United States
Environmental Protection
Office of
Public Affairs (A-107)
Washington DC 20460
September 1987
Reprinted from the EPA Journal
A Consumer's Guide to
Safer  Pesticide Use

                         The Challenge  of Pesticides
                                        An Excerpt from  Silent Spring
Rachel Carson, writer and naturalist, raised the public consciousness about pesticides and their dangers in her book,
Silent Spring.  This year marks the 25th anniversary of the book. The editors of EPA Journal believe the following excerpt from
Silent Spring eloquently states the challenge of modem pesticides and  is appropriate to begin [his issue of the journal, which
focuses on these chemicals and EPA's role in regulating them.
   For the first time in the history of the world, every human
   being is now subjected to contact with dangerous
chemicals, from the moment of conception until death. In the
less than two decades of their use, the synthetic pesticides
have been so thoroughly distributed throughout the animate
and inanimate world that they occur virtually everywhere.
They have been recovered from most of the major river
systems and even from streams of ground water flowing
unseen through the earth. Residues of these chemicals linger
in soil to which they may have been applied a dozen years
before. They have entered and lodged in the bodies of fish,
birds, reptiles, and domestic and wild animals so universally
that scientists carrying  on animal experiments find it almost
impossible to locate subjects free from such contamination.
They have.been found in fish in remote mountain lakes, in
earthworms burrowing in soil, in the eggs of birds—and in
man himself. For these chemicals are now stored in the
bodies of the vast majority of human beings, regardless of age.
They occur in the mother's milk, and probably in the tissues
of the unborn child.
  All this has come about because of the  sudden rise and
prodigious growth of an industry for the production of
manmade or synthetic chemicals with insecticidal properties.
This industry is a child of the Second World War. In the
course of developing agents of chemical warfare, some of the
chemicals created in the laboratory were found to be lethal  to
insects. The discovery did not come by chance: insects were
widely used to  test chemicals as agents of death for man.
  The result has been a seemingly endless stream of synthetic
insecticides. In  being manmade—by ingenious  laboratory
manipulation of the molecules, substituting atoms, altering
their arrangement—they differ sharply from the simpler
insecticides of pre-war days. These were derived from
naturally occurring minerals and plant products—compounds
of arsenic, copper, lead, manganese, zinc, and other minerals,
pyrethrum from the dried flowers of chrysanthemums,
nicotine sulphate from some of the relatives of tobacco, and
rotenone from leguminous plants of the East Indies.
  What sets the new synthetic insecticides apart is  their
enormous biological  potency. They have immense power not
merely to poison but to enter into the most vital processes of
the body and  change them in sinister  and often deadly ways.
Thus, as we shall see, they destroy the very enzymes  whose
function is to  protect the the body from harm, they block the
oxidation processes from which the body receives its  energy,
they prevent the normal functioning of various organs, and
they may initiate in certain cells the slow and irreversible
change that leads to malignancy.
  Yet new and more deadly chemicals are added to the list
each year and new uses are devised so that contact with these
materials has  become practically worldwide. The production
of synthetic pesticides in the United States soared from
124,259,000 pounds  in 1947 to 637,666,000 pounds in
1960—more than a fivefold increase. The wholesale value of
these products was well over a quarter of a billion dollars.
But in the plans and hopes of the industry this enormous
production is  only a beginning.
  A Who's Who of pesticides is therefore of concern to us all.
If we are going to live so intimately with these
chemicals—eating and drinking them, taking them  into the
very marrow of our bones—we had better know something
about their nature and their power.
[Excerpted from Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, published by Houghton Miff Jin  Company, Boston. Copyright 1062 by Rachel
L. Carson. Reprinted by permission.)

A  Consumer's
Guide  to  Safer
     What is a "pest"? An insect, a
     fungus, a weed, a rodent, a mite, a
 mollusc, a nematode: any plant, animal,
 or microorganism that is bothersome,
 causes economic losses, or acts as a
 disease vector. If people want to get rid
 of pests, they use pesticides:
 insecticides, fungicides, herbicides.
 rodenticides, molluscicides,
 nematicides. etc.
  The similarity between these words
 and a word like "homicide" is no
 coincidence. The word element "cide"
 derives from the Latin verb that means
 "to kill." Simply put, a pesticide is a
 killer; that is what it is supposed to be.
 But in dealing with a killer, one must be
 wary, prudent. One must, to quote
 Shakespeare, "make assurance double
 sure." This Special Section of EPA
 Journal is designed to help you, the
 consumer, to be "double sure" that,
 when you deal with pesticides, you do
 so as safely as current technology
  Pests have been around for a long,
 long time. The dinosaur may be extinct.
 but a prehistoric monster of another
 sort,  the cockroach, has been crawling
 the earth since the Carboniferous period

 "A Consumer's Guide to Safer Pesticide
 Lrse" first appeared as a special section
 in the May 1987 issue of the EPA Jour-
 nal. Susan Te/ada of EPA's Office of
 Public Affairs edited the section.
 Thanks are oived to many EPA em-
 ployees who made valuable contribu-
 tions to this section. Frank Davido.
 /an Auerbach, Vivian Prunier. Gary Bol-
 lard. Tom Elhvanger. Christine Cillis,
 and Karen Flagstad. Special thanks to
 U'endy Butler and Carol Panasevvich of
 EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs and
 to Karen Slimak.  president of Applied
 Science and Technology, Inc.
•*lj    '

Victims of bubonic plumir. Flru-inlfstril
nils historically nen- tin- M»un e ui (he
plui>iit', cis they nrr today in sumr '/hinl
World notions. DDT is still thr /irsti. uli
'if < hoicp in  mum muni/ /Vs.
some 350 million years ago. Until
recently, people had to tolerate lice in
their clothing, worms in their food, fleas
in their bedding. But throughout
history, pests have brought problems far
worse than these discomforts. Diseases
transmitted by insects, rodents, and
bacteria led to deadly epidemics.
Famines resulted when locusts, fungi,
and other pests destroyed crops. During
the Great Potato Famine of 1845-49, for
example, Ireland lost almost a third of
its population.
  Attempts to use chemicals to control
pests have been  made since ancient
times. But it wasn't until World War II,
  when many new chemicals were
  manufactured for military purposes, that
  many pesticide chemicals in use today
  were developed.
    For several years following the war.
  pesticides were viewed as a sort of
  miracle. People rushed to use them, and
  to use more and more of them,  more
  and more frequently. Pesticides could
  do  the job: they could control
  long-standing pest problems, eradicate
  disease, increase crop yields, and the
  range of their potential ill effects was
  not apparent.
    Then, 25 years ago, in 1962, Rachel
  Carson's book. Silent Spring, was
  published, and the way people  would
  look at pesticides changed forever.
  Carson warned that the indiscriminate
  use of pesticides was poisoning the
  natural world. Since Silent Spring,
  advances in scientific knowledge and
  technology have shown many early fears
        about pesticides to be well-founded.
        Some cases in point:
        • Until fairly recently it was believed
        that ground water was protected from
        contamination by soil and rock.
        Pesticides were thought to be absorbed
        by. and bound to,  soil until  they
        degraded. But in 1979. two pesticide
        chemicals were discovered in ground
        water in several states. Since then, at
        least 17 pesticides have been detected
        in ground water in 23 states.
        • Modern technology has advanced to
        the point where chemicals can  be
        detected in soil and water in minute
        quantities, as low as one part per
        billion. According to Farm Journal, that's
        like finding one copper slug in  $10
        million worth of pennies.
        • Although health  risks associated with
        many pesticides are still unknown, data
        are beginning to accumulate. Last
 The Economics  of
  Pesticides have taken on a crucial
  role in the U.S. economy.
  Agricultural production now
  depends on pesticides,  as does an
  entire industry sector of
  manufacturers, formulators, and
  distributors. The following
  estimates of U.S. pesticide markets
  for 1985 are based on information
  from a variety of sources.
  • Pesticide use in the U.S. more
  than doubled in 21 years, from 540
  million pounds of active
  ingredients in 1964 to over 1
  billion pounds in 1985. While the
  agricultural sector has always
  accounted for most of this use, its
  percentage share has increased,
  from 59 percent of total U.S.  use in
  1964 to 77 percent in 1985.

  • Farmers spent $4.6 billion  on
  pesticides in 1985, nearly four
  percent of their total farm
  production expenditures.

  • Pesticides are used on as many
  as two million farms, in 75 million
  households, and  bv 40,000
commercial pest control firms fa
figure that covers structural as well
as agricultural custom applicators).
Together, these users spent $6.6
billion on pesticides in 1985.
•  Thirty major companies produce
most of the basic, technical
pesticide active ingredients sold
and  used in the United States. One
hundred smaller companies also
produce pesticide active
•  In addition to producers, the
pesticide industry includes more
than 3,000 companies that
formulate pesticides—mixing
active with inert ingredients to
produce end use products—and
29,000 distributors of pesticide     •
•  More than 11,000 people are
employed by pesticide producers
to do production work only—a
figure that does not include those
employed in research and
development. Tens of thousands
more are employed  by pesticide
formulators and distributors.
•  Pesticide producers spent $410
million  on  research and
development in 1985, of which
$120 million went to R&D related
to EPA registration requirements.
• About 400 million pounds of
pesticide active ingredients are
exported each  year; 100 million
pounds are imported.
Pesticides are used on approximately
fivo million U.S. /arms for a 1985 total
investment of $4.6 billion. Here a
farmer looks over his wheat crop to
/udge the results of his ivork.

September, the National Cancer Institute
reported that, in a study of Kansas
farmers, those who were exposed to the
chemical 2,4-D—a popular herbicide in
agriculture and home lawn care
products—were more likely to develop a
certain type of cancer than those who
were not exposed.

•  We now know that insects and other
pests develop resistance or immunity to
pesticides. In fact, according to the
World Resources Institute, the number
of species of insect pests resistant to one
or more pesticides almost doubled
between 1969 and  1980, and insect
resistance cost U.S. farmers $150
million in crop losses and increased
applications of chemicals in 1984.
•  Some early pesticides—like DDT and
other chlorinated hydrocarbon
compounds—were found to persist
almost indefinitely in the environment.
They move up through the food chain,
from animal or plant organisms to birds,
fish, animals, and eventually to humans
through food, and cause adverse health
effects in some species. DDT was
banned in 1971. Use of most of the
other chlorinated hydrocarbons has also
been banned or sharply restricted,
although some uses still are on the
   The cumulative result of these
discoveries has been that EPA now
ranks control of commercially used
pesticides as one of its top priorities.
   Americans depend heavily on
pesticides. The United States applies
about 45 percent of all pesticide
production to only 7 percent of the
world's cultivated land. While most
pesticides in the United States are used
on farms (see box, "The Economics of
Pesticides"), home and garden use
accounted for 14 percent of user
expenditures for pesticides in 1985.
  EPA's task, under the Federal
Insecticide, Fungicide,  and Rodenticide
Act, is to ensure that the risks  pesticides
pose to human health and the
environment do not outweigh the many
benefits that pesticides provide. Your
task—whether you  are among the legion
of  home and garden pesticide users, or
whether your only contact with
pesticides comes when you pick out an
orange in the supermarket—is to make
informed decisions about pesticides.
This Special Section  of EPA Journal
will  give you information to help you
make those decisions, and your
decisions will make a difference, o
  If the neighborhood kids mix up some
  lemonade, they can  set up a stand on
the street corner and sell their
concoction by the glass. Luckily for all
involved, the decision to produce,
market, and use pesticides cannot be
made so easily.  All pesticides marketed
in the U.S. must be registered by EPA.
  Pesticide regulation, which is
governed by the Federal Fungicide,
Insecticide, and Rodenticide Act, or
FIFRA, and the  Federal Food, Drug, and
Cosmetic Act, or FFDCA,  is a very
complicated process. EPA has
"registered" approximately 50,000
pesticide products chiefly on the basis
of their active ingredients—the
biologically active components in those
products. How the Agency handles each
registration submission depends on
whether the product is entirely new or
whether one or  more uses already are

New Pesticides

EPA  is responsible under  FIFRA for
registering new  pesticides to ensure
that,  when used according to label
directions, they will not present
unreasonable risks to human health or
the environment. The  law requires the
Agency to take into  account economic,
social, and environmental cost and
benefits in making decisions. In other
words, pesticide registration is a
pre-market review and licensing
program for all pesticides marketed in
the U.S., whether of domestic or foreign
  Pesticide registration decisions are
based on Agency evaluation of test data
provided by applicants. Required
studies include testing to show whether
a pesticide has the potential to cause
adverse effects in humans, fish, wildlife,
and endangered species. Potential
human risks include acute reactions
such as toxic poisoning and skin and
eye irritation, as well as possible
long-term  effects like cancer, birth
defects, or reproductive system
disorders.  Data on "environmental fate,"
or how a pesticide  behaves in the
environment, also are required so that
EPA can determine, among other things,
whether a pesticide poses a threat to
ground or  surface water.
  Most registration decisions are for
new formulations containing active
ingredients already registered with EPA,
or new uses of existing products. Other
registration decisions include
applications by states or federal
agencies for emergency exemptions to
allow special use of a pesticide for a

limited time to cover an unexpected,
localized pest outbreak; registrant
applications for experimental use
permits to develop data supporting full
registration of a new chemical or new
use; conditional registrations pending
full data development for products
containing existing active ingredients;
and for tolerances (or maximum residue
levels allowed) to support registrations
of pesticides on food or feed crops.


