Hundreds of people get sick each year from inappropriate pesticide use. Pesticides are used in homes, workplaces, apartments, farms and other places where humans need to control pests such as weeds, insects, fungi, rodents and even viruses. Of the 11 states participating in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) pesticide safety program, workers reported 853 serious injuries from pesticides in 2011. During National Pesticide Safety Education Month this February, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension personnel are urging homeowners, and all Georgians, to learn more about the safe use, storage and disposal of pesticides.
According to Dr. Mickey Taylor, UGA Extension Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) Coordinator, “pesticide safety education is key to helping homeowners and pesticide applicators, both commercial and agricultural, safely and effectively use available pesticides to protect their homes and crops and livelihoods. At the same time, they want to protect themselves, their employees and colleagues from any potential ill effects of pesticide use in addition to protecting their families and neighbors. As good stewards of the land, pesticide users want to preserve our environment for the future.”
UGA Extension’s PSEP promotes the safe, responsible use of pesticides by individuals and commercial groups by providing training programs, materials and educational resources covering pest identification, personal safety, safe storage and disposal of pesticides, environmental protection, pesticide drift and runoff prevention, threatened and endangered species protection, water quality protection, and food safety.
One way that UGA Extension reinforces safe pesticide usage is to conduct workshops, meetings, and trainings in which pesticide usage and safe handling is taught. One such course coming up is the North Georgia Commercial Apple Production meeting. It will be held on Wednesday, February 21st at the Gilmer County Public Library on Calvin Jackson Drive in Ellijay. There are other regional trainings held for producers. If you would like information about those trainings, contact me in the Gilmer County UGA Extension office.
Dr. Taylor is also the editor of the UGA Extension “Georgia Pest Management Handbook.” The handbook is revised and published annually. It has information about labeled pesticides that can be used by homeowners and commercial producers. Copies of the handbook are available for purchase through the UGA market place at ugaextensionstore.com and there are copies in the UGA Extension county offices if you would like to view one before purchase. Remember to always read the label before you use or store any pesticide.
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