Chemical use and safety

Farm Forum

As I start to do Pesticide Applicator Training Classes it also is a good time to review pesticide safety around the farm and home.

Just about every summer I hear of someone that has been exposed to a pesticide accident or killed by one. When I think of this, I usually have an image of an older guy who is kind of careless in regular life. More than likely this person would be a smoker and may also like to have a few drinks from time to time. By now you should have a picture of a person to fit the bill in your mind.

Now let us look at what really happens. Yes, it could be this person, but for a chemical poisoning it is more likely to be a young child that cannot read. Also when we look at chemicals usually we think of pesticides or those toxic insecticides that are used. It is true that some of our insecticides are most toxic and exposure to even small amounts can make you sick or could be fatal. However, most chemical poisonings that are reported are from household chemicals that children get into unknowingly and spill on themselves or ingest without knowing that they are harmful to them.

Do you know where to call for help if you find yourself in the middle of a situation like this? The number you need to post is 1-800-222-1222. This number will connect you to a local poison control center no matter where you are in North America. A few years ago this number was made standard across North America so it works like 911. If you call, it will get a person from the local area to help you out. Speaking of 911, if you find yourself in an emergency situation, you can call 911 and ask for the local poison control number and they should be able to help you. However, remember to only call 911 if it is an emergency.

This is the time of year to check your home and chemical storage areas to ensure they are safe or if you need to make changes before summer. Now is a good time to look into it. If you are in a home, all chemicals should be stored in an area that children do not have access to. The number one key to avoiding chemical accidents is to look at the prevention of accidents.