What do you do if you inhale a pesticide?

Do not cause the person to vomit unless the poison control center or a health care provider tells you to. Many insecticides can cause poisoning after swallowing, inhaling, or absorbing them through the skin. Some insecticides are odorless, so the person doesn't know they are exposed to them. Organophosphorus insecticides and carbamates cause certain nerves to “activate erratically, causing many organs to become hyperactive and eventually stop working.

Occasionally, pyrethrins can cause allergic reactions. Respiratory exposure is particularly dangerous because pesticide particles can be rapidly absorbed by the lungs into the bloodstream.


can cause serious damage to the nose, throat, and lung tissue if inhaled in sufficient quantities. Vapors and very small particles represent the most serious risks.

You can also inhale pesticide powder in a storage area, when used in an enclosed area, such as a greenhouse, or when transported to fields. The measurement method, LD50 (lethal dose, 50 percent), describes the dose of a pesticide that will kill half of a group of test animals with a single exposure (dose) dermally, orally, or by inhalation. Internal injury can also occur if a pesticide is swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin or eyes. The danger of inhaling droplets of pesticide spray is quite low when applying dilute sprays with low-pressure application equipment.

Blanche Hochstine
Blanche Hochstine

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