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Healthy Homes: Overview

Purdue Extension > Extension Disaster Education Network > Healthy Homes: Overview

Healthy Homes: Pesticides

Poison and bleach

Should You Be Concerned?

Many families are bugged by pests. Cockroaches, flies, rats, and mice transport disease and can get into food. Roaches and dust mites can make allergies and asthma worse. Fleas and ticks riding into the home on pets or clothing can carry disease. The bites of rats and certain spiders can make children and others very ill.

Pesticides are things like bug spray, pet flea collars, rat poison, bleach, and garden weed killer that prevent and kill pests. Pesticides pose a real danger if you do not use them correctly. Some may cause poisoning, birth defects, nerve damage, and even cancer. They can make allergies or asthma worse. Breathing fumes or dust from pesticide poweders and sprays can be harmful. Touching a floor where a pesticide was used can also be dangerous.

Children are especially at risk. When they crawl and play on floors and lawns, they come into contact with any pesticides used there. Young children put their hands, toys, and other things into their mouths. They may have touched pesticides on the floor or grass. Children may take in more of the small amount of pesticides on foods than adults because they eat more of some foods, like apples or carrots/

The biggest danger is poisoning. Children can accidentally poison themselves if they play with, eat, or drink pesticides that are not stored safely.

Resources

Pesticides in the Home Teacher's Guide (Word)

Pesticides in the Home (PowerPoint: 200 KB)

Pesticides Pre-test (Word: 73 KB)

Pesticides Post-test (Word: 75 KB)