While there is no proof that exposure to small amounts of pesticides at home pose a risk to the fetus, they are still poisonous and should be avoided whenever possible. Some studies have shown that large amounts of pesticides can contribute to problems such as miscarriage, preterm delivery, and birth defects. In fact, a new Columbia University study found that mothers who had heavy exposure to two commonly used insecticides had smaller babies than mothers who had less insecticide exposure. Reduce your risk by controlling pests with less toxic options, such as boric acid. However, if you must use pesticides, adhere to the following guidelines:
- Have someone else apply the chemicals while you leave the area for several hours.
- Remove foods, dishes, and utensils before the chemicals are applied. Afterward, have someone open the windows and thoroughly wash off all surfaces on which food is eaten or prepared.
- If pesticides are used outdoors, close all windows and turn off air conditioning to prevent fumes from coming into the house.
- Wear rubber gloves when gardening to prevent skin contact with soil.