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Wear the right Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Learn why the PPE that you wear depends on a complex analysis of the main routes of pesticide exposure, the toxicity and formulation of the pesticide and how you are using it.

Routes of exposure

The main ways that pesticide can enter the body when using pesticides, are through the nose and mouth and through skin.

Read, understand and apply the advice on your pesticide label for safe use of the pesticide product.

PPE when mixing and spraying

Check your pesticide label for the right personal protective equipment (PPE) to wear when mixing and spraying your pesticide.

Pictograms supplement the text on the label but do not replace it, so check both.

Remember to record the PPE used when mixing and spraying your pesticide.

PPE and hazard class

Underpinning the advice on your pesticide label is a deep understanding of:

 

If the label does not give advice, read the guidance below for pesticides marked:

I a Extremely hazardous – Very Toxic
I b Highly hazardous – Toxic
II Moderately hazardous – Harmful
III Slightly hazardous – Caution

Unlikely to present a hazard in normal use. To learn more about how the risk to users is assessed and routes of exposure, visit the "Hazard, risk, human health and pesticides" section on Stewardship Community.

Avoid harm! Understand your pesticide label and make sure you have the tools and skill to handle and use the pesticide safely.

I a Extremely hazardous – Very Toxic

Wear the PPE directed by your pesticide label. When using "Very Toxic" pesticides we suggest that the least you should wear is nitrile gloves, a respirator, rubber boots, a face shield and a coverall. Use these when:

  • mixing and spraying "Very Toxic" pesticides
  • cleaning the empty pesticide containers
  • cleaning the spraying equipment you used.

 

A water-proof, broad brimmed hat or tightly fitting hood may be advised when spray is projected upwards. Chemical resistant aprons may be needed when mixing. In some countries the use of long sleeved trousers and long sleeved shirts may be allowed instead of coveralls. Check your pesticide label.

I b Highly hazardous – Toxic

Wear the PPE directed by your pesticide label. When using "Toxic" pesticides we suggest that the least you should wear is a coverall, face shield, rubber boots, nitrile gloves and a respirator. Use these when:

  • mixing and rinsing the empty pesticide containers
  • spraying "Toxic" pesticides
  • cleaning the spraying equipment you used.

 

A water-proof, broad brimmed hat or tightly fitting hood may be advised when spray is projected upwards. Chemical resistant aprons may be needed when mixing. In some countries the use of long sleeved trousers and long sleeved shirts may be allowed instead of coveralls.

Check your pesticide label.

II Moderately hazardous – Harmful

Wear the PPE directed by your pesticide label. When using "Harmful" pesticides we suggest that the least you should wear is nitrile gloves, a face shield, a dust mask, rubber boots and a coverall. Use these when:

  • mixing and spraying "Harmful" pesticides
  • cleaning the empty pesticide containers
  • cleaning the spraying equipment you used.

 

A water-proof, broad brimmed hat or tightly fitting hood may be advised when spray is projected upwards. Chemical resistant aprons may be needed when mixing. In some countries the use of long sleeved trousers and long sleeved shirts may be allowed instead of coveralls.

Check your pesticide label.

 

III Slightly hazardous – Caution

Wear the PPE directed by your pesticide label. When using "Slightly Hazardous" pesticides we suggest that the least you should wear is nitrile gloves, a face shield, a dust mask, rubber boots and a coverall. Use these when:

  • mixing and spraying "Slightly Hazardous" pesticides
  • cleaning the empty pesticide containers
  • cleaning the spraying equipment you used.

 

A water-proof, broad brimmed hat or tightly fitting hood may be advised when spray is projected upwards. Chemical resistant aprons may be needed when mixing. In some countries the use of long sleeved trousers and long sleeved shirts may be allowed instead of coveralls.

Check your pesticide label.

Unlikely to present a hazard in normal use

Wear the PPE directed by your pesticide label. When using pesticides "Unlikely to Present a Hazard in Normal Use" we suggest that the least you should wear is nitrile gloves, a face shield, a dust mask, rubber boots and a coverall. Use these when:

  • mixing and spraying pesticides "Unlikely to Present a Hazard in Normal Use"
  • cleaning the empty pesticide containers
  • cleaning the spraying equipment you used.

 

A water-proof, broad brimmed hat or tightly fitting hood may be advised when spray is projected upwards. Chemical resistant aprons may be needed when mixing. In some countries the use of long sleeved trousers and long sleeved shirts may be allowed instead of coveralls.

Check your pesticide label.