Effective Control of Household Pests
How to Reduce Exposure to Pesticide Hazards
Eight out of ten U.S. households have been reported to use pesticides both indoors and outside their homes. Moreover, while older adults account for only 2.8% of reported poisoning incidents, they account for 5.9% of all cases with a moderate to major outcome and 28% of deaths. This page offers information on steps you can take to reduce your exposure to these environmental hazards. For more detailed information, please see our series of easy-to-read facts sheets and brochures.
- Environmental hazards of pesticides: Exposure to high levels of pesticides may lead to acute effects such as headaches, dizziness, muscle twitching, and nausea. Long-term and/or excessive exposure to some pesticides has been linked to cancer, reproductive effects, and effects on the central nervous system.
- Read the label: The pesticide label is your best guide for safe and effective use of pesticides. Never use outdoor-pesticides indoors.
- Storage: Store pesticides only in their original containers. Never use an empty pesticide container for another purpose.
- Disposal: Use a community disposal program and carefully follow the disposal instructions on the label.
- Avoid contaminating others: Keep people and pets away from areas where pesticide sprays are applied. Avoid spraying where you prepare or store food, and avoid treating entire floors, walls or ceilings. Before spraying close the doors and windows of your home. Avoid applying pesticides outdoors on a windy day. Limit pesticide applications to infested areas and use only the amount recommended on the product label. After applying a pesticide, wash any parts of your body or clothes that might have come into contact with the pesticide.
- Avoid unnecessary pesticide use: When possible try to use non-chemical control strategies and the least toxic pesticides possible. This will minimize the risk to human health and the environment. Examples include the use of traps, baits, and gels instead of sprays to control pests.
- Opt for Using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system. Integrated Pest Management or IPM is a pest management system that combines non-chemical control strategies with less toxic pesticide use minimizing risk to human health and the environment.
- Don't Feed Pests Spills (PDF) (1 pg, 768K)
- Don't Feed Pest. Secure Lids On Cans (PDF) (1 pg, 59K)
- Report Water Leaks (PDF) (1 pg, 61K)
- Keep Dirt Outside...Remove Shoes (PDF) (1 pg, 709K)
You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.
- English (PDF) (2 pp, 143K)
Publication Number EPA-100-F-04-009
- Arabic | العربية (PDF) (2 pp, 758K)
Publication Number EPA-100-F-06-021
- Armenian (PDF) (2 pp, 495K)
Publication Number EPA-100-F-08-023
- Chinese Simplified | (PDF) (2 pp, 850K)
Publication Number 100-F-09-027
- Chinese Traditional | (PDF) (2 pp, 1.51MB)
Publication Number EPA-100-F-08-050
(PDF) (2 pp, 229K)
Publication Number EPA-100-F-07-017
Creole (PDF) (2 pp, 194K)
Publication Number EPA-100-F-05-034
- Hindi | हिन्दी (PDF) (2 pp, 503K)
Publication Number EPA-100-F-10-001
- Italian (PDF) (2 pp, 281K)
Publication Number EPA-100-F-07-030
- Japanese (PDF) (2 pp, 353K)
Publication Number EPA-100-F-08-051
- Korean | (PDF) (2 pp, 397K)
Publication Number EPA-100-F-05-038
- Polish | Polski (PDF) (2 pp, 448K)
Publication Number 100-F-08-003
- Portuguese (PDF) (2 pp, 99K)
Publication Number EPA-100-F-05-053
- Russian | Русский (PDF) (2 pp, 79K)
Publication Number EPA-100-F-05-015
- Spanish | Español (PDF) (2 pp, 256K)
Publication Number EPA-100-F-10-020
- Tagalog (PDF) (2 pp, 114K)
Publication Number EPA-100-F-08-057
- Thai | ภาษาไทย (PDF) (2 pp, 1.46MB)
Publication Number EPA-100-F-08-074
- Vietnamese | Tiếng Việt (PDF) (2 pp, 117K)
Publication Number EPA-100-F-04-021