What is a pesticide?
"Pesticide" can refer to any substance that is made to control or prevent any pest, including weeds, insects, rodents, fungus, and more. (Herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and rodentcides are all pesticides.) This includes man-made, or synthetic, products as well as products derived from naturally occurring chemicals in plants or other organisms.
Insect and rodent control
Insects and rodent populations in homes, schools, and office buildings can quickly escalate to an infestation level if not effectively controlled. Controlling these pests is necessary to protect the health of people and pets and maintain sanitary and safe places to live and work. Some common pests that could cause real problems include:
A "weed" is any unwanted plant. Most often weeds are controlled due to the consequences of their presence, such as damage to sidewalks or danger of allergic reaction, or to reduce competition so desired plants can grow and thrive. Weeds commonly treated with herbicides include poison ivy, poison sumac and poison oak, which cause allergic reactions in more than one-half of the U.S. population, and ragweed, which is the cause of many seasonal allergies. Common weeds that disrupt the growth and appearance of many lawns, such as dandelions and crabgrass, are also controlled with herbicides.
Pesticides are rigorously tested by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before they are approved for sale and use. Products that demonstrate no unreasonable harm to human health or the environment are registered and made available for use. The EPA studies the safety of pesticide products using a risk-benefit analysis that weighs the benefits of the product. Even after a product is approved, the EPA continues to study and review the product using the most advanced science and most recent data available.
Reading the Label
Failure to follow the label instructions for pesticide use is against the law. Just like with any chemical product or over-the-counter medication, following the label is important to ensure the product is used in a safe and effective manner.
Tips for Safe Use