In the past three months we have been hearing a lot about the importance and proper wearing of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). This has been an essential part of prohibiting the transmission of the COVID 19 virus in the health field and among the public.
The farming community has been advocating for the wearing of the proper protective equipment when applying chemicals to their crops and fruit trees for many years. Fruit trees need to be sprayed to avoid the infestation of scabs and worms. Fields are sprayed to avoid the growth of weeds as well as some fungus in wheat fields. If you have ever had to hoe your garden to eliminate pesky weeds from taking over your vegetables, you can imagine the importance of applying chemicals to hundreds of acres of corn, soybeans or other field crops.
In order to apply chemicals, a farmer must take a pesticide training course offered by the Ministry of Agriculture every few years. Along with proper application procedures an operator must learn about the use of protective equipment as well as what type of chemical to use and the safe way to store it.
Chemicals need to be stored in a dry, locked container that is properly marked. It needs to be safe from children, rodents or vandals getting into it and doing damage.
Chemicals are not only found in the barn, milk house or garage, but also in the house under the kitchen sink or in the bathroom! These items are much more accessible to children but are just as dangerous. Cleaners, disinfectants, medicine, bleach and laundry detergent also need to be put away safely where little inquisitive hands can’t reach them.
Proper PPEs need to be used in household cleaning as well. Rubber gloves are important for corrosive cleaners and proper ventilation when working in a confined space like the shower stall.
NEVER store leftover chemicals in unmarked, unidentifiable containers! A bottle of blue liquid could be window cleaner, antifreeze or a beverage! Can you tell the difference between varsol, vinegar and water just by looking at the bottle it is in? Or what about gasoline and apple juice? A child may not know and after the first swallow the damage has been done.
Chemicals have been developed, and are constantly being improved upon, with a certain purpose in mind. The safe use and application has benefited society greatly, whether at home or on the farm. Take care when using them, read the labels and store them safely to avoid any tragic consequences.