Protective clothing - the dilemma

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by boozoo, Nov 7, 2001.

  1. boozoo

    boozoo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    Greetings everyone! I'll be taking over the chemical division of our company this coming year, so this is the first of probably many questions I'll be asking along the way. I thank you in advance for your patience and wisdom.

    One of the first problems I see is in protective clothing and gear. I want to be protected, but a)I don't want to scare the hell out of the client by wearing full white body suits, respirators, etc. b)I don't want to die of heatstroke, or simply be uncomfortable, for that matter.

    I've got the chemically resistant boots picked out, and I'll wear sunglasses for eye protection. Any suggestions for pants and shirts? I like the white, space-age looking spray suits that Gemplers sells; they're cool,light, and protective, but they make me look like I just got back from Chernobyl. Do they make any that look like real clothing? Gloves are also a troublesome issue. I don't want cloth or leather that soak the stuff up, but the nitrile gloves I have get yuckily (my own contribution to the english language) wet in no time. Again, the question is how do I remain cool, comfortable, and protected, and not *look* like I handle highly toxic materials? Thanks
  2. boozoo

    boozoo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    Helloooo! Is anybody out there?
  3. Rodney Anderson

    Rodney Anderson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    After performing lawn care apps for 18 years I have the following to offer. Follow the label recommendations on the appropriate wear. The absolutely most important factor when messing with the chemicals is to wear the protective gear when mixing or handling the chemicals in concentrate. If you are using materials that require wearing of gowns and eye wear during the applcation of the materials, you may want to select different materials tha allow you to do so without dressing up like a goon.
    i always relate to fellow industry poeple and customers, I respect the materials just as an electrician respects electricity. You should feel comfortable doing this job with protective boots, long pants, gloves, eye wear if required and long sleeves if reqiired. Think safety, always have excess to water whether on tap at the site or on your vehicle, first aid, and soaps. Following a day of applications make sure clothing is removed from your body and washed away from your home( a laundra mat ). If you are not comfortable doing this job you had better find a new one.
    We wouldnt be doing this for a living it was detrimental to our health and well being. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL !
  4. cantoo

    cantoo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,910

    I don't think I would wash the clothing at a laundry mat, you are risking exposure to many more people. Buy a cheap used machine and only use it for spray clothing.
  5. boozoo

    boozoo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    No offense, but telling me to read the label doesn't help me much in this particular situation. All of them will at the very least tell me to wear long sleeve shirts, pants, and eye protection. The question is, what brand or type of these are the most comfortable, and at the same time, most chemically resistant, or an optimum balance between the two. You bring up an interesting point about washing my clothes seperate from my family's. I hadn't thought of that quite yet, as I haven't washed the pants I wore to spray in last week. Thanks for the heads up. Any advice on brands or types of clothing that are resistant and cool and comfortable that you've run into in your 18 years of spraying?
  6. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    Some people have wardrobes and others have uniforms. I am a uniform type guy. On or off the job I always wear blue pants and a tee shirt with collar. So much for my designer wear.

    Right or wrong this is what I use for PPE when spraying. White Rubber boots about 12" high purchased at wally world $ 10.00(walmart) with arch supports (very important arch supports). ( blue ) Pleted dress pants like Dockers wore over top of the boots. The looser fit of the pants the cooler they are. I buy printed shirts (company name) with collars and sleeves as long as I can get for a short sleeve shirts. Gloves cover the rest of my arm. Nitrile gloves make your hands sweat and when you hold your hand up you get river of water pouring out of them. I use Corn Huskers hand lotion. Masks I have a very good one and should use it more. Spray with my back to the wind. Wraparound Sunglasses unless I am spraying trees etc. (Blueblocker sunglass are great for spotting insect and fungus early on).

    I spray a lot of trees and do the jump suit hard hat face shield thing. Just have to sweat. I turn the jump suit inside out and keep it behind the sit. I throw it away when it gets to funky.

    I wash my work clothes in the same washing machine. I just run a rinse cycle after.

    More of us should be concerned about PPE and safety.

