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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 agricultural pesticides.

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 home.

An Internet search on the most recent information available from the EPA on the pesticide planned for use is prudent.