What happens if you or a member of your family is exposed to or poisoned by a pesticide?
Pesticide poisonings can occur through careless handling, through accidental ingestion, and by contact with treated surfaces, containers, and application equipment. Many accidents can be prevented by careful handling, storage, and selection of safer products. Never store or leave pesticides where children, uninformed adults, or pets can contact them. Never leave a sprayer unattended or allow others to enter a treated area until the sprayed area is safe to reenter according to the label instructions.
Follow these directions if an exposure occurs
- Follow the first aid recommendations on the label. Often quick action on the scene can do more to help a victim than can be done by waiting for emergency personnel to arrive. Remember, the first aid instructions are usually directed to the layman at the scene. Your response to these recommendations could save a life or prevent long-term injury. This is especially important when chemicals splash into the eyes—fast action to rinse out an eye during the first 15-20 minutes can prevent possible permanent damage. One word of caution—be careful to avoid exposure to yourself when handling a poisoned victim.
- Call your physician immediately. If your family physician is not available, the patient should be taken to the nearest physician or hospital emergency room along with the container of the poisoning agent (pesticide container with the intact label). Make sure you put the container in a plastic bag and warn all emergency personnel of the situation to protect them from possible exposure to the pesticide on the victim, the container, or at the site.
- If necessary, the physician will call the nearest poison control center for further information on the suspected poisoning agent, treatment, and prognosis.
- If you have questions specific to a possible poisoning, you can call a Poison Control Center for information. Please refer to the list below for Poison Control Centers and other emergency contacts.
Poison Information and Treatment Resources For Virginians
Regional Poison Control Centers
Provide 24-hour information and consultation services by poison information specialists and board-certified medical toxicologists. Located in hospitals equipped for all toxicologic (poison) emergencies.
Blue Ridge Poison Center
1222 Jefferson Park Ave.
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Virginia Poison Center
VCU Medical Center
Virginia Commonwealth University Health System
1250 East Marshall St.P.O. Box 980522
Richmond, VA 23298-0522
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
National Capital Poison Center
3201 New Mexico Ave.,
Washington, DC 20016
West Virginia Poison Center
Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center
3110 MacCorkle Ave.,
S.E.Charleston, WV 25304
Carolinas Poison Center
Carolinas Medical Center
P.O. Box 3286
14400 Golf Acres Dr.
Bldg. J, B-2
Charlotte, NC 28232-2861