Pesticide poisoning is a serious health risk faced by many people in Nebraska, especially workers in agriculture, pest control, groundskeeping, and others who handle pesticides. The Nebraska Occupational Safety and Health Surveillance Program (NOSHP) collects pesticide poisoning data to learn more about this problem and to help guide public health prevention activities.
Nebraska has one of the highest rates of work-related pesticide poisonings among states in the U.S. In 2010, Nebraska had the third highest pesticide poisoning rate in the U.S., behind Iowa and North Dakota. In the past 10 years, the pesticide poisoning rates were two to three times higher than the U.S. average. Visit Data & Reports to view more data.
Pesticide Exposures Can Lead to Poisoning
Individuals who come into contact with certain pesticides are at risk for poisoning. Pesticides can enter the body through the skin, eyes, mouth, or lungs. Exposures over a short period of time, such as during mixing or applying, can result in acute poisoning. Exposures to very small amounts of some pesticides over a long period of time can result in chronic poisoning.
Health Effects of Pesticide Exposures
Some pesticides are relatively safe if used properly, while others are highly toxic. Acute poisoning and can cause health effects like skin irritation, stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, headaches, and respiratory problems. Chronic poisoning may lead to an increase in the risk of neurological effects, reproductive disorders, allergic reactions, and cancer.
Preventing Pesticide Poisoning
People who handle pesticides should follow all instructions on the pesticide label, and always wear the personal protective equipment (PPE) indicated on the label, such as gloves and goggles. To learn more about pesticide safety and pesticide poisoning, visit the UNL Pesticide Safety Education Program website or view the UNL publications below:
Managing the Risks of Pesticide Poisoning (UNL Extension) - Detailed publication outlines the risk of pesticide exposure and understanding the signs and symptoms.
Protective Clothing and Equipment for Pesticide Applicators (UNL Extension) -NebGuide about how to choose and properly use personal protective equipment when handling pesticides.
Managing Bedbugs (UNL Extension) - An interactive publication about how to find, manage, and prevent bedbugs.
View all UNL Pesticide Safety Education Program Publications