Under the FFDCA, EPA sets tolerances,
or maximum legal limits, for pesticide
residues on food  commodities marketed
in the U.S. The purpose of the tolerance

                    Continued on page 6
The pesticide protecting (he ivheat in
this grain elevator in Kudona, .Arkansas,
has had to be registered by EPA. Many
considerations enter into registering a
product such as extensive data  to shou
whether or not the pesticide has the
potential for causing adverse effects in
humans, domestic animals and ivildlife.
and whether the chemical poses a
threat to ground or surface ivater. There
are approximately 50,000 registered
pesticide products in commerce.
EPA  Options for


In regulating pesticides under
FIFRA, EPA chooses from a variety
of options:

  (D EPA can continue registration
with no  changes. (Risks and
benefits  are already in balance.)

  (2) EPA can modify the terms and
conditions of the registration to
lower risks.

   If the risk is to people who mix,
load, and apply the pesticide, EPA
can require:
• Protective clothing, such as
gloves, hats, respirators,
long-sleeve shirts, long pants,
and/or chemical-resistant aprons.
 • Restrictive use of the pesticide,
 or use only by persons who have
been certified by the  state as
qualified to apply pesticides.
• Prohibition of certain
formulation types, such as dusts or

• Protective equipment, such as
enclosed vehicles or closed
mixing/loading systems.
•  Warning statements on the label,
such as cancer or birth defect
risks, to encourage greater
compliance with risk reduction
measures stated on the label.
•  Reductions  in application rates
or in the frequency of applications.

•  Prohibition  of certain
application methods, such as aerial
spray or backpack sprayers.
•  Integrated pest management
practices, such as mechanical
methods or spraying only where
infestation  has occurred.

   If the risk is to farmworkers who
reenter treated fields, EPA can

•  Reentry intervals, which restrict
farmworkers from entering a field
for a certain period of time, unless
they are wearing specified
protective clothing.
•  Changes in formulation type or
application rates.
•  Posting of signs to warn
farmworkers that treatment has
   If the risk is to consumers of crops
which have been treated with
pesticides,  EPA can require:

•  Longer preharvest intervals, so
residues will have more time to
•  Changes  in the manufacturing
process to reduce levels of
contaminants or impurities.
•  Reduction in application rates or

  (3) EPA can  cancel use of the
pesticide. In such a case, EPA can
either cancel all uses; cancel
certain uses where risks are
particularly high; or phase in
cancellation to allow the
development of alternative
chemicals or technologies.

  (4) EPA can  suspend use of a
pesticide, on a regular or an
emergency basis, if the Agency
believes the pesticide poses an
imminent hazard. Suspension halts
the use of a pesticide until a
decision on its registration can be
made through  the cancellation

program is to ensure that U.S.
consumers are not exposed to unsafe
food-pesticide residue levels.
  Since residue chemistry and
toxicology are far more advanced now
than when pesticides were first
registered in this  country, EPA is
upgrading its traditional tolerance
system. Changes include refining dietary
consumption estimates, allowing more
extensive use of group tolerances for
related crops, and calling-in data to
bring the  data base up to contemporary
standards. Individual tolerances for
existing pesticides also are being
reassessed as part of the reregistration
process for old pesticides. And,  finally,
EPA is revoking tolerances for cancelled
pesticides and setting "action levels"
(for enforcement  purposes) for those
cancelled pesticides which take many
years to completely break down in the

Old Pesticides

Old pesticides registered and in use
before current scientific standards were
established also must be evaluated by
the "no unreasonable adverse effects"
guidelines applied to new pesticides. To
ensure that previously registered
pesticides meet current scientific and
regulatory standards, FIFRA requires
"reregistration" of all existing
pesticides. This is being accomplished
through EPA's "Registrations Standards"
and "Data Call-In" programs.
  To produce Registration Standards,
EPA reviews its data on existing active
ingredients to establish various
conditions registrants must meet for
reregistration of pesticide products
containing old active ingredients. In
order to obtain important data before
the Agency completes, or even begins, a
Registration Standard, EPA issues a Data
Call-in to registrants which identifies
data needed for reregistration of the
  These data are  used to determine
reregistration conditions. Such
conditions may include submission of
additional data; compliance with
product composition, labeling, and
packaging requirements; certain changes
in application methods and label
directions; and restricting some  or all
uses of the pesticides to certified
  EPA is proceeding with Registration
Standards on the basis of clusters of
similar-use pesticides, such as
termiticides, grain fumigants, and
fungicides. High-volume and food-use
pesticides are being assessed first.
  When the Agency receives  data
indicating a pesticide might cause
unreasonable adverse effects, EPA may
begin a Special Review of that pesticide
to determine whether or not regulatory
action is needed.
  Special Review is an intensive
analysis of all the data on a pesticide;
its risk and its benefits. When the
analysis is complete, the Agency chooses
one of the many regulatory options
available—anything from keeping the
current registration "as is" to an
emergency suspension of the pesticide.
(See box on EPA options for regulating
  Finally, since EPA's pesticide
regulation is an open process, outside
experts review  EPA's proposed and final
pesticide regulatory actions. This
includes a scientific review of all
cancellations, regulations, and other
major policy actions  by an  independent
Scientific Advisory Panel composed of
scientists nominated by the National
Institutes of Health and the National
Science Foundation;  and a benefits
review by the Secretary of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture to make sure
EPA considered the agricultural benefits
of the pesticide in proposed actions.
  The quality of regulatory decisions is
enhanced by the active participation of
those affected. Accordingly, EPA's
Office of Pesticide Programs encourages
public participation in regulatory
decision-making by keeping industry,
commodity, user, farmworker, and
public interest  groups informed of the
progress  of each decision as it wends its
way through the regulatory process.
Information about proposed pesticide
actions also is available through
organizations involved in pesticide
activities, and through the Federal
  The field of pesticide regulation is
very complex, merging science, public
policy, and law. Since scientific
knowledge constantly changes, as do the
needs of  society, the  pesticide
regulatory process is  far from static. Old
chemicals posing unreasonable risks are
being taken off  the market; new, more
thoroughly tested products are replacing
them. EPA will continue to update
pesticide decisions as knowledge
increases and improves. D
                                                                                  Federal Statutory
The Federal Insecticide,
Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act
(FIFRA) governs the licensing, or
registration, of pesticide products.
No pesticide may be marketed in
the U.S. until  EPA reviews an
application for registration,
approves each specific use pattern,
and assigns a  product registration
number and a pesticide producing
establishment number.
  Registration decisions are based
upon data demonstrating that use
will not result in unreasonable
human health or environmental
effects. In other words, FIFRA
balances the risks a pesticide may
pose with its benefits to society.
  FIFRA was first enacted in 1947.
The principal amendments were
passed in  1972, establishing the
"no unreasonable adverse effects"
standard, the risk/benefit approach,
and the task of re-evaluating all
previously registered pesticides.
  The Federal Food, Drug, and
Cosmetic Act  (FFDCA) governs,
among other things, pesticide
residue levels in food or feed crops
marketed in the  U.S. Before a
pesticide can be registered under
FIFRA for use on these  crops, EPA
sets a tolerance which specifies
an upper limit of allowable
pesticide residues on the crop.
Exemptions may be granted when
scientific data establish that the
residues do not present a hazard to
public health. Tolerances are
intended to be enforcement tools
and are set no higher than
necessary to legitimize registered
applications of pesticides. A
tolerance is not necessarily the
maximum safe level of pesticide
  The Food and Drug
Administration and the U.S.
Department of Agriculture  are
responsible for enforcing pesticide
tolerances set by EPA, and for
taking necessary regulatory action.


Exposure  to
   Because chemical pesticides are so
   widely used in our society, and
because of the properties of many of the
chemicals, low levels of pesticide
residues may actually be found
throughout much of our environment,
and may reach us in a variety of
ways—through food, water, and air.
  In regulating pesticides, EPA strives
to ensure that lawful  use of these
products will not result in harmful
exposures. Proper use of registered
products should yield residue levels
that are well within established safety
standards. Therefore,  the average
American's exposure  to  low-level
residues, though fairly constant, should
not cause alarm.
  Still, many people want to learn what
choices they can make to further  reduce
any potential risk associated with the
presence of low-level pesticide residues
in the environment, while still enjoying
the benefits that pesticides offer. Risk
stems both from the toxicity of a
chemical and the degree and duration of
an individual's exposure to it. You
cannot change the inherent toxicity of
pesticide products. But by limiting your
exposure to these products, you can
keep your risks to  a minimum.
  Below you will find descriptions of
the main pathways of human exposure
to pesticides, as well as suggestions on
ways to reduce overall exposure and
attendant risks. If,  however, you suspect
that you suffer from serious chemical
sensitivities, consult an expert to
develop a more personally tailored
approach to managing this problem.

Exposure Through Home Usage

While it is true that, over a lifetime,  diet
is the most significant source of
pesticide exposure for the general
public, on a short-term basis, the most
significant exposure source is personal
pesticide use.

Fruits and vegutables should be ivashed
thoroughly nith ivuler.  scrub them ivith
a brush and peel them, if possible.
  An array of pesticide products,
ranging widely in toxicity and potential
effects, is available "off the  shelf" to the
private user. Agency statistics show that
about 91 percent of U.S. households use
pesticides. No special training is
required to purchase or use these
products, and no one is looking over the
user's shoulder, monitoring his
vigilance in reading and following label
instructions. Yet many of these products
are hazardous, especially if they are
stored, handled, or applied  improperly.
  To minimize the hazards  and
maximize  the benefits that pesticides
bring, exercise caution and  respect
when using any pesticide product. You
will find many tips on how to handle
pesticides covered elsewhere  in this
Special Section. Some of the tips bear

• When you must use a pesticide, read
and follow all label directions and
precautions. EPA regards labeling as the

primary means of conveying vital
information about the product. Label
directions are  legally enforceable,
carrying the weight of law. Therefore, if
mishaps occur during your use of a
registered pesticide, you may be held
legally responsible. More importantly,
deviating from the label may damage
your health and/or property. Consider
pesticide labeling to be what it is
intended to be: your best guide to using
pesticides safely and effectively.

