Use pesticides safely
On this page
- Before buying a pesticide
- Use a registered product
- Using a pesticide
- Special considerations
- Storing pesticides
- Disposing of pesticides
- Accidental poisoning
- For more information
If you choose to use a pesticide in or around your home, you are responsible for using it safely.
These safety tips will help you use, store, and dispose of pesticides properly, so that you reduce the risks to people and the environment.
Never try to make homemade pesticides since this can lead to risks to your health and safety, and the environment.
Before buying a pesticide
- Identify the pest correctly
- Use physical control methods first, such as hand weeding or traps
- Read the Pest control tips for help in dealing with common lawn and garden pests
- Read the how to have a healthy lawn page to learn how to make your lawn more resistant to common problems
- Check with your city or province. Some have restrictions on the sale and use of certain registered lawn and garden pesticides
- Consider hiring a professional such as a licensed pest control operator or exterminator
Use a registered product
Do not purchase a pesticide online unless it is a registered product from a Canadian retailer, and you are authorized to use it. Pesticides from foreign vendors may not be authorized for use in Canada, and may not be safe to use.
- Use only a pesticide authorized for use in Canada
- Read the label directions and safety tips before buying a pesticide. The label must include
- the name of the pest to be controlled
- the treatment location (for example, indoor, outdoor, garden use, pet treatment)
- a Pest Control Product registration number on the product label, such as:
- Reg. No. 00000 P.C.P. Act
- Registration No. 00000 Pest Control Products Act
- Buy only the amount of product needed for the treatment
- Do not buy a pesticide if the packaging appears damaged or seems to have been tampered with. Instead, report it to the vendor.
Using a pesticide
- Carefully read all label instructions and warnings before using pesticides.
- People and pets should leave the area during a pesticide treatment, especially children, pregnant women and elderly people. Only allow people and animals back into the treated area after the pesticide has fully dried.
- Use a pesticide only for the purpose stated on the label. For example, do not use pesticides that are intended for outdoor use inside your home, and never mix different pesticides together unless the label tells you to.
- drink, eat, or smoke while applying pesticides
- rub your eyes or touch your mouth while working with pesticides
- apply a pesticide directly on a person, an animal, or to bedding unless the label says you can, for example personal insect repellents, and flea or tick pet protection products
Using a flea or tick control product:
- Choose a product intended for use on the animal you wish to treat. For example, you cannot use dog products on cats unless it is stated on the label.
- Follow the instructions on the label to know how much of the product to give your pet and how often to treat your pet. If not used properly, these products can make your pet sick.
After using a pesticide:
- Wash your hands and face with hot soapy water.
- Thoroughly wash clothes worn to apply pesticides, separate from regular laundry.
Using a pesticide indoors
- Cover or remove items from the area to be treated such as:
- food, dishes, and utensils
- aquariums and pet food dishes
- Provide air flow (open your doors and windows for a few hours)
- After the pesticide has dried, use hot soapy water to wash all surfaces that normally come in direct contact with food like counters, tables, and stove tops.
Using a pesticide outdoors
- Only apply pesticides at the rate stated on the label. A lower rate may not control the pest at all. A higher rate may damage plants, kill beneficial insects, or leave unwanted residues on plants.
- Always check your local weather forecast for up-to-date temperature, wind, and rain BEFORE you spray pesticides outdoors.
- DO NOT spray a pesticide outdoors if:
- wind speed is more than 8 kph (5 mph)
- air temperature is above 30°C (86°F)
- it is raining
- Follow the instructions on the label for equipment requirements, or other precautions. This may include wearing protective clothing such as: gloves, long-sleeves, an apron or coveralls.
- Remember to keep sleeves outside gloves, and pants outside boots to prevent the pesticide from getting inside.
- When using a pesticide to control garden pests, wait the amount of time as directed on the product label before harvesting your crop.
- People should stay out of the treated area for a minimum of 12 hours after the pesticide has been applied, unless a longer time is specified on the label.
- Pregnant women may be more sensitive to the strong smell of some pesticides. Odour from some insecticides or herbicides may be caused by trace amounts of ingredients like sulphur-based compounds and solvents. Although somewhat unpleasant, these odours are harmless.
- Check the label for specific storage instructions, including expiry dates.
- Always store pesticides:
- out of reach of children and pets
- away from food and drinks
- in their original container
- Never reuse an empty pesticide container
- Keep pesticides away from extreme heat, cold or humidity
Disposing of pesticides
- Never burn or pour pesticides down the drain.
- Follow the product label instructions for how to safely dispose of pesticides.
- Return extra unopened containers to the supplier.
- For partially used pesticides, contact city or town officials for information on how to dispose of household hazardous waste.
- Call a poison control centre right away and get medical help.
- Take the pesticide label or container with you to the emergency room or doctor.
- Follow the first aid statements on the label.
- In case of accidental poisoning of pets, get veterinary help right away.
Report a problem
- Report problems with pesticides to the manufacturer listed on the label. They must report them to Health Canada. Damaged or defective packaging should also be reported.
- You can also report problems to Health Canada. Have the label information for the specific product you used available when you call or write.
For more information
- Are pesticides safe?
- Using pesticides on your lawn
- Keep your family safe when using pesticides
- Keep your pets safe when using pesticides
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