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Pesticide Worker Safety

In Case of Pesticide Poisoning

Time is critical with any pesticide poisoning! Get immediate help from a:

  • local hospital; 
  • physician; or
  • poison control center (800-222-1222).

If you believe you have been poisoned or injured by pesticides on an agricultural establishment covered under the Worker Protection Standards (WPS), your employer must:

  • Make transportation available from the job site to a medical care facility.
  • Provide information about the pesticide to which you may have been exposed.

More information about the Worker Protection Standard.

See EPA's Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings for information on the health hazards of pesticides currently in use, and current consensus recommendations for management of poisonings and injuries caused by them.

For information on how to handle a pesticide poisoning, call the National Pesticide Information Center at 800-858-7378 (toll-free to any caller in the United States, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands).  Exit

Some symptoms of pesticide poisoning can be mistaken for symptoms of other illnesses, such as the flu. When pesticide handlers become ill from working with organophosphate or carbamate insecticides in warm and hot environments, it is sometimes hard to tell whether the person is suffering from heat exhaustion or pesticide poisoning. The table below compares the symptoms.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion Symptoms of Organophosphate/ Carbamate Poisoning
Sweating Sweating
Headache Headache
Fatigue Fatigue
Dry membranes Moist membranes
Dry mouth Salivation
No tears Tears
No spit present Spit present in mouth
Fast pulse (slow if person has fainted) Slow pulse
Nausea Nausea and diarrhea
Dilated pupils Possibly small pupils
Central nervous system depression Central nervous system depression
Loss of coordination Loss of coordination
Confusion Confusion
Fainting (prompt recovery) Coma (can't waken)