The answer is “yes.” According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pesticides are found in many household items. Here is a list of some of the items:
- Roach sprays and insect repellent for personal use
- Some swimming pool chemicals
- Kitchen, laundry, and bath disinfectants and sanitizers
- Products that kill mold and mildew
- Some lawn and garden products; some weed killers
- Flea & tick spray, powder, and pet collars
So exactly what is a pesticide? Why should you be concerned that your family is exposed to pesticides? Can your pets be affected by pesticides? Answers to these questions are vital to the health of your family.
So exactly what is a pesticide?
According to the EPA the definition basically is any substance or mixture of substances in which the intended use is to prevent, destroy, or repel pests.
So why should you be concerned if your family is exposed to pesticides?
The agency that oversees the licensing of pesticides says that pesticides can cause harm to humans, animals, or the environment because they are designed to kill or otherwise adversely affect living organisms. Pesticides contain “active ingredients” that have been known to cause skin rashes, nervous disorders, and even cancer in humans. However, even more alarming is the “inert ingredients.” By law, registrants of pesticides are exempt from listing on their label any of the chemicals or pesticides contained in the inert category. Unfortunately, the inert ingredients can be more toxic at times than the active ingredients. Inert doesn’t mean less potent than the active ingredient. It means that it just isn’t listed as the “active ingredient.” Here’s what you really need to know; some inert ingredients can cause adverse effects in humans. Yes you should be concerned.
Can your pets be affected by pesticides?
Absolutely! I recently discovered that even the well-known topical spot-on flea and tick products can be harmful to your pets and family. Spot-on flea and tick products are pesticides. These products are regulated through the EPA, Pesticide Division. Last year the EPA tightened regulations on the spot-on products due to an increase in adverse effects on dogs and cats reported in 2009. Your pet’s health can be affected from the use of spot-on flea products. Other pets in the household also exposed to the pesticide can be affected. Even more alarming, family members may have some degree of exposure to the spot-on, especially during initial application on your pet.
Obviously, we cannot get rid of all chemicals and pesticides around us. We also have to remember that pesticides do kill nasty pests. However, wisdom should dictate that we reduce the amount we are exposed to in our own home. So what can you do? Since some of our own household items can raise our level of exposure to pesticides, why not check out, PAN Pesticide Database ( http://www.pesticideinfo.org/ ). You can search by product name or the EPA PC code found on your label and follow the links to determine the toxicity level of a certain pesticide. The site is self-explanatory; just take your time and read. You will be quite surprised at what you learn.
You can also try natural alternatives to chemicals and pesticides. Do some research on natural ways to clean. I personally use white vinegar and cooking oil for a lot of cleaning jobs in the house. Also, with reference to fleas, I recommend only natural products. I almost killed my cat with a spot-on flea and tick product a few years ago. I recently checked the product on the PAN site, the product has NOW been cancelled or not licensed for sale. Read my latest article, Flea Control Treatment—Could Your Product Be Putting Your Pet’s Health at Risk, for a more detailed explanation of the problems with spot-on flea control. The natural product that I really like is TripleSure Flea and Tick Spray. It’s made of cedar and peppermint oils. There are great testimonials from many happy users. More importantly, healthy pets.
Once again, be smart and do the research on products you are personally exposed to. Make wise choices for products that have a lower toxicity rating. When possible, use all-natural products. In the long run, you will be the wiser for it!