Before you work with pesticides, read the precautionary statements on the chemical label and review this checklist to make sure you have the right kind of protective clothing. Careful attention to the clothes you wear can minimize pesticide exposure.
Do you have the right gloves? Chemically resistant gloves may be made of neoprene, butyl rubber, or nitrile polymers in various thicknesses. Thicker gloves offer more protection, but give less manual dexterity. Gloves must resist the chemical in use, fit well, and extend over the wrist halfway to the elbow. Cotton and leather gloves are not recommended for pesticide use or application, although they may help to keep hands warm or provide a good grip for other tasks.
Do you need coveralls? Cotton coveralls help reduce the amount of pesticide that gets on your regular work clothing, underclothing, and your skin. Other coveralls, such as those made of Tyvek (regular, polyethylene-coated, or Saranex-23P) or Comfort-Gard II, offer better resistance to penetration of liquid sprays.
After contamination, disposable coveralls should be discarded as hazardous waste in the same way as pesticide containers or bags. You could cut up the coveralls to be sure no one else picks them up to wear by mistake.
Do you need an apron? A chemically resistant apron worn during mixing and loading will help prevent full-strength concentrate spills from getting on your clothes and your body. Clean aprons regularly by agitating them in a bucket of hot soapy water. Hang rubberized clothing to air dry; never place in an automatic dryer.
Do you need a respirator? This will be specified on the label. Use respirators with appropriate filters to screen out pesticides and dust. Respirators must fit tightly to your face and not leak, so a beard or mustache would have to be shaved. Clean respirators after every use and replace filters regularly for safety.
Do you have goggles? Goggles can help protect your eyes from chemical splashes, sprays and dust. If you wear glasses, get goggles that can fit over them. Usually the goggles that wrap around to the side of your face offer the best protection. Some styles are vented to prevent fogging. Select a style that feels comfortable and fits tightly over your face.
Do you have everything you need? Check your local hardware, discount, or chemical supply store. Your local Extension office also keeps a list of catalog sources to order protective clothing by mail.
For more information about protective clothing, contact the County Extension office at, or call the ISU Home Economics Answerline at 1-800-262-3804.
This news release was distributed by Iowa State University Extension as part of the Safe Farm program. Safe Farm promotes health and safety in agriculture. It is funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Iowa State University, and a network of groups that serve Iowa farm workers and their families. Distribution date: June 1992.
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More