•  Pretend that the pesticide product
you are using is more toxic than you
think it is. Take special precautions to
ensure an extra margin of protection for
yourself, your family, and pets.
•  Don't use more pesticide than the
label says. You may not achieve a
higher degree of pest control, and you
will certainly experience a higher
degree of risk.
•  If you hire  a pest control firm to do
the job, ask the company to use  the least
toxic or any chemical-free pest control
means available. For example, some
home pest control companies offer an
electro-gun technique to control termite
and similar infestations by penetrating
infested areas and "frying" the problem
pests without using any chemicals.
•  And remember: sometimes a
non-pesticidal approach is as
convenient and effective as its chemical
alternatives. Consider using such
alternative  approaches whenever

 Exposure Through Food

Commercial Food
Throughout life—beginning even before
birth—we all are exposed  to pesticides.
A major exposure route is through our
diets. We constantly consume small
amounts of pesticides. Field-grown raw
agricultural commodities,  as well as
meat, poultry, eggs, and milk, are all
likely to contain measurable pesticide
residues. Ingesting pesticides along with
our food is a price we pay  for using
these chemicals to produce an
abundant, varied food supply.
   EPA sets standards, called tolerances,
to limit the amount of pesticide residues
that legally  may remain in food or feed
marketed through U.S. channels of
commerce. Both domestic and imported
foods are monitored by the Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S.
Department of Agriculture  (USDA) to
ensure compliance with these
tolerances. (See the article on
enforcement.)  Further, since residues
degrade over time and through
processing, residue concentrations in or
on most foods are well below
established tolerance levels by the time
the foods are purchased.
  Although EPA does limit dietary
pesticide exposure through tolerances,
you may wish to take extra precautions.
You can take several steps to reduce
your exposure to residues in purchased

•  Rinse fruit and vegetables thoroughly
with water; scrub them with a brush
and peel them, if possible. Although
this surface cleaning will not remove
"systemic" pesticide residues taken up
into the growing plant, it will remove
much of the existing surface residues,
not to mention any dirt.

•  Cook or bake foods to reduce the
amount of some (but not all) pesticide
•  Trim the fat from meat and poultry.
Discard the fats and oils in broths and
pan drippings, since residues of some
pesticides concentrate in fat.
•  Take note of any available
information. EPA provides fact sheets
on many frequently-used agricultural
pesticides to  aid you in making more
informed choices about the foods you
buy and eat.

Home-grown  Food

Growing some of your own food can be
both a pleasurable activity and a way to
reduce your exposure to pesticide
residues in food. But, even here, there
are some things you may want to do to
assure that exposure is limited.
• Before converting land in an urban or
suburban area to gardening, find out
how the land was used previously.
Choose a site that had limited (or no)
chemical applications and where drift
or runoff from your neighbor's activities
will not result in unintended pesticide
residues on your produce. Choose a
garden site strategically to avoid these
potential routes of entry, if possible.
  If you are taking over an existing
garden plot, be aware that the soil may
contain pesticide residues from previous
gardening activities. These residues may
remain in the soil for several years,
depending on the persistence of the
pesticides that were used. Rather than
waiting for the residues to decline
naturally over time, you may speed the

•  Plant an interim, non-food crop like
annual rye grass, clover, or alfalfa.  Such
crops, with their dense, fibrous root
systems, will take up some of the
lingering pesticide residues. Then
discard the crops—don't work them
back into the soil—and continue to
alternate food crops with cover crops in
the off season.

•  During sunny periods, turn over the
soil as often as every  two to three days
for a week or two. The sunlight will
break down, or photodegrade, some of
the pesticide residues.
   Once you do begin gardening, develop
strategies that will reduce your need for
pesticides while maintaining good crop

•  Concentrate on building your garden's
soil, since healthy soil grows healthy
plants. Feed the soil with compost,
manure, etc., to increase its capacity to
support strong crops.

•  Select seeds and seedlings from
hardy, disease-resistant varieties. The
resulting plants are less likely to need
pesticides in order to flourish.

•  Avoid monoculture gardening
techniques. Instead, alternate rows of
different kinds of plants to prevent
significant pest problems from

•  Rotate your crops yearly to reduce
plant susceptibility to over-wintered

•  Become familiar with integrated pest
management  (IPM) techniques, so that
you can manage any pest outbreaks that
do occur without relying solely on
pesticides. (See article on consumer

•  Mulch your garden with leaves, hay,
grass  clippings, shredded/chipped bark,
or seaweed. Avoid using newspapers to
keep down weeds, and sewage sludge to
fertilize plants. Newsprint may contain
heavy metals; sludge  may contain heavy
metals and pesticides, both of which
can leach into your soil.

Food  from the Wild

While it might seem that hunting your
own game, catching your own fish, or
gathering wild plant foods would
reduce your overall exposure to
pesticides, this isn't necessarily so. Wild
foods hunted, caught, or gathered in
areas  where pesticides are most
frequently used outdoors may contain
pesticide residues. Migratory species
also may bear residual pesticides  if
these  chemicals are used anywhere in
their fly ways.
  Tolerances generally are not
established or enforced for pesticides
found in wild game, fowl, fish, or

Pesticides:  They're Everywhere
Angelwing. . . Moses in the
Cradle. . . Adam's
Needle. . . Wandering Jew. .  . St.
John's Wort. . . Devil's
Ivy. . Jacob's Ladder. . .Star of
Bethlehem. . .
These religious allusions come not
from a collection of Biblical
commentary, but from "Category
31, Ornamental Herbaceous
Plants," one of 99 categories in an
EPA compilation of possible
pesticide application sites. The
EPA list illustrates two important
facts about pesticides: not all are
used in agriculture, and not all
that are used in agriculture are
used to grow fruits and vegetables.

  You probably already know
about some of the following places
where pesticides are used. Others
may surprise you. All of the
categories come from the list,
"EPA Site Categories for Preparing
and Coding Pesticide Labeling."
(Remember that "pesticides"
include fungicides, herbicides,
rodenticides, disinfectants,
nematicides, etc., as well as
•  Fiber crops—cotton and hemp,
for example.
•  Specialized field crops, such as
•  Crops grown for oil, such as
castor bean and safflower.
•  Forest trees and Christmas  tree
•  Ornamental lawns and turf, like
golf fairways.
•  Ornamental shrubs and vines,
like mistletoe.
•  General soil treatments, such as
manure and mulch.
•  Household and domestic
•  Processed non-food products —
textiles and paper, for example.
•  Fur and wool-bearing animals,
such as mink and fox; laboratory
and zoo animals; and pets.
(Pesticides are used in animal
sprays, dips, collars, wound
treatments, litter and bedding
treatments, etc.)
 • Dairy farm milk-handling
 • Wood protection treatments,
 such as those applied to railroad
 ties, lumber, boats, and bridges.
 • Aquatic sites, including
 swimming pools, diving boards,
 fountains, and hot tubs.
 • Uncultivated, non-agricultural
 areas, such as airport landing
 fields, tennis courts,  highway
 rights-of-way, oil tank farms,
 ammunition storage depots,
 petroleum tank farms, saw mills,
 and drive-in theaters.
 • General indoor/outdoor
 treatments, in bird roosting areas,
 for example, or mosquito
 abatement districts.
 • Hospitals. Pesticide application
 sites include syringes, surgical
 instruments, pacemakers, rubber
 gloves, bandages, and bedpans.
 • Barber shops and beauty shops.
 • Mortuaries and funeral homes.
 • Industrial preservatives used to
 manufacture such items as paints,
 vinyl shower curtains, and
 disposable diapers.
 • Articles used on the human
 body, like human hair wigs,
 contact lenses, dentures, and
 insect repellants.
 • Refuse and solid waste sites.
 Home trash compactors and
 garbage disposals fall in this

 • Specialty uses, such as
 mothproofing and preserving
 animal and plant specimens in
 museum  collections.
    plants. Thus, if you consume food from
    the wild, you may want to take the
    following steps to reduce  your exposure
    to  pesticide residues.
    • Although wild game is  very lean and
    thus carries a relatively small body
    burden of pesticides, avoid hunting in
    areas where pesticide usage is very
    • Avoid fishing in water bodies where
    water contamination is known to have
    occurred. Pay attention to posted
    signs warning of contamination.
    • You may want to consult with fish
    and game officials where you plan to
    hunt or fish to  determine  whether there
    are any pesticide problems associated
    with that area.
    • When picking wild plant foods, avoid
    gathering right next to a road, utility
    right-of-way, or hedgerow between farm
    fields  which probably has been treated
    (directly or indirectly) with pesticides.
    Instead, seek out fallow fields, deep
|    woods, or other areas where pesticide
    use is unlikely.
    • When preparing wild foods, trim fat
    from meat, and discard skin of fish to
    remove as many fat-soluble pesticide
    residues as possible. For wild plant
    foods, follow the tips provided for
    commercial food.

    Exposure Through Water

    Whether it conies from surface or
    ground-water sources, the water flowing
    from your tap may contain low levels of
      When pesticides  are applied to land, a
    certain amount may run off the land
    into streams and rivers. This runoff,
    coupled with industrial discharges, can
    result in low-level contamination of
    surface water. In certain hydrogeologic
    settings—sandy soil, for example, over a
    ground-water source that is near the
    surface—pesticides can leach down to
    the ground water.
      EPA's Water Program sets standards
    and provides advisory levels for
    pesticides and  other chemicals that may
    be found in drinking water. Public
    municipal water systems test their water
    periodically and provide treatment or
    alternate supply sources if residue
    problems arise. Private wells generally
    are not tested unless the well owner
    requests such analysis.
      If you get your drinking water from a
    private well, you can reduce the chance
Pesticides are used in swimming
pools to ward off bacteria and

of contaminating your water supply by
following these guidelines.

• Be cautious about using pesticides
and other chemicals on your property,
especially if the well is shallow or is not
tightly constructed. Check with your
EPA regional office or county
cooperative extension service before
using a pesticide outdoors, to determine
whether it is known or suspected to
leach  to ground water. Never use or mix
a pesticide near your wellhead.

• To  avoid surface pesticide
contamination problems, be sure your
well extends downward to aquifers that
are below, and isolated from, surface
aquifers, and be sure the well shaft is
tightly sealed. If you have questions
about pesticide or other chemical
residues in your well water, contact
your state or county health department.

• If your well water is analyzed and
found to contain pesticide residue levels
above established  or recommended
health standards, you may wish to use
an alternate water source such  as
bottled water for drinking and  cooking.
The best choice is distilled spring water
in glass  bottles.  Ask your local bottler
for the results of a recent pesticide

Exposure Through Air

Outdoors, air currents may carry
pesticides that were applied on adjacent
property or miles  away. But there are
steps  you can take to reduce your
exposure to airborne pesticide  residue,
or drift,  outdoors.  To reduce your
exposure to airborne pesticides:

• Avoid applying pesticides in windy
weather (when winds exceed 10 mph).

• Use coarse droplet nozzles to reduce

• Apply the spray as close to the target
as possible.

• Keep the wind to your side so that
sprays and dusts do not blow into your

• If someone else  is applying pesticides
outdoors near your home, stay  indoors
with your pets and children, keeping
doors  and windows closed. If it is  very
windy during the pesticide application,
stav inside for an hour or two.  If
pesticides are applied frequently near
your home (if you live next to fields
receiving regular pesticide treatment),
consider planting a buffer zone of
thick-branched trees and shrubs upwind
to help serve as a buffer zone and

• In many areas, local governments
require that the public be notified  in
advance of area-wide or broad-scale
pesticide spray activities and programs,
through announcements in newspapers,
letters to  area residents, or posting of
areas to be treated. Some communities
have also enacted "right to know"
ordinances which require public
notification, usually through posting, of
lawn treatments and other small-scale
outdoor pesticide uses. If your local
government does not require
notifications, either for large- or
small-scale applications,  you may want
to work with local officials to develop
such requirements.
  Indoors, the air you breathe may bear
pesticide residues long after a pesticide
has been  applied to objects in your
home or office, or to indoor surfaces
and crawl spaces. Such problems are
becoming increasingly apparent.
Pesticides dissipate more slowly indoors
than outdoors. In addition, energy
efficiency features built into many
homes reduce air exchange, aggravating
the problem. To limit your exposure to
indoor pesticide residues:

• Use pesticides indoors only when
absolutely necessary, and then use only
limited amounts. Provide adequate
ventilation during and after application.
If you hire a pest control company,
oversee its activities carefully. (See box,
"How to Choose a Pest Control

• If pesticides are used inside your
home, air out the house often, since
outdoor air generally is fresher and
purer than indoor air. Open  doors  and
windows, and run overhead or whole
house fans to exchange indoor air for
outside air rapidly and completely.

