Our society is becoming increasingly aware of the products and chemicals that we use and breathe in on a daily basis. We shop in the organic section at the grocery store, purchase natural skin care products, and inform ourselves about the chemicals that enter our bodies. For those of us looking to live more naturally, avoiding toxic substances extends to what we clean with and the pesticides we use. Being conscious of what chemicals are used in the home can be important to protect ourselves, our families, and our pets, but we also want to make sure those products are effective. Do organic or non-toxic pest control options actually work?
Toxicity and Exposure
It might be shocking to discover that the National Pesticide Information Center states that it is more important to consider the toxicity of a substance than if the substance is organic or natural. What's the difference? The toxicity, or degree of poison, of a pesticide is based off of its formulation. There are varying degrees of toxicity throughout both conventional and organic pesticides. To determine the risk level of using a pesticide, we must also take into account the level of exposure. A highly toxic product may be used nearby, but with very little risk if the exposure is limited. Similarly, pesticides with low toxicity can produce a greater health risk if the exposure level is high. Exposure typically occurs by eating, breathing or making contact with the skin or eyes.
What Are Organic Pesticides?
Organic pesticides are products that do not contain man-made chemicals. While using them may seem like the no-brainer option for eco friendly pest control, there are several factors to consider. Remember, exposure plays a significant role in determining risk. It is important to consider how much product will be used as well as how and where it will be applied. Organic pesticides must often be applied in significantly greater quantities than conventional chemicals, thus posing a greater risk of exposure. These organic pesticides may also break down faster and need more frequent application. From a financial standpoint, some of these solutions are quite inexpensive and as simple as boiling water or using white vinegar. Others have been known to cost up to four times as much as conventional treatments.
Labeling for Minimum Risk
Another pest control option includes minimum-risk pesticides. These pesticides are typically the least toxic option. These pesticides are not required to be registered with the EPA and must meet several requirements.
- Both active and inactive ingredients must be found on minimal risk list
- All ingredients must be identified on the product label
- The label may not make misleading claims
- Cannot claim to control pests that impact anyone's health
No matter how natural, all pesticides should be used with care. Always follow the label and minimize exposure to the product. Be sure to wear proper attire during application, i.e. protective eye-wear, gloves, etc. Be sure that any product you spray during application is low-pressure to avoid inhaling it. Remember that even plant-based products can cause injury. Many plant oils can be harmful to eyes and skin, as well as the potential for allergic reactions.
If This Is Confusing, Consider IPM
If sorting through the different types of products, how and where they can or cannot be used sounds too daunting, don't be afraid to contact a pest control company. Finding a professional that utilizes Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is a great way to ensure that pesticides are applied as minimally as possible to reduce your risk of exposure. IPM uses non-chemical based techniques to prevent pests and the damage they may cause. IPM relies heavily on what may be called good old-fashioned common sense. Professionals begin by inspecting and finding the source of the problem or where a problem may initiate. The professional will then treat with the least invasive and most environmentally-friendly process first, when possible. These methods often include recommendations for home repairs, sealing up cracks, and plugging openings throughout the home.
If you're a D.I.Y. kind of person, these are often small repairs that you can make yourself. Keeping your home clean is one of the most important actions that can be taken as a homeowner. Keeping food crumbs vacuumed off the floor, mopping up spills, and taking out the trash regularly will also help keep the pests away. Sometimes, however, these methods just aren't enough to take care of the pesky visitors inhabiting your home. We recommend any pest that may present a health risk, like fleas and cockroaches, be dealt with by a professional. When deemed necessary, you can trust a well-trained and licensed professional to use the most effective pesticides to solve your problem.
If you ever find yourself with an insect problem or are in need of pest prevention, Cingo can help you eliminate pests and provide comprehensive pest control in Atlanta and throughout southeast. Our Safe Surround method and treatments focus on the outside of your home to protect your family and pets from unwanted guests.
About Cingo: The name Cingo means to surround and secure, conveying the company's commitment to home protection. The company has been protecting families in the Southeast since 1974. It provides home protection services throughout Georgia and South Carolina, including Atlanta, Augusta, Charleston, Douglas, Dublin, Milledgeville, Savannah, Vidalia, Waycross and all points in between. Cingo was named a Best Place to Work in Georgia by Georgia Trend Magazine and listed as a National Best & Brightest Company to Work For. Learn more at www.cingohome.com.