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PestiBytes Episode 22: My yard is being sprayed; can my kids go out and play?

headphones Introduction/Conclusion: Dr. Dave Stone, Director of the National Pesticide Information Center
Host: Dixie Jackson, NPIC Pesticide Specialist
Guest: Carmen Boone, NPIC Pesticide Specialist

DR. STONE: Welcome to PestiBytes, a podcast series from the National Pesticide Information Center. These are based on common pesticide questions from people just like you.


DIXIE: This is Dixie and I’m talking with Carmen about pesticides in lawns and children’s health. Carmen, is it safe to apply pesticides to your lawn when you have children?

CARMEN: There is always risk when applying a pesticide. The risk depends on the toxicity of the product and the exposure to it. Pesticides can get into our body by skin contact, eating or drinking it, or by breathing it in. Minimizing your child’s exposure will lower their risk.

DIXIE: How can parents protect their children from pesticide exposure?

CARMEN: First, remember to always apply pesticide products, including weed killers, according to label directions. To reduce children’s exposure to sprays, keep them out of the area during application until the pesticide has dried. You may also consider removing or covering toys, playground structures, sandboxes, or outdoor furniture to avoid accidentally spraying them.

DIXIE: What about granular products?

CARMEN: Keep children off treated areas as long as the granules are visible. Some granular products need to be watered in. In that case, keep your kids away from the area until the granules have been watered in and the lawn has dried.

DIXIE: How can parents find out how toxic a product is?

CARMEN: The signal word located on the product label will describe the short-term toxicity of the pesticide product. The signal word CAUTION means the product is low in toxicity, WARNING means moderate toxicity, and DANGER means high toxicity. If you want to know more about a product you can call NPIC with the product information and our specialists will be happy to help you.

DIXIE: Thank you Carmen!

CARMEN: You're welcome!


DR. STONE: If you have questions about pesticides, please call us at 1-800-858-7378 or visit us on the web at http://npic.orst.edu. PestiBytes is brought to you by the National Pesticide Information Center, a cooperative agreement between Oregon State University and the Environmental Protection Agency. These are produced in collaboration with OSU's Environmental Health Sciences Center, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

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If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Last updated March 20, 2013

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