Pesticide Safety

Pesticide Safety Tips

Spring is upon us, and those little critters that have been hibernating all winter are now visiting our homes.  Most of us visit the local hardware store to purchase pesticides to deal with these pesky visitors.  Although pesticides can be useful, they also can be dangerous if used carelessly or not are stored properly. Here are some tips for safer pest control.

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).   Be careful when removing some pest shelters such as bee hives or hornet’s nest.  The warmer the weather, the faster these critters fly.  If you want to remove this type of shelter, do so in the cooler weather or hire a company with the proper equipment to do the job.

If you decide you must use pesticides, always read the label first and follow the directions to the letter, including all precautions and restrictions.  Don't use products for pests that are not indicated on the label and don't use more pesticide than directed by the label.  Remember, using twice as much is not necessarily going to produce twice the results.   Use protective measures when handling pesticides as directed by the label, such as wearing impermeable gloves, long pants, and long-sleeve shirts. Change clothes and wash your hands immediately after applying pesticides. 

Before applying a pesticide (indoors or outdoors), remove children, their toys, and pets from the area and keep them away until the pesticide has dried or as recommended by the label.   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.  Remove or cover food during indoor applications.  If using a commercial applicator or lawn care service, ask for information about potential risks and safety precautions to take.   Don't buy more pesticides than you will need. If you have leftover pesticides, check with your local government to determine whether your community has a household hazardous waste collection program or other program for disposing of pesticides. If no community program exists, follow label directions and any state or local regulations regarding disposal.

Find out the phone number of the local Poison Control Center and keep it near your telephone in case of an emergency.  If you are experiencing the symptoms identified on the label of the pesticide follow the directions listed and call 911.

Authored in 2011 by Mike Petullo Former Chairman  CMFPD Administrative Control Board