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The Use of Pesticides and Their Long-Term Effects

On August 3, 2017, a Maryland County circuit court overturned a county-wide ban on lawn and garden pesticides utilized on private property. The lifting of the ban thrills the professional landscaping community as they argue that the pesticides used are approved and licensed by the state.

Montgomery County enacted the ban in 2015, which was scheduled to become effective at the beginning of 2018. It banned the use of pesticides on private lawns, but excluded agricultural land, gardens, and golf courses.

While landscapers may argue that pesticides are perfectly safe, plenty of other industry experts argue otherwise.

What Constitutes a Pesticide

Pesticides are chemicals that are used with the purpose of keeping away a variety of pests and insects, as well as mold and weeds. The EPA even acknowledges there is some risk associated with their use.

“By their very nature, most pesticides create some risk of harm. [They can cause harm to humans, animals or the environment because they are designed to kill or [harm]…living organisms.”

Pesticides can also affect wildlife and your pets if they are exposed.

How You are Exposed to Pesticides

Pesticides are used in so many places, you may not even be aware of all the ways you have been exposed. Pesticides may be found in products like:

  • Food and water, including well water
  • Lice, tick, and flea treatments
  • Cleaning products
  • Cosmetics like toothpaste and deodorants
  • Play equipment at schools and parks
  • Golf courses
  • Insect repellants

Symptoms and Impact of Chronic Exposure

The symptoms of pesticide related illness can run the gamut from minor discomfort by mild poisoning up to and including death in severe poisoning cases. Some symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Mild Poisoning: headache, fatigue, nervousness, weakness, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, skin irritation, irritation of nose and throat, and more
  • Moderate Poisoning: Nausea, diarrhea, excessive saliva, stomach cramps, muscle twitches, no muscle coordination, mental confusion, blurred vision, difficulty breathing, rapid pulse, flushed or yellow skin, and more
  • Severe Poisoning: Fever, intense thirst, vomiting, uncontrollable muscle twitches, pinpoint pupils, unconsciousness, convulsions, and inability to breathe

Long term, low-dose exposure to pesticides can lead to chronic diseases, including brain tumors, lung cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, birth defects, learning disorders, asthma, other respiratory diseases, and more. Increases in autism in children and Parkinson’s disease in older people are believed to be related to pesticide exposure, as well.

What to do if You Think You are Sick from Pesticides

If you become ill from pesticide-related exposure, call the Poison Control Center immediately at 800-222-1222. If your pets or livestock are sick from pesticide exposure, contact your local veterinarian, emergency animal clinic, or the National Animal Poison Control Center (NAPCC).

Contact a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney

Pesticide related illness is a serious issue, and it is a reportable condition in Maryland. If you or a loved one sought medical treatment for pesticide related exposure, it is important that you contact an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney. Long-lasting effects and latent health issues can develop so you need to protect yourself and minimize any health risks. Please contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro today at (301) 804-2312 to schedule a free consultation.

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