CHOOSING A SAFE PESTICIDE
When choosing the safest and most effective pesticide to eliminate your pest, you must
first know something about the toxicity (how poisonous) of the pesticide you will be using.
Pesticide - Is anything used to control pests.
Insecticide - Is a pesticide used to control pests.
You can determine how toxic a pesticide by the signal word on the label or the pesticide's LD50 number.
All pesticides must contain a labeled signal word,which you will see below:
KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN.
1. CAUTION -- Any product that is only slightly toxic. ( more than a pint taken orally could kill an adult).
2. WARNING -- A product that is moderately toxic. ( a teaspoon taken by mouth could kill an adult).
3. DANGER OR POISON -- A product which is highly toxic. (less than a teaspoon taken by mouth could kill and adult).
A danger or poison signal word will also contain the skull and crossbones symbol.
Pesticides Can Enter Your System Three Different Ways
1. Orally (through the mouth)
2. Dermally (through the skin usually around the face, arms, and feet ).
Pesticide exposure usually occurs through the dermal and inhalation entry routes. It is unlikely that you
would injest a pesticide through your mouth but sometimes it does will occur.
TYPES OF PESTICIDE POISONING
Acute Poisoning - A one time exposure to a pesticide.
Chronic Poisoning - Exposure to a pesticide over a period of time.
SYMPTOMS OF POISONING
The symptoms of pesticide poisoning can be
quite numorous. Headache, cramps,muscle twitches,weakness, confusion, eye and skin irritation, fast pulse,shortness of breath,
fever, cough, vomiting, and diarrhea.
If you experience any of these symptoms afer using pesticides, see your doctor right away and tell him what pesticide
you were using. Pesticides should only be used as a last resort.
Determining How Dangerous A Pesticide Is
Another way the toxicity
(how poisonous a pesticide is) is measured is by the lethal dose 50 (LD50). This means the amount of a certain pesticide that
was given, that killed half the test animals. Therefore, if the LD50 number is high, the pesticide is less dangerous.
The LD50 number determines what the pesticide signal word will be(danger,warning, and caution).
1-50 Highly Toxic -- Danger or Poison
50-500 Moderately Toxic -- Warning
500-5000 Slightly Toxic -- Caution
5000-15,000 Practicaly Non Toxic -- Caution
Some examples of oral LD50 numbers
Diatomaceous Earth - 8000
Boric Acid - 2660
Table Salt -3000
Aspirin - 1000
Moth Balls - 500
Caffeine - 192
Bleach - 192
Nicotine - 50
Tetrahydrocannabinol (pot) - 730
Cocaine - 95
Alcohol - 11
Read The Label
I really want to stress the importance
of reading the insecticide label especially if you have children or pets. Just because you purchased the insecticide over
the counter does not mean it's completely safe. Many homeowners have suffered symptoms of poisoning because they did not take
the time to read the label. I recently talked to a friend of mine who sprayed his home for fleas with a liquid insecticide
and did not bother to read the complete label. The label stated that pets should be removed from the house until the insecticide
was dry. His puppy was left in the home during and after the spray treatment and licked up much of the liquid that was sprayed
on the kitchen floor. The puppy did not die, but became quite sick and threw-up numerous times throughout the day. If my friend
would have taken the time to read the insecticide label he would have saved himself $400.00 in vet bills. Once again, please
read the complete label very carefully.