Pesticide Safety

Pesticides have become essential to modern agriculture, making safe handling just as important.  Whether you are using pesticides for commercial or residential purposes it’s crucial that you check the pesticide label and follow the instructions correctly to prevent harmful exposure.  Pesticides exposure can have short and long-term effects for you and even your loved ones if they aren’t handled appropriately.  Check out this classic pesticide safety video that shows how easily cross contamination can take place.


NC Pesticide Safety Education Program

he NC State Pesticide Safety Education program offers many educational resources for pesticide applicators, including pesticide manuals, safety schools and other training opportunities that take place at local Extension offices across the state.  A major focus of the program is educating prospective pesticide applicators by partnering with the NCDA&CS to offer certification classes in addition to programs for licensed applicators to earn recertification credits.  Do you need a pesticide license? Click here to find out. Or visit the Pesticide Safety Education Program’s online Extension portal for more pesticide safety resources, safety school dates, or to learn who your local pesticide safety education coordinator is.


Prevent exposure by storing pesticides in the original container with the label fully intact. Storage areas should be locked and inaccessible to unauthorized handlers, especially children. Store Safety Data Sheets so that they are accessible during an emergency and update these sheets as formulations change.


If you suspect someone has been exposed to a pesticide consult the First Aid section of the pesticide label or Safety Data Sheet.  If these are unavailable, contact the Poison Control Hotline immediately while seeking medical attention. The Poison Control Hotline’s number is 1-800-222-1222. If this occurs at work, report the exposure to your supervisor.  Learn more about Poison Control by visiting their website. 


Mild Pesticide Exposure Signs and Symptoms Moderate Pesticide Exposure Signs and Symptoms Severe Pesticide Exposure Signs and Symptoms
  • eye irritation
  • nose and throat pain
  • skin rash
  • headache 
  • dizziness
  • diarrhea
  • muscle aches or cramps
  • exhaustion
  • nausea
  • excessive saliva or drooling
  • breathing difficulties
  •  blurred vision
  • pinpoint pupils
  • trembling or lack of muscle control
  • violent convulsions or seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • death


Hazards to Children

Children may be more susceptible to the effects of pesticide exposure than adults because their bodies and internal organs are still developing.


Hazards to Pregnant Women

Pregnant women are also susceptible to the effects of pesticide exposure. Exposure to some pesticides can be extremely hazardous and may result in miscarriage or birth defects


Pesticide Safety Apps Available for Smart Devices

Pesticide and Field Records  Get it on Google Play

Pesticide and Field Records (Android) Tutorial

Pesticide and Field Records II  Apple App Store Image

Pesticide and Field Records II (iOS) Tutorial


Pesticide Safety Posters


Other Pesticide Safety Resources