Last time we explored what to do if we were exposed to a pesticide by learning about the First Aid section. Great, I know how to deal with exposure. Now I wont to figure out how to prevent it. Said another way “How Do I Keep It Off Me?” We discussed hazard and exposure, not it is time to alter the risk.
Alligators and Chernobyl are examples of hazards, and we can imagine the first aid that might be needed after a bad exposure (ouch!). Rather than dealing with first aid, lets look to mitigate risk by limiting exposure. For the alligator a stick, net, better yet a boat, would allow us to be in the water, but help to mitigate the risk. For Chernobyl we have seen the images of gas masks, suits, and other bits of gear that help to minimize/mitigate the exposure to radiation.
Those “moon suits” you see in the movies when people are around radiation, well it has a name PPE (personal protective equipment). Gloves, goggles, respirators, chemical resistant clothing are all examples of PPE. Directly following the first aid statements are the PPE statements. This ranges from “avoiding contact”, to long sleeves and long pants, all the way to forced air suits that create a sealed environment.
There is no “standard” PPE for pesticides, each pesticide will have it’s very own specific set of safety gear to wear listed on the label. The Label is The Law, so you must always read and follow the label in order to have the proper PPE. Some labels give further instruction on engineering controls, or other considerations that can reduce the chance of exposure.
This label has fewer requirements and is organized a little different, but still gives the important information. The Blamo label requires extensive PPE , resulting from the Danger Poison signal word discussed earlier. It is NEVER ok to wear less PPE than specified by the label. But can you wear more PPE than requested? Yes, however the manufacturers and EPA have done extensive testing to list the PPE deemed necessary. Extra PPE might have utility if a special circumstance would increase the change of exposure, but extra PPE could reduce mobility, visibility, and could lead to overheating. The best PPE is to think through every situation and eliminate exposures with other means and utilize the PPE as specified on the label. How Do I Keep It Off Me? With PPE of course!
That is the first portion of a label. The label has told us:
- What is in the container
- What is the possible hazard
- What to do if we are exposed
- What to wear to reduce exposure
All of this is up front because it is dealing with “Personal Safety”, which is going to be important no matter who is using the pesticide, where they are using it, or how they are using it. Safety ALWAYS matters, so it is the first thing on a label.
Now that the user is safe, what else do we need to know from the label? The next blog will answer that very question.
Additional PPE Info