    May you always be Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.
  7. Foster

    Foster LawnSite Member
    Messages: 82

    For what it's worth here's what I use. When wearing the rubber (nitrile sp?) gloves, I wear cotton liners in them. I found several dozen of them at a used cothing store. For all day use, I'll go thru four pair. For clothing, I'll just use blu jeans and a long sleeved shirt. Sweatshirt when possible. If I get some on me, I'll change (always keep xtra clothing with me). I do most of my spraying off of an ATV unit, so when I get it on me, I know I'm pushing the wind limit anyway. For trees, I won't spray in a suit unless it is a whole grove and you can't get away from the drift. Then I just go for the big sweat!
  8. Ron Persaud

    Ron Persaud LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 17

    The PPE stated on the label is the least I can do without breaking the law.......but for my own protection I keep in mind that a chemical can enter my body through my mouth, nose and skin.
    Eye protection is especially important to me.
    I wear glasses all the time but the goggles are never far away in case I have to spray above chest high. I am very careful when dealing with concentrates and before I measure out the quantity, I take a deep breadth and hold it until I have poured the chemical into the tank.
    Depending upon the chemical. I would wear a full face shield and in extreme cases, a respirator. On one occasion I had to use a contained breathing system with the air intake 150 ft. away.
    Volatile chemicals like 2.4D and chemicals containing organic solvents would make me reach for full face protection.
    Oil based chemicals indicate to me that I must protect myself against skin exposure and if the spray wand is going to be close to the ground, my pants legs are inside the rubber boots. If I have to spray higher I have them covering the boots. I get my work clothes water proofed regularly (Scotch guarded?) at the cleaners. I wash my spray clothes on Monday, the day after the weekly family washing is done. I get a blood test done at least once a year for a cholinesterase count but with the phasing out of the organophosphates, this may be unnecessary after the next year or two. I eat regularly and I always have a good breakfast because I feel that it is important, not that it is a scientific fact. The equipment is only a part of Personal Protection; outlook and common sense are very important. My mantra is "There are no safe chemicals; only safe ways of using them."
    Many people have labelled me as "paranoid" about chemical safety. To which my only answer is that I have seen four people die as a result of separate cases of mishandling chemicals. As my grandmother used to say "Learn from other people's mistakes because you won't have time to make them all yourself".

  9. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,555

    I use those white tyvek suits,they do look bd,ut luckil for me,most of my spraying is done at the golf course,so its done at 5 am,when no one is ther,and its cool.I am always out of my suit by 8 at the lastest,including triple rinsing.I have a friend who has been spraying for over 20 yrs,he has an enlarged protrate,and his doc says there is a direct link in men,those who spray,and get exposed over time,develope prostate cancer.His warning to me was suit up,and be safe.If youve been doing this a while,get your prosrate checked,let your doc know you spray.Another thing,get out of those contamintad clothes ASAP,I would hate to wear the same clothes all day.Those tyvek suits cost about 100 bucks for 25,by the case,I just burn them when im done,or throw them away.The head is an area that is extremely permeable,keep a hat on,and not those screend ones.
  10. shotgun_sammy

    shotgun_sammy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    read the label!!and respond in kind.I work in in the hot hot hot south west florida sun,iam forced to change my shirt at least 3 times sometimes more,ill tell you what i wear....high 12 inch boots,neoprene gloves are way better than nitrile,in my opion,long sleeve shirt,glasses,wrap around,are best.Comfort is important but safety is better,In my expirience,i commercialy spray residential homes for a big company,in my postion iam only spraying 4,000,to 5,000 sq foot at a time,which means iam only spraying for 20 to 25 minutes at a time,if it means i gotta where a mask,its only for a short time,and always have a couple of extra pants around shirts around!!i once spilled fungicide unmix all over my pants,,and had no back ups,,,needless to say i dropped my pants and speed home in my sweaty old underwear,,thank god i didnt get pulled over,would have looked bad!but my best advice to you is to have at least 3 pairs of gloves,pants and shirts at all times:blob3: shotgun_sammy

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