What to Do in a Pesticide Emergency
Some pesticides have chemicals that can be very harmful to people. Adults usually know and recognize the dangers associated with using pesticides in the home, but small children do not and need to be protected.
The best thing to do is prevent any accidents by doing the following:
- Always store pesticides and other household chemicals out of reach of children, if possible in a locked cabinet.
- Install cabinet and door locks if you don’t have a high place to store hazardous products.
- Never remove labels or transfer pesticides to another container. Children may mistake them for food or drinks.
- Always read and follow precautions on the label before using or applying products with chemicals.
Unfortunately, even after taking all precautions accidents may happen. We may forget to put a pesticide away or we may unintentionally leave a product open when answering the door or the phone. In case of a pesticide emergency, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends the following:
If the person is unconscious, has trouble breathing, or is having convulsions, TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION:
- Give first aid and call 911.
- If someone is else is with you, have them call 911 while you administer first aid.
If the person is conscious, is not having trouble breathing or having convulsions:
- Read the product label for first aid instructions.
- Call your local poison center (800) 222-1222 or the National Pesticide Information Center (800) 858-7378. Have the product on hand when you call.
- Give first aid according to their instructions.
- Follow up with a visit to the doctor if needed. Take a picture of the product label on your phone, or write down the active ingredients to take with you.
It is a good idea to have the poison center phone number in your contacts or posted visibly in your house. For a more thorough guide on pesticide emergencies and other helpful information, please refer to the Citizen’s Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety, published by the EPA.