• If pesticides have been used
extensively and an indoor air
contamination problem has developed,
clean—scrub—all surfaces where
pesticides may have settled, including
cracks and crevices. Consult a
knowledgeable professional for advice
on appropriate cleaning materials if soap
and water are insufficient.a
Consumers  and
Toward  an
   THEY'RE THERE. Whether you see
   them or not, you know they're
there—in your home,  your vegetable
garden, your lawn, your fruit and shade
trees, your flowers, and on your pets.
They are pests—insects, weeds, fungi,
rodents, and others.
  American households and their
surrounding grounds  have the  dubious
honor of being host not only to the most
common structural pests (termites,
cockroaches, fleas, rodents), but also to
a huge array of pests that are more
commonly associated with agriculture.
Because pests are all
around—sometimes creating a  nuisance
but sometimes causing severe financial
loss—consumers increasingly have
turned to pesticides to control  them,
and EPA registers thousands of
pesticide products for use in and
around homes.
  An EPA survey of household
pesticide use nationwide concluded that
nine out of 10  American households use
pesticides. Of those people  participating
in the survey, less than 50 percent read
pesticide labels for information
regarding application procedures and
preventive measures,  and only nine
percent  used pesticide products with
caution; 85 percent used them  without
reservation. Few users sought additional
information on pesticides from outside
sources  such as county agricultural
extension agents.
  Although the survey was conducted
in 1976  and 1977, there is every reason
to believe that household pesticide use
has only increased in the last 10 years.
In light  of this fact, it is important that
consumers make informed choices about
pest control. Those choices will
determine, in part, their overall levels of
exposure and associated risk. The
course of action taken should be based
on achieving the desired result for the
desired  period of time, using the least
toxic method, or combination of
methods, to treat the problem.

Before you can control a pest, you must
know what it is.  Therefore, the most
important first step in pest control is a
rather obvious one: identify the pest.
Some pests, or signs of them, are
unmistakable. Others are not. For
example, some plant "diseases" are
really indications of insufficient soil
  Three sources  are particularly helpful
in identifying pests and appropriate pest
control methods: reference books, such
as insect field guides or gardening
books; county agricultural extension
agents; and pesticide dealers.
  Before you actually begin pest control,
decide what level of treatment you
want. Is anyone in the family  or
neighborhood particularly sensitive to
chemical pesticides? Does your lawn
need to be totally weed-free? Do you
need every fruit, vegetable, or flower
you grow? Will you accept some
blemished produce? In other words, do
you need to eliminate all weeds and
insects, or can you tolerate some pests?
Remember that total pest elimination is
virtually impossible, and requires more
chemical follow-up than pest control.
Remember, too, that to manage any pest
effectively, you must use each method
correctly and abide by all pertinent
local, state, and federal regulations.

                   Continued on page 14
      Tips  for  Safe


      Pesticides are not safe. They are
      produced specifically because they
      are toxic to something. By heeding
      all the following tips, you can
      reduce your risks when you use
      •  All pesticides legally marketed
      in the U.S. must bear an
      EPA-approved label; check the
      label to make sure it bears an EPA
      registration number.
      •   Before using  a pesticide, read
      the entire label.  Even if you have
      used the pesticide before, read the
      label again—don't trust your
      memory. Read all directions,
      precautions, and the Statement of
      Practical Treatment before you
      begin. Use of any pesticide not in
      accordance with label directions
      and precautions is subject to  civil
      and/or criminal penalties.

      • Do not use a restricted use
      pesticide unless you  are a certified
      applicator. These products are too
      dangerous to be used without
      special training.
      •  Follow use directions carefully.
          only the amount directed, at
   the time and under the conditions
   specified, and for the purpose
   listed. Don't think that twice the
   dosage will do twice the job. It
   won't. What's worse, you may
   harm yourself, others,  or whatever
   you are trying to protect.
   • Look for one of the following
   signal words on the front of the
   label. It will tell you how
   poisonous a pesticide is if
   swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed
   through skin.
     "DANGER" means highly
     "WARNING" means moderately
     "CAUTION" means least
   • Wear whatever degree of
   protective clothing the label
   recommends: long sleeves or
   pants, impervious gloves, vinyl or
   rubber (not canvas  or leather)
   footwear, hat, safety goggles, and a
   respirator. Personal protective
   clothing usually is  available at
   home building supply stores.

   • If you must mix or dilute the
   pesticide, do so outdoors or in a
   well-ventilated area. Mix only the
   amount you need and use
   recommended portions. (See box,
   "Determining Correct Dosage.")
• Keep children and pets away
from areas where you mix or apply
• If a spill occurs, clean it up
promptly. Don't wash it away.
Instead, sprinkle with sawdust,
vermiculite, or kitty litter; sweep
into a plastic garbage bag; and
dispose with the rest of your trash.

• Remove toys from the area to be
treated. Remove food, dishes, pots,
and pans before treating kitchen
cabinets, and don't let pesticides
get  on these surfaces. Wait until
shelves dry before refilling them.
• Allow adequate ventilation
when applying pesticides indoors.
Go  away from treated areas for at
least the length of time prescribed
by the  label. When spraying
outdoors,  close the windows of
your home.

• Most surface sprays should be
applied only to limited areas; don't
treat entire floors, walls,  or
ceilings. Before spraying, remove
birds and pets, and cover
aquariums and fish bowls.
              Continued on page 12

          Continued from p. 11

      •  Never place rodent or insect
      baits where small children or pets
      can reach them.
      •  When applying spray or dust
      outdoors, cover fish ponds, and
      avoid applying pesticides near
      wells. Always avoid
      over-application when treating
      lawn, shrubs, or garden. Runoff or
      seepage from excess pesticides
      may contaminate water supplies.
      Excess spray may leave harmful
      residues on home-grown produce.
      •  Keep herbicides away from
      non-target plants. Avoid applying
      any pesticide to blooming plants,
especially it you see honeybees or
other pollinating insects around
them. Avoid birds' nests when
spraying trees.
• Never spray or dust outdoors on
a windy day.
• Never smoke while applying
pesticides. You could easily carry
traces of the pesticide from hand
to mouth. Also, some products are

• Never transfer pesticides to
containers not intended for them,
such as  empty soft drink bottles.
Keep pesticides in containers that
clearly and prominently identify
the contents. Properly refasten all
childproof caps.
                                          Correct  Dosage
                                          So much information is packed
                                          onto pesticide labels that there is
                                          usually no room to include
                                          examples of each dilution
                                          applicable to the multitude of
                                          home-use situations. As a result,
                                          label examples may inadvertently
                                          encourage preparation of more
                                          pesticide than is needed. The
                                          excess may contribute to overuse,
                                          safety problems related to storage
                                          and disposal, or simply wasted
                                          expense of unused pesticide.
                                            Determining the correct dosage
                                          for different types of pesticides
                                          requires some simple calculations.
                                          The following information can
                                          help you to prepare the minimum
                                          quantity of pesticide needed for
                                          your immediate use situation.
• Shower and shampoo throughly
after using a pesticide product.
Wash the clothing that you wore
when applying the product
separately from the family laundry.
To prevent tracking chemicals
inside, also rinse boots  and shoes.
• Before using a pesticide product,
know what to do in case of
accidental poisoning. (See article
on pesticide emergencies.)

• In a sink or toilet, triple rinse
tools or equipment, including any
containers or utensils used to mix
the chemicals, to remove residues,

• Evaluate the results of your
pesticide use.
                                       For example, the product label
                                     says "For the control of aphids on
                                     tomatoes mix 8 fluid ounces of
                                     pesticide into \ gallon water and
                                     spray until foliage is wet." Your
                                     experience has been that your six
                                     tomato plants require only one
                                     quart of pesticide to wet all the
                                     foliage. Therefore, only 2 fluid
                                     ounces of the pesticide should be
                                     mixed into 1 quart of water. Why?
                                     Because a quart is one*fourth of a
                                     gallon, and 2 fluid ounces  mixed
                                     into 1 quart makes the same
                                     strength spray recommended by
                                     the label, but in a quantity that can
                                     be used up all at once.
                                       Consumers can solve problems
                                     similar to this one with careful
                                     arithmetic, good measurements,
                                     and intelligent use of the
                                     information provided here.
                                     How To Measure

                                     If you need to determine the size
                                     of a square or rectangular area,
                                     such as a lawn for a herbicide
                                     application, measure and multiply
                                     the length and width. For example,
                                     an area 10 feet long by 8 feet wide
                                     contains 80 square feet (sq. ft.).
                                     Common area measurements may
                                     involve square yards (1  square
                                     yard = 9 sq. ft.) or square feet (1
                                     sq. ft. = 144 square inches).
                                       If you need to determine the
                                     volume of a space such as a room,
                                     measure and multiply the room's
                                     length, width, and height. For
                                     example, a space 10 feet long, 8

                                                                                  If pesticide in spilled,  it should he
                                                                                  covered Tvifh kitty litter, sciivduM or
                                                                                  verrniculite. and sirept info a pKi.sIn:
                                                                                  bag to be disposed of uJong u idi Irtish.

                                                                                  Fumes from u pesticide should not be
                                                                                  inhaJed. dnd smoking while mixing
                                                                                  makes a person tuice a* vulnerable lo
feet wide, and 8 feet high contains
a volume of 640 cubic feet (cu ft.).
You would use this procedure, for
instance, for an aerosol release to
control cockroaches.
   Most residential-use pesticides
are measured in terms of volume.
Some common equivalents are:
 1 gallon (gal.)
 1 quart
 1 pint
 1 cup
= 128 fluid ounces (fl. oz.)
=  4 quarts (qt.)
=  8 pints (pt.)
=  16 cups

=  32fl,oz.
=  2 pt
=  4 cups

=  16fl.oz
=  2 cups

=  Bfl.oz.
 1 tablespoon (tbsp.) =  1/2 fl. oz.
              = 3 teaspoons (tsp.)
 1 teaspoon
=  1/6fl.oz.
  In measuring teaspoons or
tablespoons of pesticide, use only
level spoonfuls, and never use the
same measuring devices for food
  The following tables provide
examples to help you convert label
information to your specific use
situations. "Amount" can be any
measure of pesticide quantity.
However, the same unit of  measure
must be used on both sides of the
chart. For example, 8 fluid ounces
per gallon of water is equivalent to
2 fluid ounces per quart of water.
Pesticide Label Says Mix
Amount of Pesticide Per
8 units 1 gal. water
16 units 1 gal. water
32 units 1 gal. water
128 units 1 gal, water
Pesticide Label Says Apply
Amount of Pesticide Per
1 unit 1,000 sq.ft. EQUALS
2 units 1,000 sq. It. EQUALS
5 units 1,000 sq.ft. EQUALS
10 units 1,000 sq. ft. EQUALS
Pesticide Labe! Says Release
Aerosol Cans Per
1 10,000 cu. ft. EQUALS
1 5,000 cu. ft. EQUALS
1 2,500 cu. ft. EQUALS
Amount 01 Pesticide Pei
1 qt. Water
EQUALS 2 units
EQUALS 4 units
EQUALS 8 units
EQUALS 32 units
A'Tiounioi Pesticide Pet
20,000 sq. ft. 10,000 sq. ft.
20 units 10 units
40 units 20 units
100 units 50 units
200 units 100 units
Cans Pei
20,000 cu. ft. 1 0,000 cu. ft.
2 I
4 2
8 4
1 pt. Water
1 unit
2 units
4 units
16 units

500 sq. ft.
1/2 unit
1 unit
21/2 units
5 units

5,000 cu. ft.
don't use
                          Not all dosage rates are included
                        in the above examples. For rates
                        not included, remember that, for
                        pesticides not diluted with water,
                        proportionally change both the
                        quantity of pesticide and the area,
                        volume, or number of items
                        treated. For example, one-half
                        pound per 1,000 sq. ft. is
                        equivalent to one-quarter pound
                        per 500 sq. ft. For a pesticide
                        which is diluted with water,
                        proportionally change the quantity
                        of pesticide, the quantity of water,
                        and the area, volume, or number of
                        items treated. For example,
                        one-half pound of pesticide in 1
                        gallon of water applied to
1,000 sq. ft. is equivalent to \ pound
of pesticide in 2 gallons of water
applied to 2,000 sq. ft.
  There is a point at which
measurements needed for smaller
quantities of pesticides are too
minute to be accurately measured
with typical domestic measuring
devices. In such cases, the user
can either mix the larger volume,
realizing that there will be leftover
material; obtain a more accurate
measuring device, such as a
graduated cylinder or a scale
which measures small weights; or
search for an alternative pesticide
or less concentrated formulation of
the same pesticide.

