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Pesticides most commonly affect the systems in the body that control nerves and muscles (the central nervous system, or CNS). General symptoms of short-term exposures (poisonings) are listed below.
|General Symptoms that Might Indicate Pesticide Poisoning|
|Mild Poisoning||Moderate Poisoning||Severe Poisoning|
|Any of the following: ||Any of the mild symptoms, plus any of the following: ||Any of the mild or moderate symptoms, plus any of the following: |
NOTE: The term "pesticide" describes a very large and diverse group of chemicals or products. It is very important to always get specific information about the exact product you are using.
For more information, other OSH Answers documents in this series include:
Immediate treatment can make a difference in a person’s recovery. Knowing the signs and symptoms of pesticide exposure is very important. It is important that employees learn to recognize these symptoms -- so they can recognize a potential overexposure in themselves or in a co-worker.
Proper planning and training is very important. First aid training should include specific information about the pesticides used at your workplace.
Some of the symptoms listed above may not be easy to distinguish from other illnesses. If in doubt, call your doctor, hospital, or local poison control centre.
Consult the Safety Data Sheet or technical information sheet for the pesticide that you intend to use BEFORE using the product. Some pesticides have antidotes. If you are using a pesticide that has an antidote, make sure that your local hospital or health care facility keeps a supply of the antidote and is knowledgeable in its use. You can get additional advice from the manufacturer/supplier and/or a doctor familiar with the pesticide and your workplace, if necessary.
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Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.