Preventing Pesticide Exposure

As we mentioned in our previous post, even outdoor pesticides can make their way indoors and cause health problems for both children and adults. It is not clear what levels of pesticide use produce specific health problems, so exposure should be limited as much as possible.

If you hire a pest control company, choose one carefully. Ask for a written control program that lists which pests will be controlled and what chemicals will be used. Choose a company that has a good reputation and that emphasizes safety for both its employees and its customers.

If you apply pesticides yourself, always strictly follow the manufacturer’s directions. It is not only unsafe to use pesticides in ways other than what is directed, it is also illegal.

Pesticides should be kept outside as much as possible. Outdoor pesticides should never be used inside. Even indoor pesticides should be mixed or diluted outdoors to limit the amount of pesticide in the air. When applying treatments to pets or plants, it is better to take them outdoors for the application.

When using pesticides indoors, it is important to make sure the area is well-ventilated. Do not use pesticides in areas where children or pets play. Store them outside whenever possible and always keep them out of the reach of children and pets.

Whenever possible, you should use non-chemical methods to control pests. Consider using disease-resistant plants and frequently wash indoor plants and pests to reduce the need for pesticides. Appropriately fertilizing, watering, and caring for your lawn and outdoor plants can help improve their health and resistance to disease and pests.

Do not store pesticides that you are no longer going to use. Make sure to dispose of the containers and any leftover chemicals properly. If you are not sure how to dispose of a pesticide, call your local solid waste agency to check local regulations. Never pour leftover pesticides down any drain since the chemicals could get into the culinary water system or harm plants and animals downstream.

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