What are pesticides? Pesticides are chemicals used to destroy, prevent or control pests.
Pesticides commonly used in and around the home:
- herbicides (weed killers)
- fungicides (fungi killers)
- rodenticides (rat and mice killers)
- insecticides (insect killers).
Pesticides are also used in schools, parks and other public places. They come in many different forms: aerosols, sprays, dusts, granular materials or baits.
Pesticides are very useful, but can put people at risk of poisoning.
Legally, all pesticide labels must include the following: product name, manufacturer name, active chemical ingredients, type of chemical (herbicide, insecticide, etc.), recommendations for specific use, directions for use, precautions, first-aid instructions, and storage and disposal information.
What are the symptoms of pesticide exposure?
The health effects of pesticides depend on the exact type of pesticide. Some, such as organophosphates and carbamates, affect the nervous system. Others may irritate the skin or eyes. Some may be carcinogens. Others may affect the hormone system in the body.
A person can be poisoned from a one-time exposure or have delayed effects from repeated exposure over a long period of time.
Some of the symptoms of pesticide exposure or poisoning may include headache, vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, blurred vision, tremors, dizziness, muscle weakness and trouble breathing.
How can I prevent/limit exposure?
- Always lock up all pesticide products in a cabinet or garden shed, away from children and pets.
- Always keep pesticides in their original containers and never remove the label.
- Never put pesticides in cabinets where food, medical supplies or cleaning materials are stored.
- Read the label first and follow all directions carefully.
- Never leave pesticides unattended when you are using them.
- Remove children, pets, toys, food, furniture and dishes from the area before applying pesticides. Wait until the treated area is dry or as long as recommended on the label before returning the items .
- If you must mix or dilute the chemicals, do this outdoors in a well-ventilated area.
- Wear recommended protective gear when applying a pesticide.
- Apply pesticides only under acceptable weather conditions; never spray or dust outdoors on a windy day.
- Always clean up any spills right away.
- Never pour unused amounts of pesticide down the drain.
- Seal products after each use.
- Read the label for instructions on proper disposal. Empty pesticide containers can be as dangerous as full ones because of the residue left in them.
- Wash hands and all body parts exposed to the pesticide with soap and water after each use.
- If anyone in your household is exposed to a pesticide, or develops any symptoms after applying a pesticide, call the Georgia Poison Center immediately at 1-800-222-1222 .