If You've Been Drifted On
Pesticide exposure can lead to serious medical consequences, so it's important to take all incidents seriously and immediately seek medical attention. In addition to affecting people, when pesticides drift from their intended targets they can damage ecosystems, pets and wildlife, and cause economic harm by contaminating crops and poisoning livestock. It is important that all drift incidents are promptly reported, even if no damage is apparent.
If pesticides drift onto you or your neighbors, you should:
- Evacuate the area, warn your neighbors and seek medical attention.
- If you were hit with spray drift (droplets or dust particles) that contacted your skin, shower as soon after exposure as you can.
- If you experience any symptoms of pesticide exposure, immediately see a doctor or call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 .
- Call for help. Once you are in a safe location, notify the appropriate authorities of the incident (see below). If you feel your life is in danger, call 911.
Always Report Pesticide Drift
Regardless of whether people were directly exposed to pesticide drift or any ecological damage or economic harm is immediately visible, it’s important to promptly report every drift incident to the agency responsible for pesticide enforcement. The appropriate agency varies by state, but it is typically the office of the County Agricultural Commissioner.
In California, calling 1-877-378-5463 should connect you with the appropriate office. If you seek medical attention, be sure to tell the doctor that pesticides are involved or suspected. In addition to helping the doctor diagnose and treat you, this will ensure that the incident is counted in official tallies, since many states require doctors and veterinarians to report cases of suspected pesticide poisoning incidents to the state.
It’s important to notify authorities as soon as possible, and to ask for a formal investigation and pesticide sampling on affected properties. This is because pesticide residue can degrade quickly, and samples should be taken as soon as possible if they are yield conclusive results. Write down all of the details of the exposure before you forget anything, including the time and date of the incident, what happened that led to the exposure, and the location of the application site and neighboring buildings.