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East Harlem, New York Study Proves IPM Successful and Economical
(Beyond Pesticides, July 23, 2003)
The Mount Sinai Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Center, in partnership with two East Harlem, New York City community health centers, has published a study showing that an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program significantly decreases cockroach infestations and is cost-effective. The research evaluating the effectiveness of IPM, published online on July 2, 2003 at Environmental Health Perspectives, was supported through grants from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and U.S. EPA.

Barbara L. Brenner, et al. measured glue-traps for household cockroach infestations at the start of the study for base-line data and then after six months. According to the study, a group of East Harlem families enrolled in the study received individually tailored IPM education, repairs, least-toxic pest control application and supplies, along with biweekly pest monitoring for two months and monthly for four months.

The results show that after six months, the IPM households with cockroaches declined from 39 to 80.5 percent, while the control group's cockroach levels were unchanged. The researchers also concluded that the cost of the tailored IPM program was equal to or lower than conventional pesticide control methods, even including the cost of structural repairs.

The study describes IPM as an alternative to conventional, chemical-based pest control that relies on non-chemical approaches, education, information on the life cycles of pesticides and their interaction with the environment, structural maintenance, sanitation and training. It goes on to state that prevention, especially structural repairs such as sealing cracks and crevices, is a key strategy to IPM. Throughout the study, plastic bait stations and gel were used only when deemed necessary and in place of pesticide sprays.

The research is part of the Center's "Growing Up Healthy in East Harlem" project. According to the study, additional follow-ups will be undertaken at one-year and two-year intervals.

For a wealth of information on IPM at schools, see Beyond Pesticides Children and Schools program page. For a national directory of pest control companies that use one or more non- or least-toxic tool to managing pest problems, see Beyond Pesticides' Safety Source for Pest Management.