Pesticides: How to Protect Yourself and Your Family

Farmworkers, and often their children, are regularly exposed to pesticides in many ways: mixing or applying pesticides;planting, weeding, harvesting, and processing crops; or living near treated fields. Studies have shown that the clothing parent swear home from agricultural work may put their children at risk for health problems. Children of farmers and agricultural fieldworkers are at high risk for pesticide exposure, even if they are not directly involved in farming activities related to the pesticides. According to the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, exposure to some pesticides, even in small doses, can immediately cause severe effects. Symptoms may include rashes, vomiting, excessive sweating, dizziness, headaches, muscle pains and cramps, eye irritation, and respiratory difficulty. Exposure to pesticides can also cause blindness, severe burns, and death. Some pesticides have been linked to long term effects, such as cancer and birth defects.

It is important for you to knowhow to protect yourself and your family from being exposed to pesticides.

Project LEAF (Limiting Exposure Around Families)

The Association of Farmworkers Opportunity Program has developed a new project designed to teach farmworkers and their families about pesticides in order to prevent pesticide take-home exposure. Pesticide take-home exposure occurs when farmworkers take home pesticide residues that may cling to their skin, clothing, hats, boots, tools, lunch coolers, car seats and any other items in the work environment. Their children may then be exposed to these pesticide residues. Experts recommend the following, in order to keep your family safe from any pesticides:

n Wash your work clothes separately from other clothes before wearing them again;

n Bathe with shampoo and soap directly after working;

n Avoid areas where pesticides are being sprayed;

n Keep all cleaning and pesticide products outside of children’s reach;

n Always wash your vegetables and fruits before eating them;

n Clean thoroughly anywhere pesticides can be found;

n Remove work boots before entering the house;

n Have the whole family wash their hands before eating, drinking or going to the bathroom;

n Close windows, turn off ventilators, and cover outside equipment when pesticides are being sprayed near your house;

n Do not bring agricultural pesticides home.