The Advantages of Organic Pest Control
Sep 13 2012
No doubt about it: pests are a nuisance. But before you reach for that can of chemicals and hose down every insect and larvae you can find, you may want to consider the dangers imposed on yourself, your children and your pets. Instead, consider reaching for a more organic solution, which promotes natural solutions and a non-caustic, non-carcinogenic interaction when used.
Pesticides are, by nature, volatile compounds decided to kill certain life-forms. These life-forms can be anything from your garden variety grubs, to uninvited insects, to microbial bacteria. The chemicals are specifically manufactured to terminate the life of its intended target; the problem is that while the pesticide may in fact be doing a fantastic job of its function, what happens when a non-target comes in contact with that same chemical? While many pesticides won't immediately cause death if someone should accidentally come into contact with it, the effects can be pretty severe. The side effects of certain pesticides have been known to cause birth defects, cancer, lowered sperm counts (especially associated with the use of the mosquito repellent DDT), neurological damage, as well as more "minor" damages such as irritation to the eyes and respiratory system, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and headaches. And the damages aren't even solely attributed to the active agents in the pesticides but in conjunction with the "inert" carrier agents that distribute the toxin.
Chemicals and the Consequences of Using Them
The Natural Resources Defense Council has compiled a list of 68 pesticides (pesticides, herbicides and fungicides) that the EPA has concluded are fully or potential carcinogenic. The list includes the known carcinogen arsenic acid, as well as the most commonly used pesticides alachlor, metachlor, atrazine and 1,3-dichloropropene whose respective EPA carcinogenic classifications are listed as B2, C, C, and B2. This means that alachlor and 1,3-dichloropropene have proven carcinogenic in animal testing, while the two Cs indicate probable carcinogenic effects (http://eap.mcgill.ca/MagRack/JPR/JPR_18.htm). That these chemicals are still being used and potentially ingested is a terrifying thought.
The EPA estimates that in 1990 (when the test was administered) "the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that some 79,000 children were involved in common household pesticide poisonings or exposures" (www.epa.gov). A more recent study conducted in 2002 by the University of Washington found 109 out of 110 children had pesticides in their urine (naturallandscapes.org). These pesticides are finding their way into our children's systems either through direct contact, or, more frighteningly, through indirect means of contaminated soil and dust that drifts into the home undetected. The effects of pesticides listed above are extremely hazardous to adults, but become even more hazardous to children, who haven't built up their immunity and are still developing.
The Organic Alternative
Organic pesticides such as those made out of garlic and clover, citrus oils and other plant extracts, are 100% natural and, considering many of these ingredients make their way to the dinner table nightly, pose no deleterious effects to a person's health. Along with posing no threat to humans, these organic solutions pose no greater threat to the environment than the pest problem you're using them for. These products won't disrupt the water table or compound the greenhouse effect going on in our atmosphere. Organic pesticides are simply using the pesticides nature has already provided, proven to work over years of evolution. Manufactured pesticides are the result of scientists trying to mimic this efficacy through several weeks or even years of laboratory testing, only to measure up to an iota of nature's timetable; the "rushed" synthesis is why so many of these artificial products are so hazardous. That said, why not go with the product that's been tested and approved.
Jim Rosele writes for Rose Pest Control, a Chicago pest removal company. He’s very interested in the change the pest control is undergoing as knowledge becomes widespread about the dangers of conventional pesticides.
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