Pests in your home?
No: not your kids after 2 ice cream cones. You’re fighting smaller household pests every day, whenever you weed the garden or wash the dishes.
LEAF is what we affectionately call the take-home pesticide exposure training we produced and which we share through trainers all over the map. It stands for “Limiting Exposure Around Families,” and although the training is given straight to farmworkers, it is no accident that it doesn’t ONLY talk about the dangers of agricultural pesticides applied in the fields. In all agricultural communities, but even more prevalently in cramped migrant farmworker communities, pesticides don’t stay only where they’re applied. On boots, gloves, bandanas, jeans, water bottles, backpacks, and skin, those dangerous chemicals take the ride back home with you. We at AFOP work so hard to prevent this in migrant farmworker communities; it’s easy to forget that every one of us has actually brought pesticides home on purpose.
Are these what you think of when you imagine a pesticide?
- Treated fertilizer
- Bug spray
- Weed killer
Maybe not, but each one is in fact a pesticide.
We worship the spring. It’s a time for planting and seeding, cleaning and airing, and finally enjoying more time outdoors. Still, take a look at your tools in the kitchen, the bathroom, and the yard. How many pesticides are you using inside and outside your home?
People throughout time have fought pests using natural remedies, and not artificial and potent chemical mixes. Pesticide is a scary word – literally breaking down to mean “to kill a pest” – but on the flipside those which kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses play a monumental role in boosting our health by limiting infection. Just remember that pesticides are powerful tools, and every time using one deserves respect to the proper precautions.
Follow the directions – each and every time. Keep all products away from young curious hands, and always mix or dilute outdoors in the open air. Dispose directly of all containers which held pesticides; never leave them lying around. Every product recognized as a pesticide in the U.S. carries an EPA registration number, which is your ticket to finding out ALL information about that particular substance. If you sense any physical effects from pesticide use, get medical help immediately and provide as much information as you can get about the exact substance that affected you.
From marigolds to vinegar, we’re always looking for unique natural solutions for pest control. But if you do reach for the bleach during your spring cleaning, remember that those substances weren’t made to be friendly. Take the right precautions, and let us know how YOU manage your household while limiting chemical pesticides!
Lots more on household pesticides from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) right HERE, and some natural alternatives to try HERE and HERE.