Are all pesticides “bad”?

Most pesticide problems are caused by a small number of the pesticides available today. Many low-risk pesticides are available and more are being developed each year from both naturally occurring and synthetic materials. However, pesticide use without regard to need or potential hazard is always a poor choice, and rarely solves pest problems.

Improvements in pest management are needed, and pesticides will likely always be a part of the solution.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), malaria continues to kill half a million people annually.

Asthma incidence and asthma-associated morbidity is increasing in inner city children in the U.S.  Asthma is associated with cockroach allergen sensitivity and exposure as well as exposure to pesticides.

Other persistent and emerging pest problems include vectored human and animal diseases such as West Nile virus, Eastern equine encephalitis and Lyme disease; plant pests and diseases such as emerald ash borer and soybean rust; and more than 170 noxious aquatic, terrestrial or parasitic weeds continue to challenge pest managers in the U.S. and elsewhere, and demand effective pest management measures.

Since 2003, the majority of new pesticide registrations have met criteria set by EPA for “reduced risk” including lower hazards to human health and non-target organisms, and reduce potential for contamination of groundwater, surface water, and other environmental resources.  These EPA “reduced risk” pesticides include biopesticides, which are naturally occurring substances, microorganisms, or pesticidal substances produced by plants containing genetic material introduced specifically to control pests.