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Indoor air pollution is a persistent risk in the world’s industrialized countries. The chemical byproducts of technology & people’s increasing time indoors combine to create a serious indoor air pollution problem.

Pesticides are one component of indoor air pollution. Most households in the United States have used at least one pesticide product indoors. Surprisingly, pesticide levels in many households are higher than can be explained by indoor pesticide use. Additional pesticides may enter from outside sources, they may be released from stored containers, or may even be collected and then released from household surfaces.

Pesticides are quite dangerous–they are designed to kill pests after all. Tens of thousands of children each year are involved in common household pesticide poisonings or exposure. Even the “inert” ingredients in pesticides are capable of causing health problems. They are inert only to the targeted pest.

Both active and inert pesticide ingredients are usually organic compounds and can cause health effects similar to those caused by other household products: eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, and dizziness. But there is still not complete understanding about the level of concentration required to cause negative health effects.

The most outstanding step in reducing exposure to pesticides is to read and follow the label directions. Do not attempt to apply pesticides that restricted to use by certified professionals. When you apply pesticides approved for general public use, only use the recommended amount. Over-application does not increase protection against pests, and it may actually harm you.

Thoroughly ventilating the location of pesticide use will help reduce the chance of harmful concentration levels. Do your pesticide mixing outside, and only mix what you will need right away. Dispose of unused or partially used pesticides according to community guidelines for hazardous waste. If at all possible, use non-chemical methods of pest control.

Choose you pest control contractor carefully. Find out what chemicals they intend to use, and share your safety concerns.

Moth repellents require special consideration. The active ingredient, paradichlorobenzene, causes cancer in animals. There are potential short-term toxic effects as well. If you use moth balls to protect your items, store them in areas that are ventilated separately from your home.