How many times have you seen a cockroach in your home and attempted to spray an entire can of bug killer to get rid of all cockroaches once and for all? How many times of you seen a little field mouse venture into your home and resorted to using tons of rat poison to eliminate any possible infestation from here to the end of time? How many times have you used excessive amounts of cleaners in an attempt to make things cleaner and brighter? Well, the reality is that more is not always better. In fact, excessive use of pesticides or household cleaners can be counterproductive and even put your entire family at risk.
One basic principle for using pesticides and household cleaners safely is to read the label first! By reading the product label, you will get the necessary information to use the product properly and minimize exposure to these chemicals. Furthermore, the label provides first aid information in the event of an accidental poisoning.
While I have made the point of reading the label when using pesticide products, I wasn’t aware of the need to follow the label’s instructions with the same care when using other common soaps and household products. In fact, I recently watched a program that illustrated how excessive amounts of laundry detergent actually produced the opposite effect by leaving cloths dingy from too much soap. Excessive soap could also produce soap scum in some washing machines which, unfortunately, serves as a breeding ground for bacteria. The consumer show also stressed the need to read the instructions manual for the household appliance to maximize use and efficiency. Similar guidelines also apply when using other appliances such as dishwashers.
Therefore, emptying an entire container of pesticides will not keep the pests at bay. Good integrated pest management practices will.
So, why not start today?
About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.