Minimal Protective Clothing. Always follow the label or regulations regarding the minimal protective clothing to use when handling, mixing, or applying antimicrobial pesticides. If the label is not specific, it is a good practice to wear some minimal work clothing to prevent chemicals from contacting your skin. Unless labels of DANGER or WARNING pesticides are more specific, the minimum protective clothing is a one or two-piece garment of closely woven fabric (or equivalent) that covers the entire body except the head, hands, and feet. Wearing coveralls over your regular clothing provides additional protection. Coveralls have the advantage of easy removal if they become contaminated or when you finish working. See Appendix 4 on page 81 for complete California minimum PPE requirements
Disposable Protective Clothing. Manufacturers produce disposable protective clothing from several types of materials suitable for pesticide application. Disposable fabrics made from nonwoven, bonded fiber materials are superior to woven fabrics. Uncoated disposable clothing is not suitable if the pesticide label states the clothing must be “waterproof” or “chemical-resistant.” However, manufacturers laminate or bond some nonwoven fabrics to other materials to make them waterproof. Disposables are usually lightweight but remarkably strong and resistant to tearing or puncturing and have the major advantage of not requiring cleaning or decontamination after use. Throw them away at the end of the workday, or if they become contaminated or damaged.
If the label requires waterproof or chemical-resistant bodywear, you must observe certain temperature restrictions. Except under specific exceptions in regulation, you cannot apply these pesticides if the daytime ambient temperature exceeds 80°F or the nighttime ambient temperature exceeds 85°F.
Gloves. Chemical-resistant gloves are an essential part of antimicrobial pesticide safety equipment and you must wear them when handling most pesticides. Choose gloves made from natural rubber, latex, butyl, or neoprene unless the label specifies a particular material. Select a material that offers the best resistance to the types of pesticide you are using. The thickness of the glove material influences the amount of protection— thicker materials are better but have the disadvantage of reduced dexterity. Choose materials that resist puncturing and abrasion.
Check pesticide labels for special glove recommendations or requirements. For instance, labels prohibit using waterproof gloves with some fumigants, since they increase the chances of dermal contact. Other labels may require the use of gloves made of specific materials.
Footwear. Shoes and socks are the minimal required footwear for pesticide handling, although some pesticides require the use of waterproof boots or boot coverings. Waterproof footwear is available in conventional boot and overshoe styles.
Eye Protection. Always wear eye protection while handling pesticides. California regulations require protective eyewear during most types of pesticide application even if the requirement is not on the pesticide label.
Eye protection is available as safety glasses, goggles, faceshields, and faceshields combined with respirators. Unless the pesticide label specifies the type of eye protection, you may wear safety glasses if their frames include a brow piece and side shields.
Respiratory Protection Equipment. Respirators protect the lungs and respiratory tract from airborne pesticides. You can choose from several types and styles suitable for mixing and applying pesticides. Select respiratory equipment based on the requirements listed on the pesticide label.