Work with Chemicals 403
To reduce the health risks from working with harmful chemicals,
• avoid getting chemicals on your skin. When using chemicals
at home, use rubber kitchen gloves (or plastic bags). When
using chemicals at work, including farming, use thicker gloves
and wear shoes. Otherwise, chemicals can get into your
• wash your hands after touching chemicals. If you have been
using strong chemicals, like pesticides, change your clothes
and wash yourself before eating or coming into the house.
Use rubber gloves when you wash these clothes.
• avoid breathing in fumes (vapors) from chemicals. Work
where fresh air flows freely. A cloth or paper mask will not
protect you from breathing in chemical fumes.
• keep chemicals away from food. Never use chemical
storage containers for food or water, even after they have
been washed. A container that looks very clean can still
have enough chemical to poison the food or water. Do not
use sprays near food or on a windy day.
If a chemical gets in your eye, flush it immediately
with water. Keep flushing for 15 minutes. Do not let the
water get into the other eye. If your eye is burned, see a
Keep chemicals away
from children. Always
look for poison
warnings, or this
picture, on the label.
Lead is a poisonous part of some common materials—like pottery, paint, fuel,
and batteries. Lead poisoning happens when people eat from pots with glazes
containing lead or when they eat even a tiny amount of lead dust. It can also happen
from breathing in lead dust or from breathing fumes from fuel containing lead.
Lead is especially harmful for babies and children. It can cause low birth
weight, poor development, damage to the brain (which can be permanent), and
death. So it is important to avoid working with lead during pregnancy.
If you work with lead, try to protect yourself and your family by:
• not getting powdered glaze on your hands or in your mouth.
• keeping children away from your work area.
• cleaning up with damp cloths rather than sweeping, so that less lead dust
gets into the air.
• washing your hands well after working.
• eating foods that contain a lot of calcium and iron (see pages 167 and 168).
These foods help keep lead from getting into your blood.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012