                         r  77

There is another important question to
ask in making pest control decisions: Is
there something about the site that
supports the  pest population that can  lie
eliminated7 The answer to this question
may lead you to take some common
sense steps to modify pest  habitat:

•  Remove water sources. All pests.
vertebrate or  invertebrate, need water
for survival. Fix leaky plumbing and do
not let water  accumulate in your home.
That means no  water in trays under
your houseplants overnight if you have
a cockroach infestation.

•  Remove food sources (if the pest's
food is anything other than the plant or
animal you are trying to protect]. This
could mean placing your food in sealed
glass or plastic containers, not leaving
your pet's tood out for long periods of
time,  and placing your refuse in tightly
covered, heavy-gauge garbage cans.

•  Remove or destroy pest  shelter. Caulk
cracks and crevices to Control
cockroaches;  remove from  under or
around homes  piles of  wood that attract
termites; remove and destroy diseased
plants, tree primings, and fallen fruit
that might harbor the pest.

•  Remove breeding sites. The presence
of pet manure  encourages flies: litter
encourages rodents; and unneeded
standing water provides a perfect
breeding place tor mosquitoes.

• Remove sources of preventable stress
to plants (flowers, trees, vegetable
plants, and turf).  Plant at the optimum
time of year. Mulch to reduce
competition and maintain even soil
temperature and moisture. Provide
adequate water.

Non-chemical Controls

If you can practice some of the above
techniques, you will reduce your
chances, or frequency, of pest
infestation. However, if the infestation
is already present, do you have any
control alternatives besides chemical
  The answer is an emphatic "yes." One
of several non-chemical treatment
alternatives may be appropriate. Like
preventive techniques, these actions
depend on the site and the pest.
Treatment possibilities include:

• Biological treatments, including
predators such as purple martins,
praying mantises, and lady bugs;
parasites; and pathogens such as
bacteria, viruses,  and other
microorganisms like Bacillus
thuringiensis and milky spore disease.
EPA policy is encouraging the
development of biological pesticides.

• Cultural treatments, including land
use, water use. structural and landscape
design,  spacing,  selection of
disease-resistant seed or plant varieties,
trap crops, crop rotation, and
 • Mechanical treatments, including
 cultivating to control weeds,
 hand-picking weeds from turf and pests
 from plants, trapping to control rodents
 and some insects, and screening living
 space to limit mosquito and fly access.
   Some people find it difficult to
 believe that non-chemical control
 methods can be effective. But the fact  is,
 these methods really work.  They do
 have some disadvantages: results are not
 immediate, and more work  may be
 needed to make a home or garden less
 attractive to pests. But the advantages  of
 non-chemical methods  are many. They
 are generally effective for longer periods
 of time. They do not create  hardy,
 pesticide-resistant pest  populations.
 And they can be used without
 safeguards, because  they pose virtually
 no hazards to human health or the

 Chemical  controls

 If you decide that chemical  pesticides
 can provide the best solution to your
 problem, and that you want to control
 the pests yourself rather than turning
 the problem  over to  a certified pest
 control operator, then you have an
 important decision to make: which
 product to choose. Before making that
 decision, learn as much as you can
 about a product's active ingredient, its
 biologically active agent. How rapidly
 does the active ingredient break down?
 Is it suspected of causing chronic health
 effects? Is it toxic to non-target wildlife
 and housepets? Is it  known, or
 suspected, to  leach into ground water?
  Here again, your county agricultural
extension agents, reference books,
pesticide dealers, your state  lead
pesticide agency, or your regional EPA
office may be able to provide assistance.
  When you have narrowed your
choices about active  ingredients, you are
ready to select a pesticide product.
Choose the least toxic pesticide that can
achieve the results you  desire. Read the
label. It will not only list active
ingredients, but also the target pests (for
example, mites, flies, Japanese beetle
grubs,  broad-leafed weeds, algae, etc.),
and where the product may be used (for
example, lawns, specific vegetable
crops,  roses, swimming pools, etc.). Be
sure that the place where you intend to
use the pesticide is included among the
sites listed on the label.
                                                                                 This gardener has decided (o avoid
                                                                            *'i   using pesticides and is weeding her
                                                                            •F   vard bv hand.

Storing  and Disposing of Pesticides Safely

Unlike farmers, who often handle large quantities of pesticides, homeowners
tend to use only small amounts. But small amounts can be just as dangerous
as large amounts, if they are not stored or disposed of properly. The following
tips on home storage and disposal can help you handle pesticides safely.


•  Buy only enough product to carry you through the use season to reduce
storage problems.

•  Store pesticides away from children and pets as soon as you bring them
into the house, and again immediately after each use. A locked cabinet in a
well-ventilated utility area or garden shed is best.
•  Store flammable liquids outside living quarters and away from an ignition
•  Mix only the amount you need for the job at hand.
•  Never put pesticides in cabinets with, or near, food, medical supplies, or
cleaning materials. Always store pesticides  in their original containers,
complete with labels that list ingredients, directions for use, and antidotes in
case of accidental poisoning. Apply transparent tape over the label to keep it
legible. Never transfer pesticides to soft drink bottles or other containers that
children may  associate with something to eat or drink. Always properly
refasten child-proof closures or lids.
•  Avoid storing pesticides in places where flooding is possible, or in open
places where they might spill or leak into the environment. If you have any
doubt about the content of a container, throw it out.


•  Follow label directions for guidance on product (and container) disposal.
•  To dispose  of less than a full container of a liquid pesticide, leave it in the
original container, with the cap securely in place to prevent spills or leaks.
Wrap the container in several layers of newspapers and tie securely.  Then
place the package in a covered trash can for routine collection with municipal
refuse (unless your municipality has other requirements).
•  Wrap individual packages of dry pesticide formulations in several  layers of
newspaper, or place the package in a tight carton or bag, and tape or tie it
closed. As with liquid formulations, place the package in a covered trash can
for routine collection.
•  Empty pesticide containers can be as hazardous as full  ones, because of
residues remaining inside. It is  unlikely that residues can be removed from
empty containers, so never reuse these containers. Handle as above. Treated
this way, small quantities of pesticides are not hazardous to trash collectors or
to the environment. In a properly operated sanitary landfill for municipal
refuse, the pesticides will be sufficiently diluted and contained to negate any
hazardous effects.
•  If you do not have a regular trash collection service, crush and then bury
empty pesticide containers at least 18 inches deep in a place on your property
away from water  sources, where you grow food, or where children may play.
Do not puncture or burn a pressurized container. It could explode.
•  Do not burn pesticide boxes or  sacks either outdoors or in apartment
incinerators, since this can create poisonous fumes or gases, or cause an
explosion. Do  not pour leftover pesticides down the sink or into the toilet.
Chemicals in the  pesticides could interfere with the operation of septic  tanks
or pollute waterways, because many municipal wastewater treatment systems
cannot remove all pesticide residues.
•  If you have  doubts about proper pesticide disposal, contact your local
health department.
•  Rinsings and spent dips should be washed down your drain—never pour
ontp the ground.
•  Puncture any non-pressurized containers to prevent re-use.
•  Watch for local "amnesty days" or opportunities to bring hazardous
household wastes to properly equipped collection stations.
   The product you choose will fall into
 one of two general classifications of
 chemical pesticides: broad spectrum or
 selective. Broad spectrum pesticides  are
 effective against a wide variety of pests.
 Selective pesticides are formulated to
 control specific pests. Chemical
 pesticides may also be direct poisons,
 attractants, repellants, growth regulators,
 protectants, or systemics.
   Active ingredients are formulated in
 many ways; choose the  formulation best
 suited to your site and the pest you are
 trying to control. The most common
 types of home use pesticide
 formulations include:

 •  Solutions, which contain the active
 ingredient and one or more additives,
 and readily  mix with water.

 •  Aerosols, which contain one  or more
 active ingredients and a solvent. They
 are ready for immediate use  as is.

 •  Dusts, which contain active
 ingredients plus a very fine dry inert
 carrier such as clay, talc, or volcanic
 ash. Dusts are ready for immediate use
 and are applied dry.

 •  Granulars, which  are similar to dusts,
 but with larger and heavier particles for
 broadcast applications.

 •  Baits, which are active ingredients
 mixed with  food or other substances to
 attract the pest.

 •  Wettable powders, which  are dry,
 finely ground formulations that
 generally are mixed with water  for spray
 application. They also may be used as
  Depending on the type of formulation
 you choose, you may need to dilute or
 pre-mix the  product. Prepare only the
 amount that you need for each
 application; don't prepare larger
 amounts to store for possible future use.
 (See box, "Determining Correct
  Once you  have identified the  pest,
selected the right pesticide, and
determined proper dosage, you are
ready to use the  product. Application
technique and timing is every bit as
important as the material used, so read
the label for directions. That advice—to
read the label—is repeated so often in
this guide that it may become tiresome.
But in fact, the advice cannot be

repeated often enough. Read the label
before you buy a product, and again
before you mix it. before you apply it,
before you store it, and before you
throw it away. The directions on a label
are there for a very good reason: to help
you achieve maximum benefits with
minimum  risk.
  Chemical  pesticides help consumers
eliminate pests in and around their
homes; disinfect their living quarters;
and protect  their homes  from termites,
clothing from moths, and plants from
insects and  disease. But  these benefits
depend upon safe use of the products.
  Chemical  pesticides also have their
disadvantages. They must be used very
carefully to  achieve results and protect
users and  the environment. Effects are
generally temporary, and repeated
treatments may be required. And,
largely because of pesticide use,
hundreds  of insect species, plant
pathogens, and  weeds have developed
genetic resistance to more than one
category of pesticide.
  Therefore, to achieve best results
when you do use chemical pesticides,
use preventive and non-chemical
treatments along with them. This will
reduce the need for repeated
  The common assumption that
chemical pesticide use equals pest
elimination is incorrect. The assumption
that readily available pesticides are safe
is also incorrect. You should always
evaluate your pesticide use, both before
and after you treat. You should weigh
the benefits of  short-term chemical
pesticide control against the even
greater benefits of long-term control
using a variety of techniques.
Knowledge of a range of pest control
techniques gives you the ability to pick
and choose among them. Pests,
unfortunately,  will always  be around us,
and, if you know about all  pest control
options, you will know what to do the
next time THEY'RE THERE, a
How to
Choose a Pest Control
 Termites are chomping away at
 your house. Roaches are taking
 over your kitchen. Mouse
 droppings dot your dresser drawer.
 You've got a pest control problem
 and, you've decided, it's not one
 you can solve on your own. You're
 concerned by what you've heard
 about accidents caused by careless
 or ignorant exterminators.
 Nevertheless, an exterminator is
 what you decide you need.
  If you find yourself in a
 situation like this, what can you
 do  to be sure that the pest control
 company you hire will do a good
 job? Here are some questions you
 can ask:

 1. Does the company have a good
 track record?
 Don't rely on the company
 salesman to answer this question;
 research the answer yourself. Ask
 around among neighbors and
 friends; have any of them dealt
 with the company before? Were
 they satisfied with the service they
 received? Call the Better Business
 Bureau or local consumer office;
 have they received any complaints
 about the company?

 2. Does the company have
 insurance? What kind of
 insurance? Can the salesman show
 some documentation to prove that
 the company is insured?
 Contractor's  general liability
 insurance, including insurance for
 sudden and accidental pollution,
 gives you as  a homeowner a
 certain degree of protection should
 an  accident occur while pesticides
 are being applied in your home.
More pesticide doesn't necessarily mean
more control, but it may mean more
risk. Read the label carefully for
desirable quantities.

Contractor's workmen's
compensation insurance can also
help protect you should an
employee of the contractor be
injured while working in your
  In most states, pest control
companies are not required to buy
insurance, but you should think
twice before dealing with a
company that is uninsured.

