Pesticide Safety for Home Gardening
Gardeners with children should pay particular attention to proper use of pesticides. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that in 2002, poison centers received more than 96,000 calls regarding exposure to pesticides—more than half involving children under age six.
Pesticides are, of course, designed to eliminate insects and rodents. The chemicals used to accomplish this are dangerous to humans and pets as well if used incorrectly. The rules of thumb for safe handling of pesticides include:
When Buying Pesticides:
- Choose the right pesticide for the job.
- Buy and use only legally sold, EPA-registered pesticides.
When Using Pesticides:
- Carefully follow all instructions on the container.
- Wear protective clothing, mask, and eye protection when spraying.
- Choose a calm, wind-free day.
- Do not spray near children and pets, and keep them away from treated areas.
- Follow the restricted time for reentering an area after a pesticide has been applied.
After Using Pesticides:
- Wash hands and face thoroughly after applying pesticides. Launder clothing.
- Keep pesticides locked up, out of sight and reach of children and pets.
- Keep the pesticide stored in its original container—do not transfer a pesticide to a food or drink container.
- Store pesticides away from food, including pet food.
- Dispose of empty pesticide containers and unused pesticides properly.
In Case of Poisoning:
- Call your poison center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately if a pesticide comes in contact with skin, is inhaled, or is swallowed.
- If possible, have the container with you when calling.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers urges gardeners to be safe and to keep the poison emergency hotline number, 1-800-222-1222, near all telephones. Safe practices are what make gardening a relaxing and rewarding hobby.
Pharmacists, nurses, and physicians at local poison centers (1-800-222-1222) are also available to answer questions about pesticides and pesticide safety, and to provide poison education materials like brochures and stickers. Poison experts are available round-the-clock, seven days a week.
Poison information is also available at the AAPCC Web site, www.1-800-222-1222.info.
For more information: Chris Falk, AAPCC Media Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org 202/363-7657