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Pesticides are used to prevent, destroy, repel, or mitigate any pest. Though often misunderstood to refer only to insecticides, the term pesticide also applies to herbicides, fungicides and various other substances used to control pests.

It is important that pesticides are only used when necessary, and in accordance with the directions on the label. When exposed to high levels of pesticides, humans can be harmed or poisoned.

If a person has been poisoned by pesticides, you should call the Poisons Information Centre 24 hours a day from anywhere in Australia on 13 11 26 or call triple zero (000) in an emergency.

Symptoms of pesticide poisoning can be mild or severe. These include:

Follow the links below to find information about pesticides and other forms of pest control. 

Last reviewed: August 2016

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Read more on Queensland Health website

Pregnancy and pesticides

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding it is important to avoid direct exposure to pesticides and take the necessary precautions by ensuring the product instructions are followed and the correct amount is used.

Read more on WA Health website

Using pesticides safely

If not used correctly, pesticides can be dangerous to health and the environment.

Read more on WA Health website

Medicine and poisons safety in the home

Reliable and trusted advice about the importance of child-resistant packaging, how to reduce the risk of poisoning and what to do if your child swallows a poison.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Office of Chemical Safety

The Office of Chemical Safety (OCS) undertakes a number of regulatory functions in relation to chemicals.

Read more on Department of Health website

Cholinesterase - Lab Tests Online AU

Why and when to get tested for cholinesterase

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Hazards after cyclones, floods and other disasters

There are many hazards to consider after cyclones, floods and other disasters including asbestos contamination, mosquitoes, poisons, chemicals, pesticides, snakes, rodents and other wildlife.

Read more on WA Health website

Rat poison contamination

Read more on Queensland Health website

Chemicals in the home - Better Health Channel

Learn how to safely store and dispose of household chemicals, and how to respond when a person is poisoned.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Regulation of poisons

A poisons licence is required by anyone who wants to wholesale or retail medicines and poisons in Schedules 2, 3, 4, 7 and 8 or wholesale Schedule 6 poisons

Read more on WA Health website

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