State Health Commissioner Says 'Less Is Best' for Pesticide Use

ALBANY., N.Y. (June 10, 2010) - State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., today said New Yorkers should avoid using pesticides when possible and take steps to avoid harm when the use of pesticides is necessary.

"It's important to recognize that most pesticides are poisons intended to kill pests, but they can also harm you, your family and pets, if not used properly," Commissioner Daines said. "Try to avoid using pesticides, and exercise caution if you must use them."

Most animal pests and weeds can be managed without the use of chemical pesticides. Often, eliminating the conditions that attract pests and allow them to survive and multiply is the key to pest control. It is easier to prevent pests than to control them once they have arrived.

Basic tips for non-pesticide control include:

  • Reduce weeds in lawns by maintaining healthy grass through proper mowing, watering and fertilizing. In areas where the turf is thin, over seeding (planting new seed on an existing lawn) will help grasses out-compete weeds.
  • Reduce weeds in flower beds by mulching around plants and hand weeding.
  • Make the home uninviting to pests by keeping the grounds and indoors free of garbage, clutter and debris.
  • Keep insects and rodents outdoors by blocking their points of entry into the home using screens and other closures.
  • Eliminate sources of food, water and shelter that may attract indoor and outdoor pests. Fix leaky plumbing. Don't leave water in trays under houseplants. Store all food in sealed containers.
  • Use products like mouse traps and flypaper rather than broadcast sprays, rodent poison and foggers.

When the decision is made to use a pesticide product:

  • Read, understand and follow the instructions and precautions on the product label.
  • Apply a pesticide product only for its intended and labeled use.
  • Never use outdoor pesticides indoors.
  • Wear protective clothing and equipment as recommended on the product label when using pesticides.
  • Keep pesticides in their original containers with their original labels. Store pesticides in areas inaccessible to children and apart from medications, toiletries, foods and beverages.
  • Dispose of unused pesticides properly according to the label or turn them in at a community hazardous waste collection program.
  • Never reuse a pesticide container or spray bottle for other purposes.

Individuals who experience health effects after exposure to a pesticide should immediately contact a health care provider or a poison control center (1-800-222-1222) and have the pesticide product label information available.

More information is available at: