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Yard and garden work is in full swing at this time, so now would be a good time to discuss safe handling of pesticides.  If you are using pesticides in your lawn or garden it is very important that you use them according to the label to protect you and your loved ones.


Pesticides are chemically designed agents used to control, repel or destroy pests. Pesticides are categorized as herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and rodenticides. All pesticides are toxic to some degree because they are designed to poison the target pest, but pesticides are generally safe when they are handled and applied correctly. Properly using pesticides can help prevent accidental exposure, contamination and non-target damage. Exercising common sense safety and following label directions aid the safe use of pesticides.


General Guidelines

  • Keep all children and pets away from pesticides, application equipment and treated areas. Inform your neighbors when an application will be made and what pesticides will be used.
  • Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling or using pesticides. Wash clothing worn for pesticide applications after each application and separately from other laundry.


  • Choose the product with the appropriate active ingredient, formulation, target pests and sites where it can be used. If you need help identifying the proper pest we can help with this.
  • Read the label on the pesticide container before purchasing, but especially before handling or applying any pesticide. The label can determine the active ingredient and its toxicity to the surrounding environment, such as nearby water, plants, and animals.
  • Before using a pesticide, know what to do in the case of an accidental poisoning. Instructions can be found on the product label.
  • Calibrate pesticide application equipment to ensure accurate applications. Over application may cause runoff or seepage, contaminate water supplies or leave harmful residues on the application area.
  • Measure carefully and mix only the amount needed for the current job to eliminate the problem of storage or disposal of unused pesticides.
  • Mix pesticides in a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors. Handle and apply pesticides away from wells, ponds, streams, sewer drains, etc. to avoid contamination of water.


  • When handling or applying pesticides always wear rubber gloves, long sleeved shirts, closed toe shoes, and long pants. The label will tell you any other necessary personal protection equipment needed.
  • Avoid getting pesticides on you. If a pesticide does come in direct contact with skin, wash the area immediately with soap and water.
  • Avoid breathing fumes, dust and vapor from pesticides.
  • Avoid drift and contamination of non-target objects by applying pesticides only when winds are light. Never apply pesticides if the wind is stronger than that allowed on the label. Drift may harm or destroy surrounding plants, insects, animals or humans.
  • Clean up spills immediately. For small spills, use an absorbent material such as cat litter or sawdust to soak up liquid spills, sweep it into a garbage bag and dispose of it with the regular trash. For larger spills, immediately create a barrier to prevent spreading of the liquid.


  • If it is necessary to store pesticides, always store them in their original, labeled container. Make sure all containers are tightly closed. Store pesticides out of children’s reach and in a locked area if possible.



  • Safely dispose of empty pesticide containers by following directions on the container label.

Safe use of pesticides will ensure that they are on the market for our use well into the future, while the mishandling of these pesticides cause them to be pulled from public use.  Remember; not only your safety, but the safety of the environment is at stake this spring when you begin applying pesticides.

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