Every year people end up in hospital due to self-poisoning from weed killer use. By following some simple safety precautions, you can safely eliminate your weeds without attempting to eliminate yourself in the process.
Is it a Good Spray Day?
Never spray in windy conditions, even a slight breeze can carry the spray to areas you don’t want to kill off. It can also cause the spray to drift back onto you and cause you to inhale or come into skin contact with the spray.
When All Else Fails Read the Instructions.
When spraying with any toxic substance always read the directions on the container. These directions are there for your safety and will include first aid instructions that may save your life.
Before spraying, there is a little preparation that needs to be done.
Check your equipment thoroughly for leaking hoses or connections. This is one of the easiest ways to become covered in spray, or worse have it unintentionally kill plants you did not want to kill.
Dressing the Part.
Always wear protective clothing; spray drift can cover bare skin or clothing very easily. If your clothing becomes spray dampened, it holds the toxin near your skin allowing greater absorption. Wet weather gear with a hood is ideal. Wear gumboots as these are made of rubber and easily washed down after you have finished.
Check the filters on any breathing apparatus that you may use to see if they need cleaning or replacing.
When it comes to mixing your herbicide, do so according to the directions on the container. Adding extra will not improve the kill rate, or kill the weeds any faster, and is a waste of herbicide and money.
A common practice is to use kitchen utensils to mix herbicides. Don’t do it as residues can remain on the utensils and cause poisoning. Always have utensils that are for spray mixing and nothing else.
Another common dangerous practice is storing herbicides, and other sprays, in soft drink bottles. Children can easily mistake what is in the drink bottles for something to drink, or you may forget what is in the bottle and mistakenly use the wrong spray. It would be a grave mistake to use a herbicide on your prize roses instead of a fungicide.
While mixing add a few drops of detergent to the herbicide, it will act as a wetting agent allowing the herbicide to penetrate the plant a lot better.
If there is any spillages during the mixing process flush the area with copious amounts of water.
Before Entering the Killing Fields
Before you commence spraying there are still a few things you need to do.
Ensure children and pets are inside or out of the way when you are spraying with herbicides. These chemicals are not only harmful to you but also anyone who may encounter them as well. Children and pets have a natural curiosity when it comes to things like spraying make sure they are out of harms way.
Before you commence spraying always tell someone what spray you are using, where the container is, and what first aid may be necessary should something go wrong. By doing this, if anything should occur and you become incapacitated there will at least be someone who knows what herbicide may be involved and can seek help for you.
Now To Start Spraying
Once you begin spraying keep your mind on the job. A moments carelessness or distraction and you could end up spraying areas you didn’t want to.
If at anytime during the spraying you start to feel unwell, develop a headache or tingling in the lips or extremities, stop immediately and advise someone. You may be showing the first signs of poisoning.
If you are poisoned, make sure someone takes the spray container along to the hospital with you; this will aid the medical staff in successfully identifying what chemical you are poisoned with and how to treat you.
Once you finish spraying, wash, and rinse out all spraying equipment using mild soapy water. Hose down your protective clothing and boots. Do this in an area where any washed off spray residue is not going to do any harm.
All Finished – Time for a Cuppa – NOT YET.
Do not eat, drink, or smoke during the spraying operation until after you have cleaned up and showered.
Once your equipment is clean have a hot shower using plenty of soap and water to remove any residue and put on clean clothes.
Now you can relax, have a cuppa, and admire your handiwork, knowing you have done it safely and properly.
The whole process may seem like a lot of work and bother just to kill a few weeds. However, the time taken to think about safety could save you a long stay in hospital or worse still the loss of your life.
Think safe, spray safe and you will spend many hours enjoying the fruits of your labours.