Experts urge caution with pesticides following Texas deaths

The Environmental Protection Agency suggests using non-chemical control methods to reduce or eliminate pest problems

Bed bugs
Image courtesy CDC.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Investigators in a pesticide death in Texas last week believe that four children died from poisonous gas that was released when someone mixed water with a pesticide that was sprayed under their home.

Brad Grace, president of Grace Exterminating said the most important thing to do when using pesticides is to read the label. Grace says all pesticides contain toxic chemicals and can be dangerous or even deadly.

Grace says pesticides are categorized into two groups – general use and restricted use. General use can be applied by anyone. Only licensed people have access to restricted chemicals.

The type of pesticide in the Texas case was restricted.

Grace said extensive training is involved for the use of restricted pesticides, but general use chemicals can be dangerous, too. He warns to always use gloves when applying chemicals and be sure to read the product label.

“All of that is on the label, which is all attached to the product when the product is sold,” Grace said.

Grace also suggests making sure you are using the correct amount of product for a particular job. With pesticides more doesn’t mean better.

The Environmental Protection Agency suggests using non-chemical control methods to reduce or eliminate pest problems. Some methods are: Removing sources of food and water (such as leaky pipes); destroying pest shelters and breeding sites (such as litter and plant debris).

If pesticides must be used, the EPA offers these tips:

  • If you decide you must use pesticides, always read the label first and follow the directions to the letter, including all precautions and restrictions.
  • Don’t use products for pests that are not indicated on the label and don’t use more pesticide than directed by the label. Don’t think that twice the amount will do twice the job.
  • Use protective measures when handling pesticides as directed by the label, such as wearing impermeable gloves, long pants, and long-sleeve shirts. Change clothes and wash your hands immediately after applying pesticides.
  • Before applying a pesticide (indoors or outdoors), remove children, toys and pets from the area and keep them away until the pesticide has dried or as recommended by the label.
  • Remove or cover food during indoor applications.
  • Don’t spray outdoors on windy or rainy days. Take precautions to keep the pesticide from drifting or running off into the vegetable garden, pool or neighbor’s yard.
  • If using a commercial applicator or lawn care service, ask for information about potential risks and safety precautions to take.
  • Don’t buy more pesticides than you will need. If you have leftover pesticides, check with your local government to determine whether your community has a household hazardous waste collection program or other program for disposing of pesticides. If no community program exists, follow label directions and any state or local regulations regarding disposal.
  • Keep the telephone number of your area Poison Control Center near your telephone: 1-800-222-1222.

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