Proper attire key part of safe pesticide application
Some people stand in front of a closet for what seems like hours deciding what to wear; practicing that same diligence could prevent potential health problems when preparing to apply pesticides to a home garden or agricultural crops.
Charles Luper, Cooperative Extension associate with the Oklahoma State University Pesticide Safety Education Program, said proper choice of clothing often is overlooked as a simple preventative measure against unwanted pesticide exposure.
“People sometimes get in a hurry,” he said. “Most know better but often fail to listen to that little voice inside warning them of potential danger. These folks need to realize they have no idea how much of the chemical may be absorbed through their skin over time.”
Although pesticide application is often associated with rural environments, misuse of chemical sprays can just as easily occur in urban areas.
“Some people spray gardens and lawns while wearing tank tops, shorts, baseball caps with ventilated tops and flip-flops,” Luper said. “They may wear gloves but often fail to use the proper type of ventilator, or any ventilator whatsoever. Not a good situation, to say the least.”
Product labels provide safety recommendations and vital information about proper health procedures should a person come into bodily contact with the chemical. Thus, manufacturer labels always should be read prior to applying the product, advises Luper.
“Protective equipment usually will include wearing chemical-resistant gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, socks and shoes or boots,” he said. “Pesticide applicators should avoid getting chemicals in their eyes or breathing spray mists, therefore goggles and an appropriate respirator may be needed.”
Useful pesticide safety and application procedures are available online through the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources by going to http://osufacts.okstate.edu and reading Extension Fact Sheet No. 7450, “Safe Use of Pesticides in the Home and Garden.”