3. Is the company licensed?
Regulatory agencies in some states
issue state pest control licenses. It
is illegal to do business in those
states without such a license.
Although the qualifications for a
license vary from state to state, at a
minimum the license requires that
each company have a certified
pesticide applicator (certified
applicators are trained and
certified to use or supervise the
use of any pesticide which is
classified for restricted use)
present in the office on a daily
basis to supervise the work of
exterminators using restricted-use
pesticides. If restricted-use
pesticides are to be used in your
home, make sure the pest control
operator's license is current. Also
ask if the company's employees
are bonded.
  You may want to contact your
state lead pesticide agency (usually
the state Department of
Agriculture) to ask about its
pesticide certification and training
programs and to inquire if periodic
re-certification is required for pest
control operators.
  In addition to the licenses
required in some states, some
cities also issue pest control
licenses. Again, qualifications
vary, but possession of a city
license—where they are
available—is one more assurance
that the company you are dealing
with should be reputable and

4. Is the  company affiliated with a
professional pest  control
Professional associations—
whether  national, state, or local—
keep members informed of new
developments in pest control
methods, safety, training, research,
and regulation. They also have
codes of  ethics that members agree
to abide  by. The fact that a
company, small or large, chooses
to affiliate itself with a
professional association signals its
concern for the quality of its work.

5. Does the company guarantee its
work in writing? What  does the
guarantee cover? How long does it
remain in effect?
As with insurance, you should
think twice about dealing with a
company that is not willing to
guarantee its work. Be sure to find
out what you must do to keep the
guarantee in force. For  example, in
the  case of termite control
treatments, a guarantee may be
invalidated if structural alterations
Eire  made without prior notice to
the  pest control company.

6. Is the company willing, and
able, to discuss the treatment
proposed for your home?
Selecting a pest control service is
just as important as selecting other
professional services. Look for the
same high degree of competence
you would expect from a doctor or
lawyer. The company should
inspect your premises and outline
a recommended control program,
including what pests are to be
controlled; the extent of the
infestation; what pesticide
formulation will be used in your
home and why; what techniques
will  be used in application; what
alternatives to the formulation and
techniques could be used instead;
what special instructions you
should follow during treatment to
reduce your exposure (such as
vacating the house, emptying the
cupboards, removing pets, etc.);
and what you can do to minimize
the pest problem in the future.
  Contracts should be jointly
developed. Any safety concerns
should be noted and reflected in
the choice of pesticides used.
These concerns could include
allergies, age of occupants (infants
or elderly), or pets. You may want
to get two to three bids from
different companies—by value, not
price. What appears to be a bargain
may merit a second look.
  Even after you have hired a
company, you should continue
your vigilance. Evaluate results. If
you  have reason to believe that
something has gone wrong with
the pesticide application, contact
your state agency with
responsibility for pesticides
(usually the state Department of
Agriculture). Don't let your guard
down, and  don't stop asking

Been Poisoned.

What To  Do  in a
Pesticide  Emergency
  In recent years, control of pesticides
  has been one of EPA's top priorities.
   While pesticides can provide
 substantial benefits, they can also pose
 significant risks. The potential for a
 pesticide to produce injury depends
 upon several factors:

 • Toxicity of the active ingredient.
 Toxicity is a measure of the inherent
 ability of a chemical to produce injury.
 Some pesticides, such as pyrethrins,
 have low human toxicity while others,
 such as sodium fluoroacetate, are
 extremely toxic.

 • Dose. The greater the dose of
 pesticide, i.e. the amount absorbed,  the
 greater the risk of injury. Dose is
 dependent upon the absolute amount of
 the pesticide absorbed relative to the
 weight of the person. Therefore, small
 amounts of pesticide might produce
 illness in a small child while the same
 dose in an adult might be relatively

 * Route of absorption. Swallowing  a
 pesticide usually creates the most
 serious problem. In practice, however,
 the most common route of absorption  of
 pesticides is through the skin, and the
 more toxic pesticides have caused
 fatalities through this route.

 • Duration  of exposure. The longer a
 person is exposed to pesticides, the
 higher the level in the body may occur.
 However, there is a point at which an
 equilibrium will develop between the
 intake and the output. Then, the level
 will no longer continue to increase.  This
 point may be either above  or below  the
 known toxic level.

 • Physical and chemical properties.
 The distribution and the rates of
 breakdown of pesticides in the
 environment significantly alter  the
 likelihood that injury might occur.

 • Population at risk. Those who run
 the greatest  danger of poisoning are
 those whose exposure is highest such as
 workers who mix, load, or  apply
pesticides. Those who pick or consume
pesticide treated foods have much lower
exposures. But as other articles in this
Special Section have pointed out, the
general public also faces the possibility
of exposure. Pesticides may be
encountered in an office or home as the
result of a treatment for ant, roach, or
termite control. Pesticides may also be
encountered outdoors from area-wide
pest control application such as
mosquito abatement programs. One of
the points of highest exposure to some
pesticides occurs right in your own
backyard as you mix and apply
pesticides to your garden or lawn.

Recognizing Pesticide

As with any other chemical,
pesticides may produce injury
externally or internally.
External irritants may cause a
contact-associated skin disease which is
primarily of an irritant
nature—producing redness, itching, or
pimples. It may be an allergic skin
reaction, producing redness, swelling,
or blistering. The mucous membranes of
the eyes, nose, mouth, and throat are
also quite sensitive to chemicals.
Stinging and swelling can occur.
  Internal injuries  from any chemical
may occur depending upon where a
chemical is transported in the body.
Thus, symptoms are dependent upon
the organ involved. Shortness of  breath,
clear sputum production, or rapid
breathing occurs as the result of injury
to the lung. Nausea, vomiting,
abdominal cramps, or diarrhea may
occur as the result of direct injury to the
gastrointestinal tract. Excessive fatigue,
sleepiness, headache,  muscle twitching,
and loss of sensation occur as the result
of injury to the nervous system. In
general, each class of pesticide has  a set
of symptoms which are unique to that
particular class.
  For example, organophosphate
pesticides may produce symptoms of
pesticide poisoning which affect  several
different organs, and may progress very
rapidly from very mild to severe.
Symptoms may progress in a matter of
minutes from slight difficulty with
vision to paralysis of the diaphragm
muscle, causing inability to breathe.
  Therefore, if someone develops
symptoms after working with pesticides,
seek medical help promptly to
determine if the symptoms  are
pesticide-related. In certain cases, blood
or urine can be collected for analysis or
specific exposure tests can be made. It
is better to be too cautious than too late.
  It is always important to avoid these
symptoms by minimizing your exposure
(and dose) when mixing and applying
pesticides by wearing gloves and other
protective clothing.
  The appropriate first aid treatment
depends upon which pesticide was
used. Here are some tips for first aid
that may precede, but should not
substitute for, medical treatment:
• Poison on skin. Drench skin with
water, and remove contaminated
clothing. Wash skin and hair thoroughly
with soap and water. Dry  victim and
wrap in blanket.  Later, discard
contaminated clothing or thoroughly
wash it  separately from other laundry.
• Chemical burn on skin. Drench skin
with water and remove contaminated
clothing. Cover burned area
immediately with loose, clean, soft
cloth. Do not apply ointments, greases,
powders, or other drugs. Later, discard
or thoroughly wash  contaminated
clothing separately from other  laundry.
• Poison in eye.  Eye membranes absorb
pesticides faster than any  other external
part of the body;  eye damage can occur
in a few minutes with some types of
pesticides. Hold eyelid open and wash
eye quickly and gently with clean,
running water from the tap or  a hose for
15 minutes or more. Do not use eye
drops or chemicals or drugs in the wash
If poison is splashed in the eye, it can
damage sight quickly. To counteract
damage, the eyelid should be held open
and the eye washed quickly and gently
with clean running water/or 15 minutes
or more.

• Inhaled poison. Carry or drag victim
to fresh air immediately. (If proper
protection for yourself is unavailable,
call for emergency equipment from the
fire department.) Open doors and
windows so no one  else will be
poisoned by fumes.  Loosen victim's
tight clothing.  If the victim's skin is
blue or the victim has stopped
breathing, give artificial respiration, and
call rescue service for help.
 If poison has been inhaled, the victim
 should be carried or dragged into the
 fresh air immediately.

 • Swallowed poison. A conscious
 victim should rinse his mouth with
 plenty of water and drink up to one
 quart of milk or water to dilute the
 pesticide. Induce vomiting only if
 instructions to do so are on the label. If
 there is no  label available to guide you,
 do not induce vomiting if the victim has
 swallowed  a corrosive poison or an
 emulsifiable concentrate or oil solution,
 or if the victim is unconscious or is
 having convulsions.
   In dealing with any poisoning, act
 fast; speed  is crucial.

 First Aid for Pesticide

 First aid is  the first step in treating a
 pesticide poisoning. Study the product
 label be/ore you use a pesticide,
 especially the statement of treatment on
 the pesticide label. When you realize a
 pesticide poisoning is occurring, be  sure
 the victim is not being further exposed
 to the poison before calling for
emergency help. An unconscious victim
will have to be dragged into fresh air.
Caution: Do not become poisoned
yourself while trying to help. You may
have to put on breathing equipment or
protective clothing to avoid becoming
the second victim.
  When initial first aid has been
performed, get medical help
immediately. This advice cannot be
repeated too often. Bring the product
container with its label to the doctor's
office or emergency room where the
victim will be treated; if you bring the
container, keep it out of the passenger
space of your vehicle. The doctor needs
to know what chemical  is in the
pesticide before prescribing treatment
(information that is also on the  label).
Sometimes the label  even includes  a
telephone number to call for additional
treatment information.
  A good  resource in a pesticide
emergency is NPTN,  the National
Pesticide Telecommunications Network.
Funded primarily by EPA and operating
out of the Texas Tech University School
of Medicine, NPTN is a toll-free
telephone service. Operators are on call
24 hours a day,  365 days a year, to
provide information  on  pesticides and
on recognizing and responding  to
pesticide poisonings. If necessary,  they
can transfer inquiries directly to
affiliated poison control centers.

           National Pesticide
     Telecommunications Network
             Call Toll-Free

  NPTN operators can answer questions
about animal as well as human
poisonings. To keep  your pets from
being poisoned, follow label directions
on flea and tick products carefully, and
keep pets off lawns that have been newly
treated with weed killers and
   EPA is  interested in receiving
information on any adverse effects
associated with pesticide exposure. If
you have such information, contact
Frank Davido, Pesticide Incident
Response Officer, Hazard Evaluation
Division (TS-769C),  Office of Pesticide
Programs, EPA, 401  M Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460 (telephone
703-557-0576). You should provide as
complete information as possible,
including any official investigation
report of the incident and medical
records concerning adverse health
effects. Medical records will be held in
confidence, a
Pesticide Accidents
in  the United  States
  Question: How many Americans
  are poisoned by pesticides each
  Answer: No one knows. There is
  no centralized, nationwide, annual
  survey to provide this information.
  However, statistics available from
  a variety of sources indicate that
  the number of poisoning incidents
  is significant.
    The American Journal of
  Emergency Medicine reported that
  poison control centers across the
  country received an estimated
  85,000 calls in 1985 due to
  pesticides. Many of the  cases were
  treated at home; 24 percent
  received some kind of medical
  attention. The report was based on
  a sample of 48 percent of the
  nation's poison control centers.
  However, many of these calls
  reflect concern about exposure
  rather than the onset of an actual
    Also in 1985, an estimated
  20,000 persons were taken to U.S.
  emergency rooms due to suspected
  or actual exposure to toxic levels
  of pesticides, according to the U.S.
  Consumer Product Safety
  Commission. Ten percent of those
  going to emergency rooms were
  admitted to the hospital for further
  treatment and observation.
  Pesticides were the second most
  frequent cause of poisoning in
  young children, following
  medicines. The Commission's
  report was based on a survey of 65
  emergency rooms.
    Based on data collected by the
  National Center for Health
  Statistics and reported in Vital
  Statistics of the United  States, Vol.
  II, an average of 35 deaths per year
  due to pesticide poisoning was
  reported each year throughout the
  1970s in the  United States.

