A pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest including plants, rodents and insects. The term pesticide applies to herbicides, fungicides, and various other substances used to control pests. The majority of pesticides are organophosphate, carbamate, organochlorine or pyrethroid pesticides. Exposure to pesticides occurs primarily through domestic use around the home and through agricultural applications in food production. The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is involved in the assessment and regulation of pesticides in Australia. In addition, in Queensland pest management technicians are required to be licensed under the Pest Management Act 2001.
Poisoning may occur if a pesticide is inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin at levels that exceed safety guidelines. The use of safety equipment, such as gloves, protective clothing, respirator and safety glasses is important to prevent contact with pesticides. Individuals who choose to use pesticides themselves should always follow the specific precautions and information provided on the label of the pesticide. In the event of poisoning or suspected poisoning, seek medical advice or contact the Poison Information Centre on 13 1126.