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Gardening Safely This Labour Weekend

As the weather warms up and more of us venture back into our gardens, it’s an ideal time to take stock of the garden chemicals we’re using and storing around our homes.

The Environmental Protection Authority’s Safer Homes programme has got some handy tips as the pots and plots begin to take shape.

"When you’re getting back out into the garden, it’s a great time to do a stocktake - or even a ‘spring clean’ - of the chemicals you’ve got at home," says the Safer Homes programme manager, Lizzie Wilson.

Storing or stockpiling products you no longer need creates unnecessary risks, and easily preventable hazards around your home.

"A common myth is that ‘natural’, ‘organic’, and ‘environmentally friendly’ products are safer to use. These substances can still be hazardous and the same precautions need to be taken" says Lizzie Wilson.

"Home gardening and cleaning chemicals are safe to use when you follow the instructions on the label, which will also tell you if you need protection, like gloves, a facemask, or safety glasses. "There’s guidance on our website about how to safely dispose of old chemicals that are no longer needed. It’s very important people never pour unused product down the drain," says Lizzie Wilson.

Top tips for staying safe in the garden:

- Wear gloves, and check the label to see if you need other protection, like a face mask or safety glasses.

- Choose a calm day. The wind can blow products into your eyes and face, or onto other people

- Keep products away from your eyes and face, and off your skin.

- If you are spraying near or on edible plants, check the label to see how long you need to wait before the plant can be eaten.

- Be careful if working near streams or water. Many garden products should not be used near water

- Try weeding and mulching, instead of using chemical sprays.

- Pellet-type products can be attractive to young children and pets, so keep them away while using gardening products.

- Store chemicals up high and out of reach, and always read the label.

- Dispose of chemicals safely and don’t pour leftover product down storm water drains.

Read more about staying safe in the garden

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