The results of the study show that it may be fairly straightforward to limit indoor exposure, says Nishioka. "The important message here is that track-in of herbicides and pesticides from the lawn can be limited by simple control procedures," she says. "The consistent removal of outdoor shoes at the door by both the homeowner applicator and children, or the use of a commercial applicator, can reduce the levels brought indoors. Carpeting at the door, rather than a bare floor there, can be used to catch the residues that do enter."
Restricting the access of indoor-outdoor pets to recently treated lawns and wearing coveralls when applying lawn treatments and then removing the protective clothing before entering the house are two other effective ways of preventing track-in, according to the journal article. In humans, contact with 2,4-D can cause skin rashes, dermatitis and irritation to the gastrointestinal tract, according to EPA's hazard summary for the herbicide. However, "the long-term chronic health effects of 2,4-D are unknown at this time," says Nishioka.
"Residential exposure to pesticides may increase the potential health risks to all humans, but such risks are considerably greater for infants and toddlers, who frequently crawl or lie on the floor, may have intimate contact with family pets, and mouth their toys and other objects that may contain chemical residues," says EPA senior scientist Robert G. Lewis, Ph.D., study manager and co-author of the paper.