May 19, 2010

While we buy a fair amount of organic produce and attempt to raise our fruits and vegetables as chemical free as we can, there are times we still resort to pesticides.

The other day I was getting ready to spray some glyphosate (Roundup) on the edges of my driveway. It was the first time this year to use my backpack sprayer. I mixed up a batch and began spraying or trying to do so.

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Mistake #1:  I didn’t first try the sprayer with plain water before loading it with herbicides. I quickly discovered that while the unit was fully pressurized, the wand was not delivering spray.

Mistake #2: I didn’t remove the sprayer, release pressure and empty it before attempting repair. Assuming the problem was a plugged nozzle orifice, I unscrewed the tip of the wand. Nothing happened. I then unscrewed the wand itself from the hose end, releasing the pent up pressure and resulting in the herbicide soaking my clothes and my skin.

Mistake #3: I wasn’t wearing safety glasses. Luckily my reaction time was good, and I had shut my eyes before the spray reached them…and I held them shut. My wife led me into the house and to the shower. I shampooed and soaped down twice before opening my eyes. I also flushed my eyes twice with eyewash.

Mistake #4: I didn’t have my wife immediately flush my face and body with water from the garden hose.

Time is of the essence in a case like this. I deserved a cold bath for ignoring safety protocols. I was lucky…very, very lucky. Don’t be lucky. Be smart…and careful!

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