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Minimizing Pesticide Risks
Aug 31, 2018

Because "the dose makes the poison," someone may get sick from exposure to just about anything if their exposure is high enough. The risk of experiencing health problems from a pesticide depends on the toxicity of the pesticide and the amount of exposure. Even very low toxicity pesticides can be hazardous if too much is inhaled, gets on the skin, or is ingested. Minimizing the amount of pesticide used, selecting lower toxicity products and using protective equipment to minimize your exposure can all help to minimize the hazards associated with using pesticides.

Tips for Minimizing Pesticide Risks:

  • Consider adopting an Integrated Pest Management (IPM)approach. This approach emphasizes prevention, sanitation and exclusion, and utilizes pesticides only as a last resort when other options have failed.

  • Review the product signal word and active ingredients, and then choose the product lowest in toxicity. 

  • Choose products with formulations least likely to lead to exposure.

  • Read the product label first. The pesticide label will list the minimum amount of protective equipment, like gloves or goggles, necessary to reduce your exposure.

  • Consider using additional protective equipment to decrease your exposure even further.

  • Make sure the pesticide label lists the specific place you intend to use the product. Using a pesticide in unlisted locations is illegal and unsafe.

  • Use the appropriate amount of pesticide for your job by following the label directions closely. Applying too much pesticide may lead to higher levels of exposure to people, pets and the environment.

  • Avoid allowing children, pets, or sensitive people in treatment areas to prevent accidental exposures during pesticide applications.

  • Consider staying out of treated areas after an application for the amount of time listed on the label directions.

  • For liquid products, consider avoiding treated areas until they have dried thoroughly and the area has been ventilated.

  • Consider keeping pets and children off treated lawns and gardens until granular pesticides have dissolved.

  • Ensure items such as food, toys, pet bowls and clothing are stored a safe distance away from any pesticide treatment.

  • Remember disinfectants are pesticides, too! Always read and follow the label, even with products you've used before.