New research on household pesticide contamination emphasizes the need for less reliance on pesticides and more emphasis on neatness, blocking cracks where insects can enter and other so-called “integrated pest management” (IPM) measures, scientists have concluded. Their study appears in the ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Chensheng Lu and colleagues cite previous studies showing that urban, low-income, multifamily, public housing dwellings are prone to severe pest infestation problems. Families in Boston public housing developments, for instance, rank pest infestation, pesticide use and pest allergies second only to crime as matters of concern. In an effort to encourage use of IPM, which reduces reliance on traditional pesticides, Lu’s team studied exposure to 19 pesticides among children in 20 families in Boston’s public housing.
They found pesticides in all of the homes, along with indications — such as sighting of live pests or pest debris — that traditional pesticides were not effective. “The results from the current study, as well as other recent studies, conducted in low-income public housing, child care centers and randomly selected homes in the U.S. should accentuate the need for alternative pest management programs,” the report states. IPM focuses on eliminating the cause of pest infestations by minimizing access to food, water, hiding places, and sealing cracks and other openings in walls to prevent entry of pests.