What to Do in Case of Pesticide Poisoning

Follow the specific first-aid instructions on the pesticide label.

If someone has unexplained symptoms that MAY be related to pesticides, DO NOT DELAY. Get medical advice quickly:

Call the Poison Center (toll free) at 1-800-222-1222 or call your doctor.

Take the pesticide label (or information from the label-the product name, EPA registration number, common name, percentage of active ingredient, and first aid instructions) to the physician. If the label cannot be removed, take the pesticide container (if not contaminated), but do not take it into the hospital or doctor's office.

Information regarding pesticides can also be obtained from the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC)
1-800-858-7378 (7:30 am to 3:30 pm Pacific Standard Time, Monday - Friday)

Email at npic@ace.orst.edu

or visit www.npic.orst.edu at any time

Information is printed in English and Spanish and available in over 170 languages through the use of an over-the-phone language service.

If labeling instructions are not available, follow these general guidelines for first aid.

  1. The best first aid in pesticide emergencies is to remove the source of pesticide exposure as quickly as possible. Removing the victim from the source not only protects him or her from further poisoning but also protects you while you administer first aid.
  2. First aid is the initial effort to help a victim while medical help is on the way. If you are alone with the victim, make sure the victim is breathing and is not being further exposed to the pesticide before you call for emergency help. Apply artificial respiration if the victim is not breathing. Do not become exposed to the pesticide yourself while you are trying to help.
  3. Pesticide on skin: Drench contaminated exposed skin with plenty of water. Remove personal protective equipment and contaminated clothing. Wash skin and hair with a mild detergent and water. Dry victim and keep him or her comfortable.
  4. Pesticide in eye: Wash the eye quickly but gently with clean running water. Rinse eye for 15 minutes or more.
  5. Inhaled pesticide: Get the victim to fresh air immediately. Loosen tight clothing on the victim that would constrict breathing. Apply artificial respiration if the victim is not breathing. If pesticide or vomit is in the victim's mouth or on the face, avoid direct contact and use a shaped airway tube, if available, for mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
  6. Pesticide in mouth or swallowed: Rinse mouth with plenty of water. Do not induce vomiting or give high-potency activated charcoal unless a physician or the label tells you to do so.
  7. Induce vomiting only if the label indicates. Position the victim face down or kneeling forward and carefully put a finger or the blunt end of a spoon at the back of the victim's throat.
  8. Do not induce vomiting if the victim is unconscious or convulsing, or if the victim has swallowed a corrosive poison or an emulsifiable concentrate or oil solution.
  9. Atropine should be administered only by a physician. It can be poisonous if misused and can mask the symptoms of poisoning, thus delaying proper treatment.
  10. First-aid kit: A properly equipped portable first-aid kit can be important in a pesticide emergency. Make sure one is available at each work site.