Enforcing  Pesticide  Laws
    Two laws govern pesticide use in this
    country: the Federal Insecticide,
 Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)
 and the Federal Food, Drug, and
 Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). Different federal
 and state agencies enforce different
 provisions of the  two laws.
  EPA is responsible under FIFRA for
 registering  pesticides and, under
 FFDCA, for setting national tolerances
 for residues resulting from use of
 pesticides on agricultural crops.
 Pesticide tolerances actually serve a
 dual regulatory purpose: first, as a
 dietary level of pesticide residue that is
 considered acceptable; second, as an
 indicator of proper pesticide use,
 reinforcing FIFRA enforcement
  EPA sets tolerance levels, but two
 other federal agencies enforce them. The
 Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
 and the U.S. Department of Agriculture
 (USDA) are responsible for enforcing
 tolerances for pesticide residues in food
 and animal feed commodities that move
 in interstate commerce, or are imported
 into the U.S. Individual states also
 monitor food commodities to ensure
 their compliance  with tolerances.
  To carry out their enforcement efforts,
 both FDA and USDA conduct
 monitoring and surveillance programs.
 Any commodity bearing residues in
 excess of a tolerance, or in the absence
 of a tolerance, is considered adulterated,
 and may be subject to regulatory action
 such as seizure for domestic products,
 or barred entry into the U.S. for imports.
 FDA enforces tolerances for all food and
 feed items  except meat, poultry, and egg
 products, which are USDA's
  If a pesticide is properly applied on a
crop for which it is registered, it is safe
to say that resulting residues will be
within tolerance limits. In fact, federal
and state authorities find that the vast
majority of foods sampled in tolerance
enforcement programs do not contain
illegal pesticide residues. FDA samples
about 12,000 food shipments each year
for pesticide residues, and reports an
overall "pass"  rate of 96-98 percent for
both domestic  and imported  shipments.
Most of the problems found by FDA
indicate that a farmer has used a
pesticide registered for use on one crop
on a different crop, rendering the
residues illegal. This is true for both
domestic and imported commodities.
USDA reports  only sporadic violations
of pesticide tolerances, with a "pass"
rate of over 99 percent for both
domestic and imported meat and
poultry products sampled and analyzed
by the USDA Food Safety and
Inspection Service.
  Pesticide tolerances  apply to
agricultural commodities "at the farm
gate." In general, residues tend to
dissipate, or break down, as time passes
after harvest. If pesticide residues are, in
fact, present at maximum tolerance
levels when produce leaves the farm,
they most likely will be  below tolerance
level by the time the produce reaches
the consumer.  In many cases, pesticide
residues may be further reduced by
washing, peeling, cooking, and
processing food. However, legal
tolerances are intended to protect
consumers from unsafe pesticide
residue levels,  even if  the residues are
not reduced below tolerance  before the
food is consumed.
  Through state/federal cooperative
enforcement agreements, all states
except Nebraska and Wyoming have
assumed, with EPA oversight, primary
enforcement responsibilities for
pesticide use violations. EPA sets FIFRA
enforcement policy and conducts
compliance monitoring and enforcement
in these two states.
  Enforcement includes monitoring the
distribution and use of pesticides, and
issuing civil as well as criminal
penalties for violations. For example, it
is unlawful under FIFRA to use a
registered pesticide product in a manner
inconsistent with its label, to alter an
approved label, or  to distribute in
commerce any adulterated or
misbranded product.
  In addition to the various federal and
state agencies involved, you have a role
to play in enforcing pesticide laws.
  Anyone who  misuses a pesticide,
either  deliberately  or carelessly, or who
otherwise violates  its labeling, may be
subject to civil or criminal penalties
under  FIFRA. If you become aware of
pesticide misuse, or an accident
involving pesticide exposure,  you
should report this  information to your
state pesticide enforcement agency  (in
most states, that agency is the state
Department of Agriculture) or to your
EPA regional office.
  With your cooperation, the multitude
of federal and state agencies that enforce
pesticide laws can  do an even better job
of making sure that the pesticides used
around your home  and on your food are
safely used, n

Today's  Change,  Tomorrow's
Trends  in  Regulation
     While there are many steps you can
     take right now to use pesticides
 more safely, what developments are
 underway to improve the pesticides to
 which you may be exposed during your
 lifetime? What changes can you expect
 to see in the pesticides of the future?
  New pesticides come on the market at
 the rate of about 15 per year. They are
 thoroughly tested before being
 approved, and cannot be sold or used if
 there are major data gaps or if the data
show that a chemical poses an
unreasonable risk to man or the
  Many of the new pesticides are
target-specific; that is, they kill what
they are supposed to kill and don't kill
what they are not supposed to kill. They
dissipate quickly and, therefore,  are less
likely to bioaccumulate  up the food
chain. New pesticides tend to be less
acutely hazardous than many older
pesticides; accidental exposure is less
likely to cause injury or immediate
illness. Potential for chronic toxicity
remains a problem. However, some ot
the new pesticides and many older
pesticides may cause delayed effects
such as chronic disease or cancer.

Insecticide trends

For a variety of reasons, many of the
insecticides introduced in the 1940s and
1950s have gone  off  the market in the
past few years. Some were found to
pose unacceptable health risks to
people. Many are environmentally
persistent: residues of insecticides
banned years ago are still turning up
today in soil, in water, and in our
bodies. Some old insecticides no longer
were efficacious  as insects developed
resistance to them. Patents expired on
many old insecticides, leading to
increased competition and shrinking
profit margins. A final factor leading to
the demise of old insecticides is EPA's
demand for a complete data base for
continued registration of each chemical.
To prepare such  a data base would, in
many cases, require extensive testing. If
the product does not general • enough
sales to justify such an investment,  it
will probably go  off the market.
  What will take the place of the
disappearing insecticides?
  Synthetic pyrethroids are replacing
some old, broad-spectrum insect
poisons. They are chemically related to
the safe but expensive pyrethrins
obtained from crushed
  Another trend  is toward use of
biochemicals, such as synthetic sex
attractants that lure male  insects to
traps. These insecticides pose very low
hazards to people and non-target
animals. However, they work only with
a relatively small number of insects.
  Microbiological pesticides are isolates
of insect pathogens found  in nature that
are being used to infect and kill
susceptible insects. These also pose very
low hazards to people and non-target
animals. But  their effectiveness is
limited because each insect pathogen is
usually capable of infecting only a
limited number of insect species.
  The latest trend is the development of
novel microbiological pesticides. These
                                                                        Some insecticides are being purtiuJ/y
                                                                        replaced by biochemical sex utlnjrtunt.s
                                                                        used to lure mule inserts into u tru/i.
                                                                        Entomologist Jeffrey AlcJrich /'ills u
                                                                        yelloiv jai ket tnip ivifli (jftnirtonts,
                                                                        helping keep the ivotiifjuruj safe (<>/

may be exotic microbial species that do
not occur in the habitat of intended use,
or they may be genetically engineered
microbes. The latter typically are made
by inserting genes that carry a desired
trait—such as pathogenicity against a
particular insect—into a harmless
indigenous microbe. While novel
microbiological pesticides hold great
promise for achieving highly targeted
pest control with little risk of
conventional adverse effects, they do
raise the specter of unknown  risks. To
date, EPA has not approved any novel
microbiological pesticides for sale. EPA
has approved field testing of a microbe
that is supposed to prevent frost damage
in strawberries, but has not yet registered
any novel microbiological pesticides.

Herbicide trends

Old herbicides decline for many of the
same reasons as old insecticides. The
chief difference is that plant species
rarely develop resistance to herbicides.
(However, the presence of herbicides
favors the development of
pesticide-degrading soil microbes which
decrease  herbicide effectiveness.)
  The most noteworthy trend in this
area is the development of herbicides
that are effective at very low dosage
rates. A related trend is the
development of new application
technologies that permit very precise
dosing of target weeds. Together, these
two methods can minimize both
applicators' and sensitive species'
exposure to herbicides.
  Genetic engineering technology holds
promise here too. For example, genes
for pesticide resistance could be
inserted in desired crops, which could
then flourish even in the presence of
herbicides. Or genes to fix nitrogen
could be inserted into ordinary soil
bacteria typically associated with
nitrogen-depleting crops. This would
decrease the need  for synthetic
fertilizers and simplify crop-rotation

Disinfectant trends

Conventional pesticides pose hazards
because they can work too well,
poisoning people and animals.
Disinfectants, on the other hand, pose
hazards because they may not work well
enough, exposing people to the
potentially dangerous bacteria and
viruses that they are supposed to kill.
To minimize disinfectant hazards, EPA
is targeting five areas for improvement:
ensuring consistency in efficacy tests;
predicting how well efficacy tests that
work in the research lab will work in
the home or hospital; ensuring quality
control in manufacturing; preventing
toxic effects; and accurate labeling and
advertising. EPA is also requiring
exposure and/or toxicity data on certain
kinds of disinfectants products.

Trends in risk assessment

Risk is assessed by relating toxicity to
exposure; the better the data on  toxicity
and exposure, the  better the risk
assessments. In using data to
characterize risk, EPA has  developed a
"weight-of-evidence" rule to help ensure
consistency in assessing the
cancer-causing potential of a chemical.
Weight-of-evidence means that, when
EPA determines the potential of a
chemical for causing cancer, it considers
not only the results of the  study in
question, but also  its quality, as well as

Genes/or pest resistance may in
the future be inserted into crops.
making the use of herbicides
unnecessary.  Using a microscope
attached to a  closed-circuit television,
geneticist Robert Griesbach prepares to
inject a chromosome into a petunia celJ.
magnified 15,000 times. Genetic
engineering for plants is still in its
infancy, but significant possibilities are
the results of other studies on the same
kinds of test animals, and the results of
other kinds of predictive tests. EPA is
also beginning to use weight-of-evidence
to assess a chemical's potential to cause
non-cancer risks, such as reproductive
  To improve its ability to predict
exposure pathways, EPA requires
registrants to submit data on
environmental fate, residues, and
worker exposure. The Agency has
developed a model for predicting a
pesticide's potential to contaminate
ground water, and a system for
estimating dietary exposure to
pesticides for various segments of the
U.S. population.
  The trends are toward pesticides that
are more specific, less toxic, and more
thoroughly tested than the products
they are replacing. As "broad  spectrum"
products disappear, users will need to
become better informed about chemical
and non-chemical methods that can be
used to manage pest problems.
  In the future, use of pesticides will
pose fewer hazards to man and the
environment, possibly resulting in
improved health of farmworkers and
others who are occupationally exposed
to pesticides and improved vigor among
a myriad of wildlife species. Decreasing
dietary intake of highly toxic chemicals
will result in subtle but real
improvements in the health of the
general public.
  The comprehensive testing of all
pesticide products will allow regulatory
officials to better evaluate health and
environmental risks before a pesticide is
introduced into the environment, or in
the case of existing products being
tested under the Agency's reregistration
program, to determine whether an old
product may remain on the market.
  It remains to be seen whether our
society's commitment to these goals will
withstand the economic challenge posed
by them,  n
Sources of Information on Pesticides
Information from EPA

The following EPA documents are
available upon request from EPA,
Office of Pesticide Programs,
(TS-766C), 401 M Street, S.W.,
Washington, B.C. 20460:

Pesticides Fact Book. Brief
summary of EPA pesticide
regulatory programs.

Labeling Fact Sheet. Brief
description of Agency
requirements for the contents of a
pesticide label.

Pesticide Safety  Tips. Suggested
practices for consumers.

Suspended, Cancelled, and
Restricted Pesticides. List  of
pesticides which, because of their
hazards, are no longer available for
use by the public.
Recognition and Management of
Pesticide Poisoning. Reference
manual designed for health care
professionals to  help diagnose and
treat pesticide poisonings.
Categorizes pesticides according  to
toxicity; describes symptoms  or
signs of poisoning; and gives
information for confirming
diagnosis and antidotes.

EPA Journal, May 1987, and
reprints of this Special Section.

