Play it Safe — Lock up Pesticides, Prevent Poisonings

Play it Safe — Lock up Pesticides, Prevent Poisonings

May 9, 2008

Every 13 seconds, a poison control center receives a phone call about an unintentional poisoning. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that more than 50% of the two million poisoning incidents each year involve children younger than six years old. In 2006 alone, poison centers reported more than 77,000 calls with concerns about potential exposure to common household pesticides.

Children are at a much greater risk of unintentional poisonings from pesticides and household products. It is essential for parents and caregivers to lock up all pesticides, including farm, acreage and household products.

Storing Pesticides

Prevent pesticide poisonings by storing all pesticides safely. If possible, store them locked up in a separate room or building and post a warning sign on the locked storage area.. If nothing else is available, use a locked cabinet. Avoid stacking pesticide containers and shipment boxes. Use metal shelving instead of wood to avoid absorption if a spill occurs. Store all pesticide products in their original containers. Never reuse pesticide containers.

Containing Spills

Be prepared for accidental pesticide spills in storage areas and have a spill kit available. Know the three "C's" — control, contain, and clean-up.

  • Control. If a spill or leak occurs, control the spill to prevent further spillage or leakage.
  • Contain. To keep spills from spreading, use absorbent materials such as kitty litter. After spills soak into the kitty litter, carefully clean up the spilled pesticide and absorbent material.
  • Control. Transfer it into plastic bags and dispose of according to label instructions. Protect yourself when cleaning up spills by using chemical resistant gloves and other protective clothing and equipment as needed.

Follow Label Instructions

Prevent pesticide poisonings by always applying pesticides safely. Read the label. Follow all directions carefully. Make sure that children stay away from mixing, loading or application zones. Pesticide residues are likely to get on clothing, truck and tractor cabs, and other areas. Remove pesticide-contaminated shoes before entering your home. Always remove contaminated clothing and wash yourself thoroughly before coming in contact with children and other family members. Don't mix pesticide-contaminated clothing with family laundry. Take steps to avoid moving pesticide residues from truck and tractor cabs into "clean" areas such as inside your home.

Model and Teach Pesticide Safety

Prevent pesticide poisonings by teaching children about pesticides and encouraging them to ask questions. Pesticides can seem harmless to children. They may see them as food or drink. Teach them to ask an adult before they eat or drink anything.The National Poison Center hotline is 1-800-222-1222.

More details about proper storage of pesticides can be found in the publication, Safe Transport, Storage and Disposal of Pesticides, EC2507.

Clyde Ogg
Pesticide Safety Educator
Erin Bauer
Extension Assistant