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Pesticides

What are pesticides? Pesticides are chemicals used to destroy, prevent or control pests.

Pesticides commonly used in and around the home:

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?

It is important to select the appropriate product and use that product according to the label directions to help minimize the risk of a possible poisoning. To reduce risk, choose pesticide products with low toxicity by looking for the “signal word” CAUTION.

  • Products labeled “CAUTION” are low in toxicity
  • Products labeled “WARNING” are moderately toxic
  • Products labeled “DANGER” are highly toxic