List of Pesticide Fact Sheets.  Lists
the various fact sheets EPA has
printed. Each fact sheet, which
may be obtained separately,
describes a particular pesticide:
what it is used for, who makes it,
when it was registered, how toxic
it is, and regulatory action(s)  the
Agency has taken on the pesticide.

The following EPA documents are
available upon request from EPA,
Public Information Center,
(PM-211 B), 401 M Street,  S.W.,
Washington,  D.C. 20460:

Pesticide Safety for Non-Certified
Mixers, Loaders, and Applicators.
Bilingual (Spanish/English),
illustrated handbook on safety
procedures. Contains guidance on
how to read labels, signs of
poisoning, first aid information,
protective clothing, and safe and
unsafe work practices.
Pesticide Safety for Farmworkers
Bilingual (Spanish/English),
illustrated handbook for
farmworkers on pesticide safety on
the farm and around the home.
Included are safe and unsafe
practices, signs of poisoning, first
aid information, guidance on how
to read a label, and information on
reentry times.

Information from Other

National Pesticide
Telecommunication Network. Call
1-800-858-PEST (7378) toll-free
to pesticide experts who
can provide information on:
recognizing and treating pesticide
poisoning;  pesticide products;
pesticide cleanup and disposal;
contacts for animal poison centers;
enforcement contacts; pesticides
certification and training programs;
and pesticide laws.
National Pesticide Information
Retrieval System (NPIRSj. A
computer network of pesticide
data, including most
non-confidential federal pesticide
registration data; data from
participating states; product
names; names and percentages of
active ingredients in products;
names and addresses of
manufacturers and registrants; use
sites, crops, and pests on which a
product may be used; and EPA
registration numbers.
  NPIRS may be accessed through
county agricultural extension
agents, land-grant universities,
state and federal regulatory offices,
crop consultants, pesticide dealers,
various  user groups and
organizations, and others working
on pesticide-related activities.

   County Agricultural Extension
Agents and pesticide dealers can
provide information on pesticide
use in your locality. Libraries and
book stores contain reference
books and  magazines with
information on indoor and outdoor
use of both chemical and non-
chemical means of pest control.


EPA Pesticide Contacts
 Policy and Special Projects Staff
 Office of Pesticide Programs
 401 M Street SW
 Washington, DC 20460
 (703)  557-7102

 Region 1
 Director, Air Management Division
 JFK Federal Building
 Room 2311-AAA
 Boston, MA 02224
 (617)  223-2226

 Region 2
 Chief, Pesticides and Toxic
 Substances  Branch
 Woodbridge Avenue
 Building 209
 Edison, NJ 08837
 (212)  264-2525

 Region 3   	
 Chief, TSCA/FIFRA Enforcement
 841 Chestnut Street (3HW13)
 Philadelphia, PA 19107
 (215)  597-8598

 Region 4
 Chief, Pesticides and Toxic
 Substances  Branch
 345 Courtland Street NE
 Atlanta, GA 30365
 (404)  881-1727
Region 5
Chief, Pesticides and Toxic
Substances Branch
536 South Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 353-2291

Region 6
Director, Air and Waste
Management Division
1201 Elm Street
Dallas, TX 75270
(214) 767-2600

Region 7
Chief, Case Preparation and
Technical Assistance Section
727 Minnesota Avenue
Kansas City, KS 66101
(913) 236-2800

Region 8
One Denver Place
999 18th Street
Suite 1300
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 293-1603

Region 9
Chief, Pesticides and Toxics
215 Fremont Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 974-8071

Region 10
Chief, Pesticides and Toxic
Substances Branch
Mail Stop 524
1200 6th Street
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 442-5810
State Agencies

Region 1

Dept. of Environmental Protection
Hazardous Materials Management
State Office Building
165 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06115
(203) 566-5148

Director, Pesticides Control Board
State Office Building-Station 28
Augusta, ME 04333
(207) 289-2731

Chief, Pesticides Bureau
Dept. of Food and Agriculture
100 Cambridge  Street, 21st Floor
Boston, MA 02202
(617) 727-7712

New Hampshire
Supervisor, Pesticides Control
Dept. of Agriculture
85 Manchester Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-3550

Rhode Island
Chief, Division of Agriculture and
Dept. of Environmental
22 Hayes Street
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 277-2782

Director, Plant Industry Division
Dept. of Agriculture
116 State Street, State Office
Montpetier, VT 05602
(802) 828-2431

Region 2

New Jersey
Chief, Bureau of Pesticide Control
New Jersey Dept. of
Environmental Protection
380 Scotch Road
West Trenton, NJ 08265
(609) 530-1123

New York
Director, Bureau of Pesticides
Dept. of Environmental
Rm. 404, 50 Wolf Road
Albany, NY 12233
(518) 457-7482

Puerto Rico
Director, Analysis and Registration
of Agricultural Materials
Puerto Rico Dept. of Agriculture
FOB 10163
Sanrurce, PR 00908
(809) 796-1710  or 1715
Virgin Islands
Director, Pesticide Programs
Division of Natural Resources
Dept. of Conservation and Cultural
111 Watergut Homes
Christiansted, St. Crorx
U.S. Virgin Islands 00820
(809) 773-0565

Region 3

Delaware Dept. of Agriculture
FOB Drawer D
Dover, DE 19901
(302) 736^1815

District of Columbia
Division of Pesticides and
Hazardous Materials
Dept. of Environmental Services
District of Columbia
5010 Overlook Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20032
(202) 767-8422

Chief, Pesticide Applicator's Law
Maryland Dept. of Agriculture
50 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, MD 21401
(301) 841-5710

Chief, Agronomic Services
Bureau of Plant Industry
Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture
2301 N. Cameron Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110
(717) 787-1843

Supervisor, Virginia Dept. of
Agriculture and Consumer Service
FOB 1163
Richmond, VA 23209
(804) 786-3798

West Virginia
Director, Plant Pest Control
West Virginia Dept. of Agriculture
Capitol Building
Charleston, WV 25305
(304) 348-2212

Region 4

Director, Agriculture
Chemistry/Plant Industry Division
Alabama Dept. of Agriculture and
FOB 3336
Montgomery, AL 36193
(205) 261-2656

Administrator, Dept. of Agriculture
and Consumer Services
Mayo Building, Room 213
Tallahassee, FL 32301
(904) 487-2130

Chief, Pesticides Division
Dept. of Agriculture
19 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive SW
Atlanta, GA 30334
(404) 656^958'
                                                                                                  •i'U.S. Governmervt Printing Office: 1987-716-002/60697

Director, Division of Pesticides
Kentucky Dept of Agriculture
Capitol Plaza Tower
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-7274
Director, Division of Plant Industry
Dept of Agriculture and
POB 5207
Mississippi State, MS 39762
(601) 325-3390

North Carolina
Pesticide Administrator, Pest
Control Division
Dept. of Agriculture
State Agriculture Building
Raleigh, NC 27611
(919) 733-3556

South Carolina
Pesticide Supervisor, Plant Pest
Regulatory Service
210 Barre Hall, Clemson
Clemson, SC 29631
(803) 656-3005

Director, Plant Industries Division
Dept. of Agriculture
POB 40627, Melrose Station
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 360-0117

Region 5

Chief, Bureau of Plant and Apiary
Dept. of Agriculture
Ernmerson Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 785-2427
Office of Health Protection
Dept. of Public Health
535 West Jefferson
Springfield, IL 62761
(217) 782^674

Pesticide Administrator, Office of
the State Chemist
Dept. of Biochemistry
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN 47907
(317) 494-1587

Plant Industry Division
Dept. of Agriculture
Lewis Cass Building
Lansing, MI 48909
(517) 373-1087

Director, Division of Agronomy
Dept. of Agriculture
90 West Plato Blvd.
St. Paul, MN  55107
(612) 297-1161, 296-1161
Specialist in Charge of Pesticides
Dept. of Agriculture
8995  East Main Street
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
(614)  866-6361
Executive Assistant, Dept of
Trade, and Consumer Protection
POB 8911
Madison, WI 53708
(608) 267-9423
Region 6

Director, Division of Feed,
Fertilizer, and Pesticides
Arkansas State Plant Board
1 Natural Resources Rd.
Little Rock, AR 72205
(501) 225-1598

Office  of Agricultural and
Environmental Sciences
Louisiana Dept. of Agriculture
POB 11453
Baton  Rouge, LA 70804
(504) 925-3763

New Mexico
Chief,  Division of Agricultural and
Environmental Services
New Mexico State Dept. of
POB 3150
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM 88003
(505) 646-2133

Supervisor, Pest Management
Plant Industry Division
Oklahoma State Dept. of
310 NE 28th Street
Oklahoma  City, OK 73105
(405) 521-3863 or 3871

Director, Division of Agricultural
and Environmental Sciences
Texas  Dept. of Agriculture
POB 12847
Austin, TX 78711
(512) 463-7524

Region 7

Supervisor, Pesticide Control
Iowa Dept. of Agriculture
Henry  A. Wallace Building
East 7th Street and Court Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319
(515) 281-8590

Director,  Plant Health Division
Kansas State Board of Agriculture
109 SW Ninth Street
Topeka, KS 66612
(913) 296-2263

Supervisor, Bureau of Pesticide
Dept. of Agriculture
POB 630
Jefferson  City, MO 65102
(314) 751-2462
Director, Bureau of Plant Industry
Nebraska Dept. of Agriculture
301 Centennial Mall
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2341

Region 8

Supervisor, Pesticide Section
Division of Plant Industry
Colorado Dept. of Agriculture
4th Floor, 1525 Sherman Street
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 866-2838

Administrator, Environmental
Management Division
Agriculture-Livestock Building
Room  317, Capitol Station
Sixth and Roberts
Helena, MT 59601
(406) 444-2944

North  Dakota
Director, Plant Industries Division
Dept. of Agriculture
State Capitol
Bismarck, ND 58505
(701) 224-2231

South  Dakota
Director, Division of Regulatory
South  Dakota Dept. of Agriculture
Anderson Building, 445 East
Pierre,  SD 57501
(605) 773-3375

Director, Division of Plant
Dept. of Agriculture
350 North Redwood Road
Salt Lake City, UT 84103
(801) 533-1107

Manager, Plant Industry
Wyoming Dept. of Agriculture
2219 Carey Avenue
Cheyenne, WY 82002
(307) 777-9321

Region 9

Administrator, Board of Pesticide
1624 West Adams, Suite 103
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 271-3578
State Chemist, Agriculture
Experiment Station
POB 1586
Mesa, AZ 85201
(602) 833-5442
Executive Secretary, Structural
Pest Control Board
2207 South 48th, Suite M
Tempe, AZ 85282
(602) 271-3664

Assistant Director, Division of Pest
Management, Environmental
Protection, and Worker Safety
California Dept. of Food and
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 322-6315
Head, Division of Plant Industry
Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture
POB 22159
Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 548-7124

Administrator, Division of Plant
Nevada Dept. of Agriculture
POB 11100
Reno, NV 89510
(702) 789-0180

Director, Air and Land Programs
Division Guam Environmental
Protection Agency
POB 2999
Agana, GU 96910

American Samoa
Director, Dept. of Agriculture
POB 366
Pago Pago, American Samoa

Trust Territory of the Pacific
Executive Officer, Trust Territory
Environmental Protection Board
Office of the High Commissioner
Trust Territory of the Pacific
Saipan, Mariana Islands 96950

Commonwealth of the Northern
Mariana  Islands
Environmental Engineer, Division
of Environmental  Quality
Commonwealth of the Northern
Mariana Islands
Dr. Torres Hospital
Saipan, Mariana Island 96950

Region 10

Supervisor, Pesticide Specialist
and Registrar
Idaho Dept. of Agriculture
POB 790
Boise, ID 83702
(208) 334-3240

Assistant Chief, Plant Division
Oregon Dept. of Agriculture
635 Capitol Street NE
Salem, OR 97301
(503) 378-3777

Pesticide Specialist
Washington Dept. of Agriculture
406 General Administration
Olympia, WA 98504
(206) 735-5064

Alaska Dept. of Environmental
POB 1088
Palmer, AK 99645
(907) 745-3236

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treatment. The "greenhouse
effect." Hazardous waste
cleanups. Pesticides. The
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