November 2006
                          Effective Control  of
                          Household Pests
                          Information for Older Adults and
                          Family Caregivers
pesticide use is an
important issue
across generations.

Older adults may
be more suscepti-
ble to the effects
of exposure to
pesticides because
of age-related
changes in how
the body processes

Using an integrat-
ed pest manage-
ment system  can
help you avoid
unnecessary use of
      Did you know that eight out of ten U.S. house-
      holds use pesticides both indoors and out-
      side their home?1  Examples of pesticides in
common use include cockroach sprays and baits,
termite control products, rat poison, flea and tick
sprays and powders, weed killers, bug sprays, and
kitchen and bath disinfectants.

Environmental Hazards of Pesticides
Exposure to high levels of pesticides, usually due to
improper application of a product, may lead to acute
effects such as headaches, dizziness, muscle twitch-
ing, weakness, and  nausea. Long-term and/or exces-
sive exposure to some pesticides has  been linked to
cancer, reproductive effects, and effects on the cen-
tral nervous system.

Preventing  Exposure
Grandparents can play an important role in keeping
children safe from hazardous pesticides by keeping
them out of reach.

Emergency room surveys suggest that children under
age six are more likely to be poisoned while visiting
grandparents where poisons are more likely to be in
reach and without child-resistant closures  than when
in their own homes. In addition, while older adults

account for only 2.8% of reported
poisoning incidents, they account
for 5.9% of all cases with a moder-
ate to major medical outcome and
28% of deaths.2

Use Integrated Pest
Management (IPM) -
Avoid Unnecessary Use of
The US EPA recommends using an
overall pest management strategy,
often called "integrated pest man-
agement (IPM)" for control of pests
in homes or apartment buildings.
IPM is a pest management system
that combines non-chemical control
strategies with less toxic pesticide
use minimizing risk to human
health and the environment.

For example, you might use traps,
baits and gels instead of sprays to
control pests. IPM minimizes  health
risks for susceptible populations,
such as older adults.
           Learn More About EPA's Aging Initiative
   EPA's Aging Initiative, which is working to protect older adults from
   environmental health  risks through the coordination of research,
   prevention strategies and public education. Visit
   For more information  on pesticides, call 703-305-5017 or visit our
   web site at
        If you or a family symptoms of having been poisoned,
      call the National Poison Control Center at member shows

       What You Can Do to Control
            and Reduce  Exposure
            to Pesticide Hazards

Tips for home pesticide use:

  Read the label. The pesticide label  is your best guide for safe
  and effective use of pesticides. If you have impaired vision,
  ask for assistance.
  Store pesticides only in their original containers. Never use
  an empty pesticide container for another purpose.
  Use a community disposal program in your neighborhood.
  Check with your local solid waste management authority,
  environmental agency, or health department to find out if
  your community has a hazardous waste disposal program. If
  not, carefully follow the disposal instructions on the label.
  Never use outdoor-pesticides indoors.
  Keep people and pets away from areas where pesticide
  sprays and foggers are applied. Read label to determine
  when it is safe for people or pets to re-enter area.
  Avoid spraying where you prepare  or store food, and avoid
  treating entire  floors, walls or ceilings.
  Limit pesticide applications to infested area and use only the
  amount recommended on the product label.
  Avoid applying pesticides outdoors on a windy day. Before
  spraying close  the doors and windows of your home.
  After applying a pesticide, wash any parts of your body or
  clothes that might have come in contact with the pesticide.


1  U.S. EPA, National Household Pesticide Usage Study, 1992, Office of
Pesticide Programs

2  National Poison Control Center Data, 1993-1998