How to Identify Poisonous Materials in the Home
and Take Precautions against Becoming Harmed by Them.
What is a Pesticide?
A pesticide is a chemical used to prevent, destroy or repel pests. Pests
can be insects, mice and other animals, weeds, fungi or microorganisms
such as bacteria and viruses. Some examples of pests are termites causing
damage to our homes, dandelions in the lawn, and fleas on our dogs and
cats. Pesticides also are used to kill organisms that can cause diseases.
Most pesticides contain chemicals that can be harmful to people, animals
or the environment. For this reason the Office of Pesticide Programs of
the Environmental Protection Agency regulates pesticides in the United
States to protect public health and the environment. Here are some
examples of pesticide products we use in our homes:
sprays and baits
tick sprays, powders and pet collars.
Did you know that these
common products are considered pesticides?
used to disinfect the kitchen floor.
products used to remove the mildew on bathroom tiles.
garden products to kill insects and weeds.
swimming pool chemicals.
What is a Toxic
toxic substance means any chemical or mixture that may be harmful to the
environment and to human health if inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through
the skin. Did you know that some toxic substances are found in nature?
There are naturally occurring toxins (poisonous substances coming from
living organisms) found in certain plants like poinsettias (that red
flower we give as a gift during the Christmas holiday) and even some wild
mushrooms and berries. However, the toxic substances contained in most
everyday household products are synthetic which means they are man-made.
The opposite of toxic substances are non-toxic substances. Non-toxic
substances are safe to use and do not harm humans and the environment.
Many of the products you find in your home may have toxic substances.
These products include:
While these products are useful at home, some of the chemicals in these
products can irritate your skin, eyes, nose and throat, or can even poison
you - so be careful! Kids, you must think about the products you
use at home - are they toxic? If they are, be careful when you use them.
If you are unsure, please check with an adult before you use them.
Many household products contain pesticides and toxic ingredients that can
be harmful to humans, animals or the environment. Even so, we use these
products to clean or maintain our home. Or they are useful because they
control disease-causing organisms, insects, weeds or other pests. The
label is your guide to using products safely and effectively. Always “Read
the Label First” to know how to properly use these products and for safety
Labels use signal words to show how toxic or hazardous a product can be.
There are three different signal words:
danger. Both you and your
parents need to be careful whenever products with signal words on their
label are used. [INSTRUCTOR SHOULD PROVIDE SAMPLES
What do you do if you or someone you're with has an
accident with any household products?
you have an accident or are exposed to a pesticide or household product
you should tell your parents or other adult in your home immediately.
Tell them what pesticide or household product you were using and exactly
what happened. If possible, show them the container and label. Tell them
how much you came in contact with and what part of your body came in
contact with it (Was it your eyes or skin or did you swallow some?) If an
adult is not close by, and you are hurt or starting to feel sick, then do
someone splashes a household chemical in the eyes, rinse out the eyes for
15-20 minutes in the shower or under a faucet. Then call your poison
control center. If you do not know that number, then call 911 or your
local emergency ambulance number.
someone splashes a household chemical on the skin, take off the wet
clothing and rinse the skin for 15-20 minutes in the shower or under a
faucet. Then call your poison control center. If you do not know that
number, then call 911 or your local emergency ambulance number.
someone drinks a household chemical, give him or her half a glass of water
to drink. Then call your poison control center. If you do not know that
number then call 911 or your local emergency ambulance number.
someone is not breathing or won't wake up, call 911 or your local
emergency ambulance number.
prepared for any emergency in your home. Keep your local emergency number,
local ambulance number and the local poison control center telephone
numbers on or next to your phone. You can usually find these numbers on
the inside cover or first few pages of your telephone book.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):