A: Pest control products, also known as pesticides, are organisms, chemicals and devices that are designed to control, destroy, attract or repel pests. They can be man-made or found in nature. Pest control products include the following:
- algaecides that control the algae in swimming pools
- rodenticides that control rats and mice
- insecticides that control wasps, hornets, white grubs and ants
- insect repellents that keep mosquitoes away
- herbicides that control weeds like poison ivy and dandelions
- fungicides that control plant disease on fruits, vegetables and lawns
A: There are two major benefits of using pest control products – protecting your health and protecting your home:
- Insects like cockroaches and ants can damage and contaminate food supplies.
- Mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and lice can carry disease and cause allergic reactions as well as causing general discomfort. These pests can be serious public health problems if they are not controlled.
- Rodents can destroy crops, carry disease, cause structural damage to our homes and negatively affect public health.
- Weeds reduce the quality and safety of grassy areas and reduce benefits like the cooling effect they cause.
- Plant diseases can destroy or affect the quality of crops, gardens and fruit trees. They can also affect the quality of sports fields and golf courses.
- Carpenter ants and termites can weaken the structural integrity of your home or cottage.
- Algae can invade your swimming pool.
- Weeds, insects and diseases can destroy your lawn, trees and ornamental plants.
A: There are a few simple things you can do to discourage bugs before they become a nuisance:
- Close food packages securely and keep kitchen counters free of crumbs and dirty dishes.
- Empty the trash regularly and secure the lids on the cans.
- Don’t leave pet food out in dishes overnight or for extended periods.
- Repair holes or cracks that may allow pests to enter your home.
- Keep screens or windows closed to prevent pests from finding and/or creating nests in your home.
A: The registration process for pest control products in Canada is considered to be one of the most rigorous worldwide. In 2006, Canada introduced new legislation with many requirements, such as added safety factors and taking into account vulnerable populations.
To meet the strict requirements for registration in Canada, industry is required to submit extensive scientific technical data for screening and review by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) under the new and revised Pest Control Products Act.
A: The PMRA reviews scientific data and prepares a full risk assessment, which includes the following elements:
- any possible health effects on humans including embryos, infants, children, teenagers and adults
- any possible effects on wildlife species including fish, birds, earthworms or insects
- the rate of degradation in air, soil and water
- whether or not the product leaches through the soil to water sources
- potential bystander exposure
- research to show that the product works on the intended pest
Q: Are children’s special characteristics taken into account when pesticides are evaluated for their risk to health?