Are Pest Control Chemicals Safe?


No one understands the importance of pest control safety better than a professional exterminator. At Vulcan Termite and Pest Control Inc. we take safety seriously and only use approved pesticides following their specific guidelines.

For the most part pest control chemicals are completely safe. However, they have to be handled carefully by someone who’s trained to use them or safety could become an issue.

Rest Assured Pesticides Are Heavily Regulated and Tested

Because of the nature of the product, pesticides are heavily regulated by agencies like the USDA and EPA. This provides a lot of checks and balances before a pesticide can be approved for use.

These agencies are understandably concerned with food safety and the insecticides that are used on crops. But they also regulate pesticides used in homes, neighborhoods and commercial properties. The EPA has a risk assessment protocol that’s used whenever they are evaluating new pesticides and re-evaluating existing ones. Both the ecological (plants, environment, animals) and human health risks are assessed each time before a safety level is determined.

An Experienced Pest Control Technician Won’t Put You in Danger

Experienced pest control technicians from a licensed company are well-trained and keep up to speed on the latest pesticide uses and regulations. For example, we have an in-house certified entomologist that keeps our technicians on top of their continual training. Professional exterminators understand what’s safe to use in various situations versus which pesticides pose a health threat. They’ll also know how much pesticide is a safe to use in a single application.

This is why home and business owners are encouraged to call a professional rather than trying to handle infestations themselves. Any chemical can pose a risk if it isn’t used properly.

Minimum Risk Pesticides

The EPA has identified a number of pesticides that are classified as minimum risk. These are the pesticides that scientists have determined pose little to no threat to people, animals and the environment. Minimum risk pesticides often have natural active ingredients like:

  • Citronella oil
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sodium laurel sulfate
  • Thyme
  • Lemongrass oil
  • Potassium sorbate

Pesticides With the Highest Toxicity Levels

Each pesticide is approved for a specific use in a specific environment. The toxicity of the ingredients is what determines which pesticides are safe and what they can be used to treat. Pesticide active ingredients that have been determined to have the highest human toxicity levels are:

  • Mycobutanil .39% and higher
  • Permethrin 1.25% or higher
  • Lambda-cyhalothrin 0.04%
  • 2,4-D 0.12% and higher
  • 2-methy-4-chlorophenoxy
  • Lambda-cyhalothrin 0.002% and higher
  • Dicamba 0.71%
  • Sulfentrazone 0.18%
  • MCPP 0.16% and higher
  • Dicamba 0.03%
  • Methoprene 0.085%
  • D-limonene 78%
  • Bifenthrin 0.110%
  • Atrazine 0.60% and higher
  • Metaldehyde 1% or higher
  • Carbaryl 2% and higher
  • Chlorothalonil 0.087%
  • Oryzalin
  • Benefin
  • Triadimefon (bayleton ) 0.5%
  • Imidacloprid permethrin
  • Acetic acid/ Vinegar 20%
  • Acephate 4% or higher
  • Dicamba quniclorac 0.10%

These pesticides can cause acute and/or chronic health problems for people that are exposed to them. Additional pesticide active ingredients that pose a threat to pets include:

  • Azadirachtin 0.09%
  • D-CIS/transallenthrin 21.97% and higher
  • Sodium benzoate 0.15%
  • Pyrethrins 0.02%
  • Piperonyl Butoxide 0.20% and higher
  • Imidacloprid
  • Bifenthrin 0.1% or higher
  • Hydramethylnon 0.036% and higher
  • Methoprene
  • Trichlorfon 6.24%
  • Permethrin 0.15% and higher
  • Carbaryl 0.126%
  • Beta-cyfluthrin 0.5%
  • Cyfluthrin 0.75%
  • Tetramethrin 0.2%
  • Petroleum oil 98%
  • Spinosad 0.5%
  • Extract of neem oil 0.9%
  • Fipronil 0.0103%
  • Deltamethrin 0.1%
  • Esfenvalerate 0.0033%
  • Malathion 50%

When in doubt always read the label of a pesticide container. If it says CAUTION that indicates a low toxicity level. WARNING is used on pesticides with moderate toxicity. Any pesticide with the label DANGER has a high toxicity level.

We always recommend that people ask their pest control company to specify what exactly is being used. Ask for the name of the active ingredient(s) and the EPA registration number. Every pesticide, except minimum risk pesticides, has to be registered.

If you need to control pests on your property and want peace of mind knowing a professional team is using every safety precaution give us a call. Vulcan Termite and Pest Control Inc. is a trusted Alabama pest control company that has provided safe treatments for over 50 years.

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