The synthetic chemicals used in conventional pesticides can negatively impact health—that’s how they kill pests. Unfortunately they’re not selective killers, so using them can impact human health, too, even if you’ve carefully followed the directions for use. Exposure can occur—indoors or out--via vapor inhalation or residue; dust sticks around long after you’d expect and tracks inside on your shoes or on your pet’s paws. For example, a U.S. EPA study found that kitchen floors in most U.S. homes are laden with pesticides, even ones that were discontinued several decades ago.
Pound for pound children and pets are more vulnerable than adults are. They’re also more likely to be playing on contaminated surfaces. Initial exposure may induce headache, dizziness, muscular weakness, and nausea. More troubling are longer-term effects: pesticides have been linked to cancers, neurological conditions, hormone disruption, and reproductive issues. Pesticides have been shown to cross the placenta during pregnancy. And they contaminate our earth and waterways.
To deter pests and weeds without harm to your family or the earth, choose natural and organic alternatives. Keep in mind that even certain organic pesticides aren’t completely safe. Research chemicals on PANNA.org.
Stop using conventional pesticides. Outdoors, hand weed gardens, and use organic lawn and plant care products.
Indoors, the first step is prevention. Store food securely, clean well after meals, and seal all holes in your walls.
Ban the conventional exterminator, bug sprays, traps, and flea collars. Use natural and organic alternatives or seek out a “green” exterminator who practices integrated pest management (IPM).