Pesticide Protection Take cover while mixing and applying pesticides to
protect your body from the often hidden and potentially dangerous effects of pesticide poisoning. Some pesticides are highly toxic, others much less so. However, wise and prudent handling of any chemical dictates precaution to minimize exposure.
Poisoning most often results from pesticides entering body through the skin rather than through the lungs or digestive tract. Symptoms of pesticide poisoning range from headaches to vomiting and even death. You can minimize the dangers of pesticide exposure by wearing clothing that covers and protects your body. Pesticide residues are absorbed through the skin at different rates on different parts of the body. Figures in the table,
obtained from a study of volunteers, show that you
should take special care to protect the scalp, ear canal and forehead. A hat with a wide brim would serve to protect these three areas.
The abdominal area and waistline should be protected to prevent chemical access to the scrotum. Heavy denim such as jeans or coveralls is probably one of the best means of protecting this area at the present time. If jeans are worn, the upper body should be protected with a heavy denim shirt or jacket. Scotch-guarding these items adds further protection from the penetration of pesticides.
In cool weather, a waterproof suit or raincoat is an
even more effective protective covering as long as the head is protected with a hat or hood. Lightweight, natural rubber or neoprene gloves and boot should be worn inside shirt sleeves and pant legs to prevent spilled pesticide from running down onto the hands and feet. DO NOT wear leather gloves, boots or hats with leather hatbands, as leather is a very absorbent material.
Although you may not feel that you receive much
pesticide exposure during normal operations, all areas of the body received spray, with the heaviest deposition on the head, upper torso and arm areas, as well as the forearms and front lower legs. (Vis. 2) If you are guilty of being "bare" in any of these areas while applying pesticides in hot weather, you had better "take cover" next time. A wide brimmed hat, longsleeved shirt and pants, boots and gloves are a must!
Clothes worn while applying pesticides should be
cleaned after every use. If you wear a waterproof suit or rain gear, hose off the outside of the garment with water. All other work clothing worn during pesticide use such as denim jeans, coveralls, shirts and jackets should be kept separate from other family laundry. Follow normal heavily soiled laundry procedures to remove the pesticide from these items. An extra rinse is also a good idea to be sure all residues are removed. The next time you prepare to apply pesticides, remember... TAKE COVER
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