Pesticide Safety Starts before Application, Ends after Clean-Up, Disposal And/or Storage

Landscape & Irrigation, October 1999 | Go to article overview

Pesticide Safety Starts before Application, Ends after Clean-Up, Disposal And/or Storage


Before selecting a pesticide, study the entire situation carefully and note any sensitive areas such as playgrounds and fish ponds. Identify the pest to be controlled. Study the labels on the various recommended pesticides considering all hazards, limitations, and precautions. Make sure the label lists your pest problem and the [plant] to be treated.

Determine the classification of the pesticide formulation and use. Applications of pesticides labeled "Restricted Use" will require that you successfully complete an examination and become certified before being permitted to purchase and/or apply the material, or that you hire a certified applicator.

Certain restricted pesticides require that notification be given to occupants of adjacent properties at least 24 hours before application. They should also be informed of human and animal safety precautions.

Pesticides classified as "General Use" are exempt from the federal requirements of applicator certification, but are subject to all other FIFRA federal regulations on safe use, and may be subject to state regulations on certification, licensing, and use.

Purchase only the quantity of material needed for a single season. Check the required "re-entry interval" that stipulates when personnel should enter a treated area with or without protective clothing. If necessary, obtain protective clothing. If you do not have or do not wish to use this protective clothing, you should select less hazardous pesticides.

To protect the applicator

Follow the directions given in mixing and applying the pesticide. Observe all safety precautions.

For your personal protection, wear the protective clothing and respiratory devices as indicated on the pesticide label. The amount of protective clothing will vary depending on (1) toxicity, concentration, and vapor action of the pesticide; (2) degree of exposure; (3) length of exposure; and (4) extent to which the pesticides can be absorbed through the skin.

Personal cleanliness is a basic principle to pesticide safety. When using toxic pesticides, you must bathe thoroughly (preferably a shower) after application and change to clean clothing. Rubber gloves, boots and rain hat should be washed and clothing laundered daily.

Requirements for protective clothing and precautions vary somewhat, depending on the pesticide, method of application, and local conditions. It can include waterproof suit, coveralls, cap, gloves, gas masks, respirators, and/or goggles.

Spray cabs are now available, which can be mounted on application vehicles, keeping the operator clean and free of pesticide residues. These special cabs have a closed system with a series of filters, which collect the pesticide droplets and vapors, thereby protecting the pesticide applicator.

When using pesticides

Read the label carefully before beginning any application of pesticides. Labels list the crop or animal for which pesticide use is registered, the pests to be controlled, and the dosage rates for application. Any unauthorized deviation is considered inconsistent with the label, misuse, and consequently unlawful, making you subject to legal prosecution and possible fine.

It is unlawful to use or permit the use of any "Restricted Use" pesticide if the applicator is non-certified or not working under the supervision of a certified applicator. It is also unlawful to:

* detach, alter, deface, or destroy any labeling required by the federal law;

* use a pesticide after registration has been canceled by final order or suspended by the EPA;

* use any pesticide not properly registered with the EPA; or

* use any pesticide in such manner as to create unwarranted hazards to mankind, wildlife, fish, birds, or other aspects of the environment.

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Pesticide Safety Starts before Application, Ends after Clean-Up, Disposal And/or Storage
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