Unit 6 Harmful Effects and Emergency Response

Content

  • Exposure
  • Toxicity
  • Harmful Effects
  • Signs and Symptoms of Harmful Effects
  • Responding to a Poisoning Emergency
  • Heat Stress

Learning Objectives Unit 6 Harmful Effects and Emergency Response

After you complete your study of this unit, you should be able to:

  • Explain the concepts of hazard, exposure, and toxicity, and how they relate to one another.
  • List the four routes by which your body can be exposed to pesticides, and name the route that should be of most concern to you.
  • List three factors that determine how quickly pesticides will be absorbed through your skin.
  • Explain the three main types of harmful effects that pesticides can cause in humans.
  • Describe how to avoid harmful effects from pesticides.
  • Describe some general signs and symptoms of pesticide poisoning and of pesticide irritation effects.
  • Describe appropriate first aid for pesticide exposures.
  • Define "heat stress" and describe some signs and symptoms of heat stress.
  • Describe appropriate first aid for heat stress.

Test Your Knowledge Unit 6 Harmful Effects and Emergency Response

Q. Explain the terms hazard, toxicity, and exposure, and tell how they relate to one another.
A. Hazard is the risk of harmful effects from pesticides. Toxicity is a measure of the ability of a pesticide to cause harmful effects. Exposure is the total amount of pesticide that gets on or in the body.
HAZARD = TOXICITY x EXPOSURE.

Q. What are the four routes through which pesticides can contact your body and cause you to be exposed?
A. The four routes of exposure are:

  1. Oral exposure (when you swallow a pesticide),
  2. Inhalation exposure (when you inhale a pesticide),
  3. Ocular exposure (when you get a pesticide in your eyes), and
  4. Dermal exposure (when you get a pesticide on your skin).

Q. Which route of exposure should you, as a pesticide handler, be most concerned about?
A. Exposure to the skin is the most common route of exposure for pesticide handlers.

Q. What three factors determine how much pesticide will be absorbed through your skin and into your body?
A. The amount of pesticide that is absorbed through your skin (and eyes) and into your body depends on:

  1. The pesticide itself and the material used to dilute the pesticide.
  2. Which area of the body is exposed.
  3. The condition of the skin that is exposed.

Q. Explain acute effects, delayed effects, and allergic effects.
A. Acute effects are illnesses or injuries that may appear immediately after exposure to a pesticide (usually within 24 hours). Delayed effects are illnesses or injuries that do not appear immediately (within 24 hours) after exposure to a pesticide or combination of pesticides. Allergic effects are harmful effects that some people develop in reaction to pesticides that do not cause the same reaction in most other people.

Q. How can you avoid harmful effects from pesticides?
A. Avoiding and reducing exposures to pesticides will reduce the harmful effects from pesticides. You can avoid exposures by using safety systems, such as closed systems and enclosed cabs, and you can reduce exposures by wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, washing exposed areas often, and keeping your personal protective equipment clean and in good operating condition.

Q. Name four signs or symptoms of pesticide poisoning and two signs or symptoms of irritation effects from pesticides.
A. Pesticide poisoning may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or stomach cramps; headache, dizziness, weakness, and/or confusion; excessive sweating, chills, and/or thirst; chest pains; difficult breathing; cramps in your muscles or aches all over your body.
External irritants may cause redness, blisters, rash, and/or burns on skin, and swelling, a stinging sensation, and/or burns in eyes, nose, mouth, and throat.

Q. What is the first thing you should do when you or someone else is overexposed to pesticides?
A. The best first aid in pesticide emergencies is to stop the source of pesticide exposure as quickly as possible. If pesticide is on the skin or in the eyes, flood with water; if the pesticide has been swallowed, drink large amounts of water; if the pesticide has been inhaled, get to fresh air.

Q. What is heat stress?
A. Heat stress is the illness that occurs when your body is subjected to more heat than it can cope with.

Q. What are some common signs and symptoms of heat stress?
A. Heat stress may cause fatigue (exhaustion, muscle weakness); headache, nausea, and chills; dizziness and fainting; severe thirst and dry mouth; clammy skin or hot, dry skin; heavy sweating or complete lack of sweating; altered behavior (confusion, slurred speech, and quarrelsome or irrational behavior).

Q. If you are not sure whether a person is suffering from heat stress or pesticide poisoning, what should you do?
A. Because so many signs and symptoms could be from either heat stress or pesticide poisoning, do not waste time trying to diagnose the problem - get medical help. In the meantime, get the person to a cooler place that is away from pesticides. Remove personal protective equipment or other clothing that could be contaminating the skin or making the person too warm, use water to clean and cool the skin, and give the person plenty of water to drink.

Additional Resources
Clemson University websites:

  1. Regulatory Services Clemson University Department of Pesticide Regulation
  2. Extension Pesticide Information Program