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Pesticide Safety Tips

Although pesticides can be useful, they also can be dangerous if used carelessly or are not stored properly. Here are some tips for safer pest control:

  • The most effective way to reduce risks posed by pesticides is to use non-chemical control methods to reduce or eliminate pest problems. Around the home, such measures include:
    • removing sources of food and water (such as leaky pipes); and
    • destroying pest shelters and breeding sites (such as litter and plant debris).
  • If you decide you must use pesticides, always read the label first and follow the directions to the letter, including all precautions and restrictions.
  • Don't use products for pests that are not indicated on the label and don't use more pesticide than directed by the label. Don't think that twice the amount will do twice the job.
  • Use protective measures when handling pesticides as directed by the label, such as wearing impermeable gloves, long pants, and long-sleeve shirts. Change clothes and wash your hands immediately after applying pesticides.
  • Before applying a pesticide (indoors or outdoors), remove children, toys and pets from the area and keep them away until the pesticide has dried or as recommended by the label.
  • Remove or cover food during indoor applications.
  • Don't spray outdoors on windy or rainy days. Take precautions to keep the pesticide from drifting or running off into the vegetable garden, pool or neighbor's yard.
  • If using a commercial applicator or lawn care service, ask for information about potential risks and safety precautions to take.
  • Don't buy more pesticides than you will need. If you have leftover pesticides, check with your local government to determine whether your community has a household hazardous waste collection program or other program for disposing of pesticides. If no community program exists, follow label directions and any state or local regulations regarding disposal.
  • Keep the telephone number of your area Poison Control Center near your telephone: 1-800-222-1222.

View tips to follow if you have children or if children visit your house or yard.