All Creatures Great and Small

Pesticide Precautionary Principle


Pesticide Precautionary Principle The Pesticide Precautionary Principle (PPP) simply means that any pesticides used for any purpose have to be proven safe for people and the environment. There are three sections of the PPP that are important.

First, before any insecticides or herbicides are used, the target pest needs to be positively identified, including the pest’s scientific name. It needs to be demonstrated why this is a pest and why it needs to be controlled. Does it carry diseases? If so, which ones. Is it otherwise dangerous? Is it just unsightly? If the applicators can’t positively identify the insect pests or the weeds they want to control, they should not be using pesticides.

Second, once the pest has been positively identified and why it is a problem, then all possible methods of control should be studied and the least toxic one should be utilized. How is it beneficial to society to use toxic herbicides to control a weed that is simply unsightly? Can the weeds be manually removed? Can insect pests be excluded from a building without pesticide applications? If a pesticide is supposedly needed, we go to the third section.

Third, any pesticide (insecticide, herbicide) that they want to use has to be proven safe. The applicators need to provide documentation that the pesticide is safe for people and the ecosystem. Documentation does not mean a statement from the distributor, the manufacturer or even the EPA. It means a scientific, peer-reviewed document that has studied the pesticide. In reality, you can Google almost any pesticide and find this kind of documentation. The problem they may have is that there is virtually no documentation proving that any pesticide is safe for humans exposed to it or to the environment. If the applicators can’t produce scientific documentation that their pesticide is safe, then they should not be permitted to use it anywhere on public property or in public buildings.

Pesticides will only be applied in or on the outside of commercial buildings when a pest is present and will not be applied on a regular or “calendar” basis unless it is to treat an infestation and is a part of a pest management system being implemented to address a particular target pest. A pest is considered to be present when it is observed directly or can reasonably be expected to be present based on evidence such as droppings, body parts, or damage that is typically done by the pest

Basically they need to give you documentation identifying the pests, listing all viable options for control and data showing their methods and what they are using is positively safe.

Exceptions. There can be exceptions in the case of an emergency when, for instance, a large swarm of yellowjackets invade an occupied building. In this case, toxic pesticides may be used because of the danger potential. This is very rare and situations like this may never happen in most areas.

This Pesticide Precautionary Principle should be adopted by all city, county and state agencies that apply pesticides. Business owners should also require this from any exterminators they may use in their businesses where people may unknowingly be exposed to whatever is used.



About askthebugman

I have been in the pest management industry for over 40 years. In that time I have used almost every pesticide available to control so-called “pests”. With this experience, I have learned over the years that the pesticides we use are far more dangerous than the pests we are trying to control. As a result, it has become a passion for me to improve the quality of life for humans and the planet, by assisting people to not only become more educated and aware of their environment – but also by learning to manage their home and business with a sustainable and healthier approach to tending to unwanted infestations of bugs. Please enjoy my blog posts, check out my publications, utilize my services, or simply stay in touch if you have a bug question…


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