Pesticides have a significant impact on our lives – improving food supply quality, controlling pests in the home, protecting public health and more.
However, these chemical tools must be used with care. To bring light to the safe use of pesticides, the National Stakeholder Team for Pesticide Safety Education Program Funding has recognized February as National Pesticide Safety Education Month.
“The purpose of this month-long observation is to reinforce core principles of safe pesticide use with various audiences and raise awareness of support for the land-grant university Pesticide Safety Education Programs,” said Kevin Shelton, Oklahoma State University Extension associate specialist and coordinator of OSU’s Pesticide Safety Education Program.
“Some people think pesticides are used only in agriculture, but if you use insect repellent, ant bait, weed and feed lawn products, pet flea collars or even disinfectant wipe, you’re using a pesticide. Because they are so common, proper use is essential,” he said.
There’s a growing need for education on pesticides and proper use, especially with newer technologies. For example, users might not think about weather effects on a breezy, sunny day when they’re treating the lawn for weeds: Wind drift can harm surrounding plants. The same is true of rain runoff.
A month dedicated to public education reinforces the need for caution heading into spring. Shelton said following pesticide labels and related regulations cannot be stressed enough.