Spring is just around the corner and it's time to start thinking about safe lawn and garden care. Warmer weather means planting season and also means an increase in the use of pesticides in and around the home. Some plants can be just as dangerous as the chemicals we use on them. In order to keep your home safe for small children and pets alike, consider these tips when deciding what to plant and how to prevent springtime pesticide hazards.
Fertilizers, insecticides and fungicides can be as toxic to humans as they are to their intended victims. Since every chemical is different, it is very important to read and follow each label closely.
- Wear all protective clothing the label specifies while applying chemicals.
- Follow the label directions for mixing solutions and rinsing spray containers.
- Apply the proper amount of product required to avoid over-use.
- Always wash your hands and change your clothes after applying a pesticide.
- Keep children and pets away during application and until the product dries, or as long as the label suggests.
- Store pesticides out of reach in a cool, dry place.
- Always store pesticides in their original containers.
- Protect directions on the package by covering them with clear tape.
If an accidental exposure happens, wash the area and immediately call the poison center. Be prepared to verify important information such as the name, manufacturer, active ingredient and strength of chemical involved.
Many plants and trees native to Texas can be toxic if ingested. Poisonous plants are also commonly kept as house plants or used for landscaping. The most important step to avoiding dangerous exposures is to familiarize yourself with the plant life in and around your home. Take a sample of plants you are unsure of to a local nursery to be identified. Oleander, Philodendron, Dieffenbachia and Foxglove are some of the many plants that can be harmful when eaten. Consider decorating your home with these non-toxic flowers and shrubs instead: African violet, Fushias, Roses, Ficus and Spider plants. If an accidental exposure occurs or if you would like to receive a free plant guide, contact the poison center at 800-222-1222.