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2022 Midwest Vegetable Guide

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Pesticide Application and Safety 40 Midwest Veg Guide 2022 Pesticide Application and Safety Reviewed by Ben Phillips – Sept 2021 Pesticides are designed to poison or otherwise manage pests. Many pesticide products may poison people, pets, livestock, wildlife, ornamental plants, and other non-target organisms. Pesticide applicators and their families are at increased risk of pesticide exposure. It is important to keep all pesticide exposures to an absolute minimum. You must protect your family members, field workers, and other people from pesticide injuries. Most pesticide accidents result from careless practices or lack of knowledge about safe handling. The time you spend to learn about the safe use of pesticides is an investment in the health and safety of you, your family, and others. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) places certain restrictions on the use of pesticide chemicals. These restrictions apply to chemicals applied to control insects, mites, plant diseases, weeds, nematodes, and other pests. Such restrictions may prohibit the use of a chemical or allow residue tolerances on harvested vegetables. Growers must know what chemical to use on each vegetable; how to apply the products; the post- treatment re-entry interval, if any; when to use the chemicals with respect to farm worker and/or picker safety; and the environment and the harvest of each vegetable crop. Growers must follow all label instructions regarding harvest restrictions to assure consumers that the food is free of dangerous residues and to comply with the law to prevent seizure of their crops. Here are some rules for the safe use of pesticides: • Only mix the amount of a pesticide you can use in one day. • If you do have leftover spray mix, the best way to dispose of it is by applying it to a labeled crop in a legal manner. • Never dispose of surplus pesticides in a way that will result in the contamination of ground or surface waters. • Rinse all empty containers three times before disposal. • Pour the rinse water into the spray tank. Puncture or break triple-rinsed containers to facilitate drainage and to prevent reuse for any other purpose. • Then dispose of the container according to label directions. Pesticide Signal Words Each pesticide container is required by law to have signal words to quickly communicate information about the product's acute toxicity. The three signal words, as provided by the National Pesticide Information Center, are: • CAUTION. This signal word means the pesticide is slightly toxic if eaten, absorbed through the skin, or inhaled, or it causes slight eye or skin irritation. • WARNING. This signal word means the pesticide is moderately toxic if eaten, absorbed through the skin, or inhaled, or it causes moderate eye or skin irritation. • DANGER. This signal word means the pesticide is highly toxic by at least one route of exposure. It may be corrosive, which would cause irreversible damage to the skin or eyes. It may be highly toxic if eaten, absorbed through the skin, or inhaled. If this is the case, then POISON must also be included in red letters on the front panel of the product label. Minimizing Pesticide Exposure Signal words convey the acute toxicity of a pesticide. However, exposure to any pesticide, even those without signal words, can lead to long-term health effects. It's important to take precautions to minimize exposure to any and all pesticides. Check the product label for specific instructions to minimize exposure. Some label precautions include: • Wear the proper respiratory equipment when handling or applying. • Wear protective clothing that covers as much of the body as possible. • Always use rubber gloves, not leather or cloth gloves, and never use bare hands to handle pesticides. • Do not breathe in these pesticides when opening containers or mixing into spray tanks. • Always wash hands, arms, and face immediately after handling, and before eating or smoking. • Never smoke while handling or applying. • Reduce all possible hazards of coming into direct contact with spray drift, and avoid spraying if conditions are too windy. • Shower or bathe thoroughly after each day's work, and change clothes. • Wash spray clothes separately from the family wash, then run another complete hot water and detergent wash cycle before washing other clothes. • Wear clean overalls, underwear, socks, and cap each day you spray. • Always keep pesticides in their original labeled containers, and store in a safe place. • Store and dispose of containers according to information on pesticide labels.

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