I see so many articles about the dangers of pesticides, I’m leery about using any pesticides around my home! Should I be?
The short answer: No!
To explain: In today’s world, many people worry that if they use pesticides in and around the home, they’re putting themselves and their families at risk. While it’s true that at a certain dose ANY chemical may represent a safety concern (even water!), home use of labeled pesticides is quite safe when the manufacturer instructions are followed.
The US EPA takes a very conservative approach in evaluating the use of pesticides. Not only do they assess human health risks, or lack thereof, they evaluate the impact on the environment. Pesticide approval can take years depending on the data needed to evaluate the risk. But it is this level of scrutiny by the EPA, and other international authorities, that provides assurance that pesticide use in and around the home is safe.
These authorities scrutinize a wide range of factors before determining safe use. Among those are two key facts which can help consumers feel safe when using pesticides according to label instructions:
- As we’ve discussed in previous Simplified articles, the dose makes the poison. When one compares a human with an ant, a weed, or even a rodent, it is easy to see that the level needed to adversely impact these small pests is, in most cases, so low that the risk is inconsequential to humans.
- The mode of action of some pesticides is not even applicable to mammalian species, including humans. In fact, glyphosate, the active component in RoundUp, blocks an enzyme that is common in plants but is non-existent in mammals.
But because those with anti-chemical agendas are often given bigger media and social media play than are safe-use facts and advocacy, much of the worry surrounding pesticides comes down to misinformation or fear of the unknown.
Based on the intensive safety evaluations and continued oversight by international authorities, consumers can be assured that the use of pesticides marketed for home use is quite safe when the label directions are followed.