EPA Tips for Pesticide Risks
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has, in recent years, been
phasing out the use of Dursban, a common lawn and home pesticide used for a
wide range of bugs, including termites, as well as other common household and
The EPA has said that the public need not worry about contamination of
their home from Dursban, as long as it was properly applied using label
directions. But the potential health risk to children is high enough to
justify getting rid of Dursban, also known as chlorpyrifos, as long as
alternatives are available, according to the agency.
"Chlorpyrifos is part of a class of older, riskier pesticides, some going
back 50 years. Exposure to these kinds of pesticides can cause neurological
effects. Now that we have completed the most extensive evaluation ever
conducted on the potential health hazards from a pesticide, it is clear that
the time has come to take action to protect our children from exposure to
this chemical," said EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner.
Evaluate Pesticide Companies Carefully Before Hiring
Whenever consulting with a professional pest control operator, be sure to
take the time to investigate your options. Besides chlorpyrifos, many other
pesticides are available for termite use, including: permethrin,
cypermethrin, imidacloprid, fipronil, bifenthrin, esfenvalerate,
deltamethrin, and cyfluthrin.
In addition to stopping termites in their tracks with insecticide, pest
control operators have used bait systems in recent years to reduce
insecticide use and increase worker and homeowner safety.
Here are some steps to consider in dealing with pest control operators:
- Ask to see the company's license.
- Get inspections and estimates from more than one company.
- Ask for a list of local references, and call them.
- Make sure you read and understand the contract, before you sign it.
- Get a receipt for the service.
- Ask for detailed safety information and get any health concerns regarding
your family addressed.
- Ask to see the label for the product they intend to use.
- Ask about alternative treatments for pest eradication in or around your
An Internet search on the most recent information available from the EPA
on the pesticide planned for use is prudent.