How To – Safety and Pesticides in Your Home

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    Some of the most dangerous chemicals that the average person will come in contact with are used in and around your home. They come in many forms: Powders or Granules, Liquids and Sprays and although government regulations mandate labeling many times the labels go unread by the end users.

    Pesticides, Herbicides, Wood Preservatives, Paints, Fertilizers, Fuels, cleaning and other products are all at the top of the list of things you should take serious when using and storing in or around your home.

    Pesticides are given toxicity levels I-IV, (1 through 4).
    The pesticide is assigned a signal word according to the toxicity level and placed on the container label.

    Toxicity Level I – (Highly Toxic)

    Toxicity Level II – (Moderately Toxic)

    Toxicity Level III – (Slightly Toxic)

    Toxicity Level IV – (Relatively Non-Toxic)

    Pesticides by their nature can cause serious harm because they are designed to kill living organisms. For that reason no pesticide should be considered safe.

    Their use should be controlled and limited.


    Never use a pesticide for anything other then its intended use. (ex. Don’t use ant killer on a wasp nest unless the directions say you can)

    Always wear protective clothing like rubber gloves, dust masks for dry products or respirators for liquids and sprays. Follow directions for each product because they are all different.

    Never mix pesticides with other chemicals unless directions allow or prescribe that use. (Some chemicals need to be mixed but bad reactions can happen when 2 chemicals are mixed even when that one chemical is water.)

    Never use pesticides indoors if they were designed for outdoor use. (Outdoor chemicals even if rated safe for outside use around humans may be too strong or have different formulas then inside chemicals.)

    Never use pesticides when other methods can result in the same solution. (removing garbage, caulking holes or using a canister vacuum to suck up a bunch of ants is safer then a chemical)

    Store Chemicals in a Locked and Secure storage area.

    Store pesticides away from other products such as fertilizers, feed, flammables, medicine, food, and clothing.

    The storage areas must be dry, well ventilated and protected from flooding, high humidity, and temperature extremes.

    Make sure that all products have EPA registration numbers. It is illegal to sell pesticides without an EPA registration number.

    A material safety data sheet (MSDS) should be available at any store selling pesticides if not they will be able to get a copy from the manufacturer. They will contain additional information that is not shown on the product label concerning use and cleanup. They should also give you information on how to obtain help in certain situations and what information you should provide to medical staff. If you are not sure about the safety precautions you should take from reading the label of a product ALWAYS ask for a Material Safety Sheet it is your right to have a copy.

    When disposing of pesticides they must be handled as hazardous waste and you should take them to your local drop-off site and not place them in your regular garbage pickup. Call your local waste authority or government office most will accept the chemicals for free.

    One last note is that you should follow Manufacturer Recall notices and look for information about the active ingredients in any product you are using. You might find specific information about dangers that are not included on product labels such as reactions to people with different health problems or how prolonged use of a product can cause harm to you.

    And Remember you are working with a product who’s main purpose is to kill living things. Don’t let one of those things be you.

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