PESTICIDES are chemicals used to kill or harm pests. Pesticides are poisonous and are especially dangerous for children, the elderly, pregnant and nursing women and animals (pets).
Household pesticides are intended to harm insects such as flies, cockroaches and mosquitoes or rodents like mice or rats. Although household pesticides may easily be obtained, this does not mean that they are harmless. They are toxic and if used carelessly they may affect the health of the user, their family, pets or the environment. Always select pesticides that are designed for the pest you wish to treat, follow the label instructions carefully and use the least amount possible.Choose pesticides wisely
· Think about whether your proposed use of pesticide is appropriate; For example, it may be unrealistic to expect your house to be completely pest-free. It’s possible that the repeated use of pesticides may be more dangerous in the long term than the pests themselves.
· Consider non-chemical pest control measures
· Make sure you identify the pest before you buy a pesticide
· Determine the most effective pesticide for your pest
· Opt for the least toxic household pesticide available
· Use the least amount of pesticide possible, as all pesticides are toxic and can cause harm if used incorrectly.
If the appropriate precautions are taken to minimise exposure to pesticides, the risk to health is greatly reduced. Suggestions when using pesticides at home include:
· Don’t stock up on pesticides. Only buy as much as you need.
· Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and always use the product strictly as directed. Do not use more than the recommended amount and make sure that you follow all safety precautions
· Do not mix pesticides. You risk an unexpected and potentially dangerous chemical reaction
· Store the pesticide in its original container with the lid firmly sealed and keep out of the reach of children: for example, locked in a high cupboard inaccessible to children
· Never transfer pesticides into containers that children might mistake for food or drink
· Do not set traps or place bait in areas that are accessible to children or pets
· Do not eat, drink or smoke while using a pesticide
· Wash your hands after useWhen you use pesticides indoors:
· Cover or remove bird cages and fish tanks and relocate other pets before using aerosol (spray) pesticides. Many pesticides are extremely toxic to birds and fish
· Remove (or cover) food, cooking utensils and other personal items from the area to be treated. Thoroughly clean kitchen top before preparing food
· Do not apply surface sprays to areas commonly touched by family members, such as furniture
· Leave the room while the pesticide (such as fly spray) is taking effect. When you come back, open the windows to clear the airWhen you use pesticides outdoors:
· Ensure all doors and windows are closed before using the pesticide
· Do not water your garden after using a pesticide. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for a guide to how long you should wait
· Advise your neighbours if you use any external pesticide treatmentPesticide poisoning
Poisoning, as a result of exposure to pesticides, may occur shortly after a single exposure (acute poisoning) or gradually after repeated exposures over a period of time (chronic poisoning). Acute poisoning
Symptoms may begin shortly after exposure and may include:
· Stomach cramps
· Blurred vision
· Excessive eye watering
· Excess saliva.
· More severe poisoning may also lead to changes in heart rate, chest tightness, muscle weakness and twitching, difficulty breathing and walking, constricted pupils and incontinence. In very severe cases of poisoning, seizures and unconsciousness may occur.Chronic poisoning
Symptoms may occur gradually, after repeated exposures over a period of time, and may include:
· Muscle weakness
· Difficulty concentrating and remembering things
· Generally feeling unwell
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms after usage of pesticides.