Pesticides: General

What are Pesticides?

  • Pesticides are chemicals that are used in houses and in agriculture to get rid of pests (for example, to kill cockroaches, ants or other insects).
  • If you work with pesticides, live near a field, or use pesticides in your home, you and your family could be exposed to pesticides, even if you can’t smell or see them.
  • Pesticides can be harmful to people, especially pregnant women and small children. You should avoid contact with pesticides as much as possible.

What can I do if there are pests in my house?

  • To avoid having pests in your house, keep pests out by preventing access to food and water.
  • Block entry points used by rats, mice or insects.
  • Store food in tightly sealed container.
  • Fix leaks.
  • Keep the kitchen clean.
  • Keep garbage in a garbage can with a lid.

Monitoring for pests

  • Look under the sink, furniture, and boxes of food to see is there are remains from insects or rodents.
  • Use traps for rats and mice instead of poison.
  • Use sticky traps (glue) for cockroaches.

If you must use PESTICIDES…

  • Use the least toxic method.
  • Read the label first.
  • Keep pesticides in their original containers.
  • Keep your children and their toys away when you are applying pesticides.
  • Use traps with bait and gels instead of sprays, they cause less exposure.
  • Boric acid is a powder that can be used to kill pests in your house and it is less toxic than other substances.

If you work in the fields…

  • Use clothing that protects your body.
  • Change your work clothes and leave your work shoes outside before you enter your house.
  • Don’t hug or carry your children until you have showered or changed after leaving the field.
  • Keep your car clean; vacuum often.
  • Store and wash your work clothes separately from the rest of your clothes and your children’s clothes.
  • Wash your hands before leaving work and eating.

What can I do to protect my children if I live near an agricultural field?

  • Don’t let your children play in the fields.
  • If workers are applying pesticides in the fields near your home, don’t let your children or pets go outside. Keep
    windows and doors closed.
  • Wash your children’s hands often, especially when they come inside and before they eat.

To learn more about specific kinds of pesticides and CERCH’s research findings, visit these CERCH pages:

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