Thursday, April 11, 2019

Lawn chemical poisoning

Amanda Poll, Health Promotion Facilitator,  Alberta Health Services - Spring is here - that means sunshine, warmer weather and yard work! As we start planning out all of the work that needs to happen on our lawns and in our gardens, we may forget that the chemicals we use to make everything lush, green and fruitful can also be dangerous.

Chemicals like fertilizer and pesticides (including insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, rodenticides, and germicides) are poisonous. They may cause irritation to the eyes, skin, nose, throat and lungs; they also have the potential to burn the skin, and could make a person seriously ill.

These and other poisonous substances are often packaged in child-resistant containers, meaning that they are not child-proof. It is important to remember that young children have the highest risk of poisoning because of their natural curiosity.

Here are a few reminders to keep yourself, and your children safe while you are working in your yard this spring:

Choose the least hazardous product available for the job you need to do.

Use the lowest-risk form and the smallest amount of the product needed.

Never leave a poisonous product unattended, even for a moment - Many poisonings occur in children when a caregiver becomes distracted by the doorbell, a telephone, or some other interruption

Keep products in their original labelled containers. Never store poisonous products in food containers.

To avoid skin, eye, nose and lung irritation, only use chemicals on days with little or no wind.

Keep products completely out of sight and out of the reach and sight of children. Do not keep poisons under your kitchen sink.

Post the phone number to the poison control centre in several places throughout the house; especially where chemicals are stored.

The Alberta Poison and Drug Information Centre 1-800-332-1414

Understand the label - Look for words that signal the level of poison danger in pesticide products. The word "Caution" on a pesticide label means the product is slightly toxic. The word "Warning" means the product is moderately toxic. And the word "Danger" means the product is highly toxic. For more information, go to Health Canada's Pesticides and Pest Management website at

In the case of a suspected poisoning, call the Poison and Drug Information Centre (PADIS) immediately. You can call anytime from anywhere in Alberta toll free: 1-800-332-1414.

If the person is having symptoms that could be life threatening, call 911.

For more information on poisoning prevention, please visit or

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