10 Tips to Reducing Pesticide Exposure

You may be one of those who harbors the misconception that pesticide exposure is limited to farms and the agricultural industry. A closer inspection of the home, however, will reveal a variety of pesticide preparations designed to kill common household pests, germs, molds and weeds. They usually come as liquids and sprays, but are also available in powder, granule, bait and fogger forms. Because pesticides are a hazard to health and the environment, you must observe certain safety measures to reduce exposure to these chemicals.

1. Early Pest Prevention

Take steps to prevent pests from invading your home. Always keep your house, garden and yard clean. Remove places where pests can easily obtain food and water, and where they can breed. For example, stagnant water in puddles, canals and gutters is an excellent breeding ground for mosquitoes, so make sure you get rid of it. Spoiled foods are best thrown in tightly lidded garbage cans placed away from the home to prevent rats from going inside the house. Seal any holes or put screens on windows where pests could enter.

2. Purchasing of Pesticides

Buy only the specific pesticide that could kill the pests. Do not buy more than what is actually needed to avoid storage of more harmful chemicals.

3. Storage

Excess chemicals and pesticide equipment should be kept in a locked cabinet in a well-ventilated area of your garage or shed, and not in the kitchen or under the sink, which could lead to contamination of food. Locking away these dangerous chemicals will keep them out of the reach of children and pets.

4. Proper Ventilation

This will allow noxious fumes and toxins in the air to disperse faster. In addition, pesticides are best used when there is a light breeze and a cooler temperature. This would prevent the dispersal of the pesticide to neighbors and other nearby areas.

5. Pesticide Use

Do not use less or more of the pesticide than what is stated in the label. Using less will not eradicate the pest problem, while using more will only increase your exposure. Strictly observe the position by which you apply the pesticides. Cockroach killers are usually applied with the aerosol pointing down and the spray directed under cabinets and in corners. Powders, baits and granules should be placed in areas that are inaccessible to children and pets.

6. Protection

Wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt and pants, rubber gloves and shoes, goggles and a filter mask.

7. Cleaning of Spills

Wipe any spills with water and detergent using a rag to prevent accidental touching or ingestion by children and pets.

8. Diffusion

Do this to allow for a quick dispersal of chemicals and fumes. Do not enter a sprayed room for at least 30 minutes to an hour.

9. Disposal

Never pour excess pesticides down into the toilet, sink or sewer drain. Read the label on how to properly dispose of the pesticide.

10. Washing after Pesticide Use

Exposed skin should be thoroughly washed with hot water and soap. Garments used should be washed separately from other laundry.

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