Pesticides & Health

Pesticides can be dangerous if they get in or on the body. How dangerous depends on the type of pesticide, the amount, and how long the pesticide is in or on the body. You can't always see or smell a pesticide.


If a pesticide gets on the skin or in eyes, or someone breathes in a pesticide, these are the signs to look out for:

  • Runny nose or drooling
  • Trouble breathing or pain in the chest
  • Diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps, pain or twitching in the legs or arms
  • Rashes, bumps, blisters, burning or itchy, red skin, sweating too much.
  • Headaches, trouble seeing, small pupils
  • Damage fingernails, numb and tingling fingers
  • Feeling confused, weak or nervous, having trouble concentrating or sleeping

If someone has been exposed to a pesticide it is important to:

  • Read the pesticide labels for any first aid information
  • If the pesticide is on your clothes, take off clothing and wash the exposed skin or eyes with clean water
  • Go to a doctor or clinic for care
  • Call the free 24-hour poison control line for help in any language
  • If it happens at work tell a supervisor right away, they must help you get medical attention

If you see anyone with these very serious symptoms call 911 right away

  • Being unconscious
  • Loosing control over bladder and bowels (going to the bathroom without control)
  • Blue lips and fingernails
  • Shaking



Workers walking to the field

You can't see or smell pesticides

Worker next to danger sign

Watch out for posted signs and never go into an area that has just been sprayed