Pesticides At Home
A pesticide is a substance that kills or controls unwanted pests. These include insects, weeds, fungi, mice, or bacteria. Types of pesticides include: disinfectantsfungicidesherbicidesinsecticidesplant growth regulatorsrodenticides
What is the information for this topic?
Pesticides are poisonous. In order to use them safely in the home, it is important to know as much about them as possible.
Choosing a pesticide
The most common types of pesticides used in the home come in the following forms:
aerosols, such as home interior sprays for ants
baits, such as ant traps
dusts or grains (for roaches or mice)
other products, such as flea collars for pets
powders that can be mixed with fluid
Certain pesticides are effective against a wide range of pests. Others target only a few. Some products are more toxic than others. When choosing pesticides, a person should:
consider where in the home it is to be used
find out if any other organism (including human or pets) in the area could be affected by the use of the pesticide
know how long the active ingredient used in the pesticide will last
know what pest a product is recommended for
- learn which forms are the most effective for the pest and least toxic to humans and pets
Pesticides are poisons. They may be dangerous if swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin.
Signal words on the product label indicate how poisonous a pesticide is:
Preparing and using a pesticide Before using a pesticide, a person should read the product label carefully.
When preparing or using a pesticide, a person should:
be aware that the more poison absorbed, the greater the risk of injury
keep the area well-ventilated
wear protective clothing, such as long sleeves, pants, rubber gloves, goggles, and in some cases, a mask or respirator
keep children and pets away until the active ingredient is no longer harmful
cover all foods, kitchen appliances and eating surfaces to keep the poison from being consumed accidentally
- avoid eating or smoking while using the product
After using a pesticide, a person should thoroughly clean hands and any other body surface in contact with the poison, and clothes. Clothing should be washed separately to keep the pesticide from coming in contact with other clothes.
Storing a pesticide
In order to avoid the possibility that someone could inadvertently consume a pesticide, these chemicals should never be stored in household containers. Stored pesticides should be labeled carefully with large writing in waterproof ink.
Symptoms of pesticide exposure
Symptoms of pesticide poisoning vary, depending on the organ system and type of pesticide. Some examples include:
fatigue, drowsiness, or headache if the nervous system is attacked
itching, tearing, or blurred vision of the eyes when they are involved
nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea when the stomach or intestines are poisoned
redness, stinging, itching, or blistering of the skin when it is exposed
runny nose if the lining of the nose or throat is affected
- shortness of breath and rapid breathing if a pesticide is inhaled
In extreme cases of pesticide poisoning, a person may be unable to breathe or move. This paralysis is the way many insecticides kill bugs.
First aid for pesticide exposure
If poisoning is suspected, the following actions should be taken:
scrub any exposed skin areas immediately with soap and water
flush involved eyes continuously with water from the sink or hose for at least 15 minutes
avoid eye medicines or eye drops, as these may interact with the pesticide
remove all contaminated clothing
avoid ointments, greases, or powders that may interact with the pesticide
- bring the person to a well-ventilated area away from the poison
If the person is unconscious, contact the emergency medical services by calling 911 immediately.
If a pesticide was swallowed and the person is awake, contact the poison control center nearest you right away by calling 1-800-222-1222 and you will be automatically connected to your nearest center.
Never make the person vomit unless specifically instructed to do so. After initial help is given, medical care should be sought immediately. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare professional and to the poison control center.
"The stuff in the backyard shed. (chlorpyrifos pesticide hazardous?)" U.S. News&World Report, Nov 8, 1999 v127 i18 p64. Jim Morris
"What pests want in your home. (alternatives to pesticides)" National Wildlife, August-Sept 1999 pNA. Peter Jaret
Citizens Guide to Pesticides. United States Environmental Protection Agency. May 92