Pesticide Update

Why Read Labels?

Injury or illness to a child or household pet is a parent’s worst nightmare. Did you know that many household products such as cleaners and pesticides could harm children, pets, or the environment if not used and stored correctly? Consumer product labels contain valuable use instructions and precautions that can help you keep your family, pets, and community safe. By reading the label first you can prevent accidents from occurring.

Labels Tell You:

• How to use a product safely and effectively.

• How to store the product safely.

• How to give first aid.

• Where to call for help or more information.

Common Examples of Pesticide Misuse - Mothballs

Be wary of recommendations for mothball use in inappropriate sites and against incorrect pests. Remember, the only recommendation that counts is the product label. The label is a legal document, and its instructions must be followed, particularly regarding where mothballs may be used and which pests they will control. In 2006, the National Pesticide Information Center recorded 769 mothball-related incidents and 465 reports of misapplication. By following the label instructions, these issues can be avoided.

Mothballs should not be used inside attics, wall voids, crawl spaces, gardens, trash cans, or vehicles. Often, mothballs are used in these locations in an effort to control some pest other than clothes moths. These pests include squirrels, skunks, deer, mice, rats, dogs, cats, raccoons, moles, snakes, pigeons, and a variety of other animals. Any such use is illegal. Since mothballs are registered pesticides, it is illegal to use them in locations that are not on the label. In addition, manufacturers do not claim that these products are effective for anything but control of moths (or carpet beetles for some products).  A relatively common mistake is placing mothballs in an attic to repel squirrels. This is a misapplication and may cause a noxious odor throughout the home. Family members may experience the adverse health effects or even have to leave the home.

Specific products and alternative strategies exist to repel many common pests. Choose methods that are legal and effective against the specific pest.

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