Step 1: Avoid Pesticides
Weeds, bugs, rodents – we call them pests for a reason. No one wants them around. But the convenience offered by a pesticide’s quick fix has its price. Pesticides are poisons, and in most cases, their negative effects can far outweigh any positives of being rid of the pests. Pesticides have been linked to a range of health problems, including asthma, hyperactivity and behavior problems, cancer, learning disabilities, reproductive disorders, and compromised brain development.
What to Do
- Avoid unsafe chemicals inside and out – Even when used according to the directions, pesticides can pose health risks. By Federal Law, no one can say pesticides are safe – so don't be fooled into thinking otherwise.
- Instruct caregivers about the hazards of pesticides and talk to school or daycare centers about pest management practices. Schools across the country are using successful, safer pest management programs. Refer to the National School IPM Information Source.
- Prevent pests through good sanitation and food storage habits, and by preventing their entry structurally. See the Safety Checklist for prevention techniques.
- Take off your shoes at the door to prevent tracking pesticides indoors. Traces of pesticide residues can cling to the bottoms of your shoes and then rub off on your carpet and rugs. Once there, they linger on because they're not exposed to the conditions that typically cause them to break down (sunlight, rain, soil microbes, etc). These residues become sources of repeated exposures to children and pets who play on the floor.
- Use these resources to help you make safer decisions: