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Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department
Environmental Public Health

Be Yard Smart


The information contained in this document about product handling, safety, and hazards is universal. However, rules and options for disposal and recycling are specific to Lincoln and parts of Lancaster County, Nebraska, especially the information about local contacts and the Lincoln - Lancaster County Health Department's Household Hazardous Waste Collections. The Lincoln - Lancaster County Health Department cannot and will not accept waste from outside the county limits. If you live outside of Lancaster County, Nebraska, please check with local or state health or environmental agencies for information about regulations, options, and services in your area.

Use Yard Chemicals with Care

Use a Common-Sense Approach

Just because a yard chemical is offered for sale does not mean it is safe. Pesticides have the potential to cause health problems for people. If you choose to use chemicals, do so in a way that minimizes health risks.

Before Purchasing Yard Chemicals

  • Consider hiring a professional pesticide applicator who is trained in the proper application of yard chemicals.
  • Try using alternative methods of pest management such as integrated pest management (IPM). (In Nebraska, contact your county extension agent for a list of options.)
  • Buy the right product for the job.
  • Choose the least toxic chemical.
  • Buy the smallest amount necessary to do the job.

Before Using Yard Chemicals

  • Read and follow the directions on the label. The label will tell you when, where, and how to apply the chemical. Remember, the label is the law!
  • Plan to spray pesticides in the early morning or evening when winds are generally calmer.
  • Apply pesticides when winds are calm to avoid drift.

While Using Yard Chemicals

  • Apply them carefully to turf or plant areas only.
  • Use low-pressure, large droplet sprayers and keep the spray nozzle close to the ground.
  • Use spot application techniques.
  • Remove toys and wading pools, cover sandboxes, and take pets inside.
  • Protect yourself—wear eye protection, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, rubber gloves, and rubber boots.
Caution Flag

After Using Yard Chemicals

  • Be a good neighbor—post your yard with "caution" flags.
  • If flags are not available at local hardware stores or garden centers, alert neighbors of your pesticide use in person or through the use of signs.
  • Keep children and pets off the lawn for 24 hours. Pest Flag
  • Bathe thoroughly.
  • Thoroughly and separately wash the clothes you wore when spraying. Use hot, soapy water.

When Storing or Disposing of Unused Yard Chemicals

  • Use up pesticides for their intended purpose, if possible.
  • Store unused pesticides in a locked cabinet out of the reach of children.
  • Do not pour pesticides or other chemicals down the drain, on the ground, in a ditch, or down a storm drain.
  • Triple rinse empty pesticide containers prior to disposal. Use rinseate during normal application.
  • If you cannot use the pesticide for its labeled purpose sell or give it to someone who can.
  • If you cannot use the pesticide and if you cannot sell or give it away, take the unused portion in its original container to a Household Hazardous Waste Collection.

For More Information

Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County
(8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m., M-F) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 441-7180
Lancaster County residents only: Information on pesticide use, IPM, other control options, and triple rinsing containers.

Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department
(8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m., M-F) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 441-8040
Lancaster County residents only: Information on the health effects of pesticides, pesticide disposal, and household hazardous waste collection schedules.

Nebraska Department of Agriculture
(8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., M-F) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 471-2394
Nebraska residents only: Information on certification for private and commercial pesticide applicators

Poison Control Center
(24 hours) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (800) 955-9119

National Pesticide Telecommunications Network
(8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., M-F) . . . . . . . . . . . . (800) 858-7378
Information on banned pesticides

Remember, no pesticide is totally safe.
It is best to be Yard Smart.


InterLinc City of Lincoln Departments Category Location

Health Environmental Public Health Environmental Quality