Pesticides are substances we use to control or kill pests. Pests can be weeds, insects, rodents, or bacteria — anything we don’t want to have around.
Sometimes pesticides work too well. They may not only harm the intended pest but also other plants, animals, and people. Sometimes they end up in places we don’t want them to be — for example, in our air, water, and food.
People can be exposed to (come in contact with) pesticides by touching, swallowing, or inhaling (breathing) them.
Symptoms of pesticide exposure can vary depending on:
Exposure to pesticides can cause a range of health issues, including:
Some content courtesy of the National Library of Medicine.
Pesticides may be particularly harmful to young children. Repeated exposure to some pesticides over time can cause cancer. In serious cases, exposure to pesticides can even cause death.
If you’re worried your health has been affected by pesticides, talk with your doctor at your next checkup. If you think someone has been poisoned by pesticides, call the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222 right away.