Pesticide Use, Storage and Disposal Tips

Spring has officially arrived and slowly gardens and parks are greening up with buds and bulbs preparing to bloom.  Homeowners are preparing to take the necessary steps to protect their lawn and plants from pests, controls weeds or keep water in spas and pools crystal clean.  And whether using synthetic or natural ingredients, keeping pesticides safely away from children, pets, pregnant women and elderly people is import to protect their health.  Older adults, especially seniors with dementia, can confuse pesticides with other household products if not stored in the original container and kept under lock and key.

If you were to look in the shed or garage of the homes of many older adults, you would be fairly likely to find pesticides that are not stored correctly in their original container and away from extreme heat, cold or humidity.   Expiry dates are sometimes decades old and because most people aren’t sure how to dispose properly of pesticides, they accumulate and pose a danger to young children, pets and elderly adults.  

Spring is often a time when municipalities will hold household hazardous waste disposal days where items like pesticides can be dropped off for safe disposal.  Check with your local city, town or other municipal website for details.  In Canada, check the Government of Canada website for full information about the regulations concerning home and garden pest control and tips for using, storing and disposing of pesticides.  

In the wake of new research linking pesticide use in the weed killer Roundup with an increased risk for developing some cancers, more people are opting to use natural alternatives to pesticides to keep lawns free of weeds.  In Ontario for example, Class 7 pesticides cannot be used to control weed in lawns, gardens, patios or driveways but controlled sales of these products may be used to kill poisonous or stinging pests, pests like termites that can cause structural damage or rodents that carry disease.  Learn more about natural ways to manage pests at home and in the garden by following this link to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.  It is not recommended that homeowners make or store homemade pesticides which can create harmful fumes, irritate skin and eyes and be a risk for poisoning due to unclear labelling and storage.  Use a registered pesticide, even if it is a natural product. 

If accidental pesticide poisoning is suspected, contact a poison control center or doctor immediately.  Follow the first aid instructions on the label and bring the pesticide container or label with you to the emergency room or doctor’s office.  In the case of pets, contact a veterinarian immediately.