective way to reduce risks posed by pesticides is to use non-chemical control methods to reduce or eliminate pest problems. Around the home, such measures include: removing sources of food and water (such as leaky pipes), and destroying pest shelters and breeding sites (such as litter and plant debris).
If you must use chemical pesticides, always read the label and follow the instructions including all precautions and restrictions. Here are some more tips when working with chemical pesticides:
- Do not ship or carry pesticides together with food or feed in a way that allows contamination of the edible items. Never transport pesticides in a closed passenger vehicle or in a closed cab.
- Keep pesticides in original containers until used. Store them in a locked cabinet, building, or fenced area where they are not accessible to children, unauthorized persons, pets, or livestock. DO NOT store pesticides with foods, feed, fertilizers, or other materials that may become contaminated by the pesticides.
- Dispose of empty containers carefully. Never reuse them. Make sure empty containers are not accessible to children or animals. Never dispose of containers where they may contaminate water supplies or natural waterways. Consult your county agricultural commissioner for correct procedures for handling and disposal of large quantities of empty containers.
- Many pesticides are toxic to useful or desirable animals, including honey bees, fish, domestic animals, and birds. Crops and other plants may also be damaged by misapplied pesticides. Take precautions to protect non-pest species from direct exposure to pesticides and from contamination due to drift, runoff, or residues. Certain rodenticides may pose a special hazard to animals that eat poisoned rodents.
- Before applying a pesticide (indoors or outdoors), remove children, toys and pets from the area and keep them away until the pesticide has dried or as recommended by the label.
- Remove or cover food during indoor applications.
- Don’t spray outdoors on windy or rainy days. Take precautions to keep the pesticide from drifting or running off into the vegetable garden, pool or neighbor’s yard.
- Keep the telephone number of your area Poison Control Center near your telephone: 1-800-222-1222.
According to the University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, it is important to follow “label directions carefully. Avoid splashing, spilling, leaks, spray drift, and contamination of clothing. NEVER eat, smoke, drink, or chew while using pesticides.” In case of an emergency, seek First Aid. If you are unsure about using chemical pesticides, you can always call in the professionals to do the job for you.