Take the following steps when talking with a commercial pest control service provider that is proposing to apply a pesticide in or around your home, neighborhood or school:
Advocate for non- and least toxic alternatives to be used. When you first contact a pest control company, inform them that you are concerned about the use of toxic pesticides and would like only non-toxic or least-toxic, if necessary, means of pest management to be used in and around your home, neighborhood or school. Read our ManageSafe page for more information on least toxic control of pesticides.
Be persistent. Some companies may give you a slew of reasons why you shouldn't worry about the health risks of pesticides and still try to tell you that conventional toxic pesticides are more effective. Don't give in. In virtually all cases of pest management, there are excellent prevention measures, and non- and least toxic alternatives which are more effective and are not associated with the high risk for pesticide poisoning.
Identify the pesticides the company is proposing to use. Background materials on the pesticides should then be assembled and reviewed. Ask the applicator to provide copies of the pesticide label and Material Safety Data Sheet on the pesticide(s). For additional information on the toxicity and health risks of a pesticide, click here for a list of toxic pesticide fact sheets available on this website. If the company is proposing to use a chemical that does not appear on this website, contact us at [email protected] or 202-543-5450.
Request verification of the training and state certification of those applying the pesticides. Those handling the pesticides are often operating "under the supervision" of trained personnel. Ask the company applying the pesticide whether the applicator has been trained and tested by the state. Ask that a copy certificate be provided for review.
Request prior notification before the pesticides are applied in your neighborhood or your child's school. This will at least give you and your children the opportunity to avoid the area.
Ask that areas treated with toxic pesticides be posted, prior to treatment. Posting of flags can alert people to stay off of and away from treated areas. Posting prior to the application of pesticides can serve as a warning to stay away. Signs should remain posted for at least 72 hours.
Alert the company that you are concerned about pesticide drifting onto your property. Monitor the drifting of pesticides and any adverse effects associated with their application. This can be health or environmental effects. Adverse effects should be reported to the state agency responsible for enforcing pesticide law. You can request an investigation and that an enforcement action be taken against the company. Send copies of all correspondence with state officials to your elected representatives and to Beyond Pesticides/NCAMP. Beyond Pesticides lists state pesticide agencies on its State Pages. Click on your state on the map and then on "Government Contacts."
Provide feedback to Beyond Pesticides/NCAMP on the Safety Source for Pest Management. Please let us know your thoughts on the company listed in Beyond Pesticides/NCAMP's National Directory that you used. If you know of a pest management company that should be listed in this directory, send us their name and contact information.