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Asthma Triggers: Gain Control


graphic of a cockroach depicting the asthma trigger - Pests

About cockroaches, other pests and asthma

Droppings or body parts of cockroaches and other pests can trigger asthma. Certain proteins are found in cockroach feces and saliva and can cause allergic reactions or trigger asthma symptoms in some individuals.

Cockroaches are commonly found in crowded cities and the southern regions of the United States. Cockroach allergens likely play a significant role in asthma in many urban areas.

Actions you can take

  • Keep counters, sinks, tables and floors clean and free of clutter.
  • Clean dishes, crumbs and spills right away.
  • Store food in airtight containers.
  • Seal cracks or openings around or inside cabinets.

Insecticides and pesticides are not only toxic to pests — they can harm people too. Try to use pest management methods that pose less of a risk.

Additional resources

Home Safe Home Poster (PDF) (1 pp,, 315 K, About PDF)Identify possible pest habitats in your home where pests may reside; eliminate the source while reducing pesticide risks.
Citizen's Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety (PDF) (53 pp., 1.4 M About PDF)
This booklet summarizes what a pest is, what pesticides are and the many factors that should be considered when faced with pest challenges in your home and other environments. [EPA 735-K-04-002]
Cockroach Prevention Activity Website for Kids
This website educates kids about cockroaches; their anatomy and where they like to set up their homes. Learn how to control these pests while reducing pesticide risks; roaches are often asthma triggers and shouldn’t be inside where you’re at.
Oregon State University and EPA: National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) exiting EPA
The NPIC is open from 6:30AM to 4:30PM Pacific time, daily. Call toll-free at 1-800-858-7378 or contact them via e-mail at npic@ace.orst.edu.
Environmental Asthma Triggers

For all EPA asthma resources and publications, visit the Publications webpage.

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