Facts Matter

Honest answers to your questions about pesticides

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Q: How safe are pesticides used by professionals?

A: If pesticides are handled and applied with care according to label directions, they do not represent a risk to people, non-target organisms or the environment. Each pesticide has met the safety testing standards established by the EPA.

Q: Do pesticide application harm dogs and cats?

A: No, not if the label instructions are followed properly. All pesticides are carefully tested before they can be registered by the EPA and are sold. Part of this testing includes determining possible effects on non-target organisms, such as pets.

Q: How do we know that these products aren't harmful to humans or wildlife?

A: The pesticide industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the United States. Before a product is registered by the EPA, it must be rigorously tested for human health and environmental safety. This process can tackle up to 10 years and involve up to 120 different tests and studies. Today, manufacturers may invest as much as $150 to $185 million or more in product safety testing before a new pesticide ever comes to the market. These safety tests are required, designed and reviewed by EPA scientists and are conducted according to EPA standards.

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Q: How can an insecticide control insects and not be harmful to people and pets?

A: It is a well-established medical and scientific principle that the amount of the substance used determines whether it is harmful. With pesticides, the amount of product needed to control insects is extremely lower than an amount that would affect mammals, such as humans and pets. Remember, exposure alone does not equal risk or harm.

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Q: Do pesticides cause cancer in people exposed to low does or pesticide over a period of time?

A: No. As used, pesticides do not cause cancer. Before a pesticide product can be registered ad marketed, it must first be evaluated as to its potential risks, including any risk of causing cancer. Only products determined by EPA to have met the Agency's rigid testing requirements can be registered by the EPA. There is no specialty pesticide on the market known to cause cancer in humans.

Q: What is the likelihood that pesticides applied to lawns will get into groundwater?

A: There is very little likelihood that pesticides applied to lawns will end up in groundwater. Well-managed turf prevents runoff into water. Presence of pesticides in well water is minimal. There are no known reported cases of adverse health effects from pesticide-contaminated water. Even in areas where pesticide use is most heavily concentrated, the presence of pesticides in wells has been found to be minimal or nonexistent.

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Information contained on this page is courtesy of RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment).

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