2018 Crop Protection Guide for Tree Fruits in Washington

Pesticide Safety

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Symptoms of Pesticide Poisoning

Organophosphate pesticides. The first sign of poisoning is one or more of the following symptoms: giddiness, headache, nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating, tightness of the chest. These symptoms may be followed or accompanied by blurring of vision, diarrhea, excessive salivation, watering of the eyes, twitching of eyelids and other muscles, and mental confusion. One of the most typical signs is narrowing of the pupils, after an initial widening. Late signs are fluid in the chest, convulsions, unconsciousness, loss of urinary or bowel control, and respiratory failure. Symptoms start within 12 hours of the last exposure to the pesticide.

N-methyl carbamate pesticides. Cause symptoms similar to organophosphate poisoning.

Organochlorine pesticides. Poisoning causes hyperexcitability, tremors, and convulsions. General symptoms, which may also indicate other illnesses, include malaise, headache, fatigue, lack of appetite, and weight loss. Symptoms start as soon as 30 minutes after massive exposure, but generally develop more slowly. Maximum symptoms usually occur within a few hours after heavy exposure.

Synthetic pyrethroid pesticides. Contact with skin may result in irritation, such as stinging, burning, itching, and tingling.

Other: There are many new classes of pesticides. Read the pesticide product label and Safety Data Sheet for specific hazards, symptoms, and first aid.

What To Do for Poisoning

  1. If a person is not breathing, call 911 or ambulance, then give artificial respiration by mouth-to-mouth, if possible.
  2. Call a poison control center (1-800-222-1222) or doctor for further treatment advice.  If you know which pesticide may be involved, provide this information to the doctor.
  3. Decontamination is extremely important. If the pesticide has come in contact with skin or clothing, immediately remove contaminated clothing and rinse skin immediately with plenty of water for 15-20 minutes. Those who give first aid should avoid direct contact with contaminated clothing and body areas.
  4. If in eyes, hold eyes open and rinse slowly and gently with water for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Do not give anything by mouth to an unconscious person.
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