Using Pesticides Safely
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This page is oriented toward people who use pesticides in or around their homes. If your job involves pesticides or may result in pesticide exposure (for example, you harvest crops in a field where pesticides were used), please see the Worker Safety and Training page.
Safely using pesticides depends on using the appropriate pesticide and using it correctly. The label on the pesticide container provides instructions for use of the pesticide. It also includes warnings that are intended to let the user know how to prevent harmful exposures, such as by wearing protective clothing, keeping children and pets out of the treated area for certain periods, and so on. It is very important to Read the Label First before using a pesticide.
EPA has several publications that provide more information about safe pesticide use:
Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety (PDF) (54 pp, 2.3 MB, About PDF)
offers information about preventing pests, using non-chemical pest control
methods, using chemical pesticides, reducing your exposure when others
use pesticides, choosing a pest control company, handling an emergency
such as a poisoning, and more.
the Label First: Protect Your Household (PDF) (2 pp, 1.0 MB, About PDF)) includes
information about the importance of keeping pesticides in their original
container, how to prevent harm to the environment, why you should buy
the right product in the right amount for your needs.
the Label First: Protect Your Pet (PDF) (2pp, 1.0 MB, About PDF) includes information
about the importance of keeping pesticides in their original container,
how to keep pets away from products, and the types of label precautions
you may see.
the Label First: Protect Your Kids (PDF) (2pp, 1.0 MB, About PDF) includes information
about the importance of reading and following label directions, keeping
pesticides in their original container, storing products, and knowing
where to call for help.
- Ten Tips to Protect
Children from Pesticide and Lead Poisonings - These
simple steps can help you save children from environmental hazards around
the Label First: Protect Your Garden (PDF) (2pp, 1.0 MB, About PDF) includes
tips on selecting and using garden products, where to call for help,
and the importance of reading and following label directions.
- Play it Safe; Reduce your Child's Chances of Pesticide Poisoning (PDF) (8 pp, 365k, About PDF) - PDF en espaņol
- Poison-Proof Your Home One Room at a Time (PDF) (2 pp, 160k, About PDF) - PDF en espaņol
Mosquitoes, biting flies, and ticks can be annoying and sometimes pose a serious risk to public health. In certain areas of the U.S., mosquitos can transmit diseases like equine and St. Louis encephalitis. Biting flies can inflict a painful bite that can persist for days, swell, and become infected. Ticks can transmit serious diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. When properly housed, insect repellents can discourage biting insects from landing on treated skin or clothing.
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