Although pesticides can be beneficial to society, they can be dangerous
if used carelessly or if they are not stored properly and out of the reach
of children. According to data collected from the American Association
of Poison Control Centers, in 1993 alone, an estimated 80,000 children
were involved in common household pesticide-related poisonings or exposures
in the United States.
A survey by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding pesticides
used in and around the home revealed some significant findings:
Bathrooms and kitchens were cited as the areas in the home most likely
to have improperly stored pesticides. Examples of some common household
pesticides found in bathrooms and kitchens include roach sprays; chlorine
bleach; kitchen and bath disinfectants; rat poison; insect and wasp sprays,
repellents and baits; and, flea and tick shampoos and dips for pets. Other
household pesticides include swimming pool chemicals and weed killers.
EPA has important regulatory authority over pesticides in the United
States under the pesticide law known as the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide,
and Rodenticide Act, or FIFRA. Since 1981, the law has required most residential-use
pesticides with a signal word of "Danger" or "Warning"
to be in child-resistant packaging. These are the pesticides which are
most toxic to children. Child-resistant packaging is designed to prevent
most children under the age of five from gaining access to the pesticide,
or at least delay their access. However, individuals must also take precautions
to protect children from accidental pesticide poisonings or exposures.
IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY, try to determine what the child was
exposed to and what part of the body was affected before you take action,
since taking the right action is as important as taking immediate action.
The pesticide product label provides you with a "Statement of Treatment"
to follow in emergencies. Administer the indicated initial first aid; then
contact your local Poison Control Center, physician, local emergency number
(911 in most areas), or the operator.
The following require immediate attention before calling for assistance
- remember, act fast because speed is crucial:
Additional pesticide product information can be obtained from the National
Pesticide Telecommunications Network (NPTN) at 1-800-858-7378. NPTN
is a toll-free information service funded by EPA and operated by the Oregon
State University Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. Eastern Standard
50 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Annapolis, MD 21401