Pesticides can be hazardous to the environment, humans, and other animals if not used correctly. However, when handled with care and used according to the instructions on the label, pest control products can be safe for humans. The most common type of pest control products used in households are insecticides and disinfectants. A recent survey found that 75 percent of U.
S. households used at least one pesticide indoors over the past year. Exposure to pesticides can cause a variety of health problems, including skin irritation, respiratory issues, and even cancer. In addition to the active ingredient, pesticides are also composed of ingredients that are used to transport the active agent.
These transport agents are called pesticide-inert because they are not toxic to the target pest; however, some inert agents can cause health problems. It is important to read the label and follow the instructions carefully when using any pesticide. Unless you have received special training and are certified, never use a pesticide whose use is restricted to state-certified pest control operators. These pesticides are simply too dangerous for an uncertified person to apply.
Use only pesticides approved for use by the general public and only in the recommended amounts; increasing the amount offers no more protection against pests and can be harmful to you and your plants and pets. Whenever possible, use non-chemical methods of pest control such as proper fertilizing, watering, and aerating lawns. If you decide to use a pest control company, choose one with care. If you have unused or partially used containers of pesticides that you want to dispose of, dispose of them according to the instructions on the label or during special household hazardous waste collection days. Keep exposure to moth repellents to a minimum. One pesticide that is often found in the home is paradichlorobenzene, an active ingredient commonly used in moth repellents.
This chemical is known to cause cancer in animals, but there is great scientific uncertainty about the effects, if any, of long-term human exposure to paradichlorobenzene. The EPA requires that products containing paradichlorobenzene carry warnings, such as avoiding breathing vapors, to warn users of possible short-term toxic effects. Whenever possible, paradichlorobenzene and items that should be protected against moths should be placed in logs or other containers that can be stored in areas that are ventilated separately from the house. If chemicals must be used, use only the recommended amounts, mix or dilute pesticides outdoors or in an isolated, well-ventilated area, apply them to unoccupied areas, and dispose of unwanted pesticides safely to minimize exposure. To answer your question: “Is pest control safe for humans?” The answer depends on how it is used. When handled with care and used according to instructions on the label, many pest controls can be safe for humans. Professional pest control is also safer for you and your family because additional chemicals are removed from your home once the treatment is applied. The safest pest controls have a “Caution” label while the most toxic ones have a “Hazard” label.
Professional pest control companies know how to detect real pest problems and what treatments are necessary to eliminate them safely.