HEBY SANITARIAN M.A. SOMOYE
A PAPER PRESENTED AT THEMATIC TRAINING ON PEST MANAGEMENT CONTROL HELD AT FILBON HOTEL, UPPER CHIME AVENUE ENUGU ON 6TH SEPTEMBER, 2012.
Several causes of overt poisoning by pesticides occur in workers applying these agents of disinfestation. Therefore, the importance of safe handling of insecticides cannot be over emphasized.
It must also be a way of life for spray men and persons applying insecticidal dusts, whether the materials used are highly toxic, moderate, or slightly toxic to human. Absence of accurate data in the country disenables to get the number of death recorded from accidental ingestion of solid and liquid toxic substances. We have observed a case whereby a spray man collapsed and die ignorantly for unknowingly habouring a particle of zinc phosphide under the finger nail which was not properly washed before going to observe prayers. He died putting water into his mouth containing the agent.
Respiratory exposure is most frequent among persons that handle dusts, which are not readily absorbed through the skin. Dermal exposure becomes much more hazardous when sprays are applied. The solvents such as organophosphorus used with many spray destroy the protective oily barrier of the skin and allow more intimate contact with the chemical toxicant.
Poisoning by ingestion is most critical among children under five years of age when pesticides are put especially in mineral bottles and kept in accessible places, such as the kitchen pantry, or sink cabinet.
Pest control services must be handled by a professional, who have been trained and licensed to handle such onerous task. A basic principle in choosing an insecticide for public health operations is to select a product that is moderately or slightly toxic to humans, and to observe meticulously the operational precautions that would be required with a more toxic material.
HOW DO ACCIDENTAL PESTICIDE POISONING OCCUR?
1. By Mouth –
- Dusts and sprays entering mouth during applications
- Drinking pesticides from unlabelled or contaminated container
- Using the mouth to start siphonage of liquid concentrates
- Eating contaminated food
- Transfer of chemical to mouth from contaminated cuffs or hands.
- Drinking from contaminated beverage container
- Answering or calling from phones while on operation of pest control services.
- Shaking hands with people while on duty
- Usage of hand to clean/rub the nose / mouth while on duty.
2. THROUGH THE SKIN
- Accidental spills on clothing or skin.
- Dusts and sprays setting on skin during application spraying in wind.
- Spraying in wind.
- Splash or spray in eyes and on skin during pouring and mixing
- Contact with treated surfaces as in too early Re-entry of treated fields, Hand Harvesting, Thinning, Cultivating, and Insect or pest scouting.
- Children playing – in discarded containers
- in pesticide mixing or spill areas.
- Maintenance – Repair work on contaminated equipment.
3. BY BREATHING
- Dust, mists, or fumes
- Smoking during application or contaminated smoking supplies
- Do not inhale concentrations which are immediately dangerous to life and health, are unknown or when concentration exceeds 10 times the permissible exposure limit (PEL).
- Failure to use mask containing respirator during all times of exposure may result in sickness or death.
- The air borne contaminants which can be dangerous to your health include those so small that you cannot see them.
- Leave the contaminated area immediately and contact your supervisor if you smell or taste contaminants or if dizziness, irritation, or other distress occurs.
WHAT TO DO
(a) Follow the instructions issued by the manufacturers and/or regulations issued by the authorities.
(b) Do not leave product unattended in the field while you are spraying.
(c) Always keep a bucket with clean water in the working area.
(d) Store insecticides in containers with the original labels. Keep the insecticide out of reach of children and animals, preferably in a locked box with a sign posted such as “DANGEROUS – CHEMICALS – KEEP AWAY”
(e) Mix insecticides in a well-ventilated area, preferably out of doors to avoid or minimize inhalation of dusts and fumes.
(f) When mixing and applying flammable chemicals, avoid the fire hazard associated with tobacco smoking, defective wiring, open flames and hot plates
(g) Do not eat or smoke when working with insecticides. This will reduce opportunities for accidental ingestion of toxic materials.
(h) Mix only as much insecticide as is needed for each application, thus reducing the problems of storing and disposing of excess insecticide. Dispose of excess insecticide carefully so that contamination will not affect man and wildlife.
(a) Do not contaminate any water sources
(b) Prevent livestock grazing or feeding on fresh sprayed plants
(c) Do not collect any food or feed from freshly sprayed areas.
STORAGE OF PRODUCTS:- Use only original well-labelled containers.
- Store products away from the sun and humidity in a place which must be locked. Key assigned only to authorized individuals.
- Do not smoke in the chemical store room.
- Adequate ventilation is essential and a washable floor desirable.
- Product should be dated upon receipt.
PRODUCT AND CONTANER DISPOSAL:
- Any left over product is to be poured back into its original container. Use a funnel and wear gloves.
- Empty containers completely, Emptied metal container are to be flattened, perforated and disposed of in a land fill approved for pesticides or buried in a safe place away from water supplies. Dispose of plastic containers in an incinerator of land fill. Treat steel drums with kerosene, diesel oil or solvent: rinse well. Ask the dealer about recycling: otherwise crush and bury.
- Do not re-use empty containers for any other purpose
- Avoid exposure to spray
- Do not carry cigarettes or edibles in your pocket while handling or spraying pesticides – contamination danger
- Refrain from drinking, eating or smoking when handling pesticides.
- Wash face and hands with soap and clean water before drinking or eating
- Wash hands before going to the toilet.
- Avoid spillage of spray liquid on any part of the body
- Take off immediately any clothes contaminated with chemicals.
- Wash exposed parts of the body with soap and plenty of clean water
- Stand up – wind when handling or spraying pesticides.
- After work, thoroughly wash or take a shower, use soap, change into clean clothing.
- Do not call or receive from G. S. M phone while handling or spraying pesticides.
- Minimize or talk less while handling or spraying pesticide.
- Ensure that finger nails are well cut so as not to retain any dirt /dust while handling pesticides especially zinc phosphide.
- Wear appropriate protection when refilling the spray tank and during product application.
- During preparation of spray mixture.
You must wear Overall, Rubber boots, Rubber gloves, Face shield or half –face respirator + goggels
- Put on Head protection
- The spray operator must equally put on Overall, Rubber boots, Rubber gloves, Half-face respirator and Head protection
- Respirator with filter must be replaced after about 8 hrs wear during application.
- Keep trouser – legs outside the boots in order to avoid drainage of pesticides into the boots.
- Wear long sleeves over the gloves in order to avoid drainage of pesticides into the glove.
- Wash gloves with water and detergent before removing
- Do not use cotton or leather gloves. These are more hazards than no protection. They absorb pesticides.
- Change into clean clothes after finishing spraying each day.
- Wash protective clothing daily with hot water and use detergent (soap)
- Wash protective clothes separately from family or personal clothes.
- Defective clothing provides inadequate protection, discard and replace defective clothing.
WHAT TO DO IF BREATHING CEASES
- Move the patient well away from any contaminated areas and from the vicinity of pesticides
- Wash exposed parts of the body with plenty of fresh clean water and soap. Put on clean clothing
- Put patient on his side; tilt the head back.
- Call a doctor as quickly as possible, but do not abandon false objects from the mouth (chewing gun, false teeth etc).
- Artificial respiration should take precedence over all other first aid measures if breathing ceases. Do not waste time.
- For an Adult:
(1) Open your mouth wide and take a deep breath
(2) Pinch the casualty’s nostrils together with your fingers to prevent air from escaping.
(3) Seal your lips round his mouth
(4) Blow into his lungs until the chest rises
(5) Then remove your mouth, and watch the chest fall
(6) Repeat and continue inflations at your natural rates of breathing.
(1) Ensure that the patient can breathe adequately. If necessary pull the tongue forward to prevent it blocking the throat
(2) Do not give anything by mouth to an unconscious person
(3) Keep the patient warm and dry
PESTICIDE IS SPLASHED IN THE EYE
Wash the eye with clean water immediately. Speed is essential to prevent injury to the eye. Use large amounts of clean water to gently irrigate the eye for at least 15 mins. In addition, boracic acid solution may be beneficial.
PESTICIDE IS SPILLED ON THE SKIN
(1) Remove all contaminated clothing. Cover the patient with a clean blanket.
(2) Wash the skin thoroughly with plenty of soap and water immediately and repeat again
(3) Clean under finger and toe nails, and clean the hair.
(4) In addition wash contaminated skin with rubbing alcohol to remove any remaining pesticide.
(5) Put on complete clean clothing
(6) Decontaminate protective clothing with hot water and soap. Wash cap/hat, gloves and boots (both inside and outside).