Preventing worker illness from indoor pesticide exposure
Although we often think about agriculture when we hear about pesticides, workers in a variety of indoor settings can become ill from the application of pesticides. Office workers have fallen ill after their building was fumigated; school employees have experienced symptoms after agricultural pesticides drifted into their schools; and flight attendants have become ill after exposure to pesticides used in airplanes.
In data collected by the Occupational Pesticide Illness Prevention Program (OPIPP) from 1998-2009, nearly one out of five people who reported work-related pesticide illnesses were exposed to pesticides in indoor air.
Because workers and members of the public can become ill from pesticide use indoors, steps must be taken to eliminate or reduce human exposures.
There are effective and safe ways to control pests indoors without the use of sprayed pesticides. Employers and employees can take steps to prevent pests from invading in the first place, and building managers and owners can hire pest control companies committed to using the safest and most effective treatment methods possible when an infestation occurs.
A team approach among employees, employers, building management, and pest control companies is needed in order to keep pests out of the workplace and workers protected if pesticides have to be used.
OPIPP fact sheets and other educational materials about indoor pesticide use
Additional resources – Using Integrated Pest Management
Occupational Pesticide Illness Prevention Program – main page
Occupational Health Surveillance and Evaluation Program (OHSEP)
Occupational Health Branch