Parenting · Pregnancy

Pesticide safety during pregnancy

Pregnant person standing in a park holding her tummy

In the summer, there may be more pests, weeds or fungi in your living spaces. If you choose to use pesticides in or around your home, it is important to use them responsibly and safely.  Here are a few tips I share with participants at our prenatal programs, to help protect expectant parents and their babies from environmental hazards.

It is safest to avoid using pesticides during pregnancy because it may lead to birth defects or miscarriages.

Tips to help manage indoor and outdoor pests:

  • Maintain a clean environment by tidying food crumbs and storing garbage securely.
  • Keep your areas free of clutter to prevent pests from hiding in them.
  • Find and fix areas where pests could enter the home.
  • Empty kitchen garbage containers often.
  • Remove standing water and repair damp areas.

Everyone in the household can help by building and maintaining a healthier and safer environment.

If pesticides must be used:

  • Identify the pest correctly and choose a pesticide authorized for use in Canada
  • Pregnant individuals, children, the elderly, and pets should leave the area during pesticide treatment. Ask someone else to apply the pesticides.
  • Check the pesticide’s label and follow the instructions/warnings, especially the recommended amount of time to wait before re-entering the treated area. If there is no label, wait at least 24 hours before re-entering the area.
  • Limit pesticide use to the specific area that is affected.
  • Remove any household or food-related items that could be sprayed during treatment.
  • During outdoor treatments, close all windows and doors to prevent chemicals from entering the home.

In case of accidental poisoning:

  • Call a poison control centre right away and get medical help.
  • Take the pesticide label or container with you to the emergency room or doctor.
  • Follow the first aid statements on the label.

Have more questions on keeping your family safe when using pesticides? Speak to your health care provider or speak with a Public Health Nurse through e-Chat or (416) 338-7600.

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