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Home » Archives » April 2011 » Solution To Pests Can Become The Problem

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04/13/2011: "Solution To Pests Can Become The Problem"


Spring is the start of pests around the house, yard and garden. But before you grab a can of pesticide from the local store, remember that these products can harm you, your kids, your pets and your neighbors; in fact, due to manufacturing lobbying a home owner can buy many pesticides off the shelf that a even a trained and licensed pesticide professional is not allowed to use on your property. Go figure.

“Safety is No Accident: Live Injury-Free,” the theme of this year’s National Public Health Week (www.nphw.org/nphw11/first1.htm), is a good reminder that using pesticides wisely is essential to your family’s health. It’s part of an overall focus on injury prevention.

“It takes only a moment for pesticide poisoning to happen,” said Secretary of Health Mary Selecky. “Instead of taking a risk, take a moment to protect yourself and your family, and to keep our communities safe.”

Each spring, state Department of Health investigators follow up on numerous reports of illnesses from people who sprayed weeds or used insecticide foggers incorrectly, or who were poisoned by improperly applied herbicide granules. Pesticide poisoning can cause skin and eye irritation, asthma attacks, and permanent damage to the central nervous system.

To avoid pesticide poisoning:

• Ask yourself, “Do I really need to use this product?” Washing a few bugs off the lettuce might be better than risking your family’s health.
• Protect yourself by wearing goggles and gloves when you apply pesticide. Read and follow the label. If it says, “avoid contact with eyes,” protect your eyes!
• Remember that pesticides are poison. Don’t leave them out where children can find them.
• Be aware of wind conditions. People get sick by inhaling pesticide that blows back.
• Look for options other than bug bombs. They can be dangerous and often don’t work to control household pests. Find alternatives (www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/Pest/fogger.htm).
• Don’t buy pesticides over the Internet. They could be illegal and harmful.

If you must use pesticides to control weeds and insects, consider using Integrated Pest Management (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/swfa/upest/index.html) practices. It’s a way to control pests without harming people or other animals, and minimize chemical use.

Other safety precautions are important for injury prevention at home and elsewhere. A few handy hints are on the Department of Health’s Public Health Week web page (www.doh.wa.gov/phweek/2011/).

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