Why Pesticides?

Rea-life incidents illustrate the essential role pesticides play in health protection and safety.  The following are some events that demonstrate the benefits of pesticides and why these products need to be available to the public.

  • A Surf City, Calif. family was overcome at their home by an angered nest of adult paper wasps.  Two teenagers received multiple stings on arms, hands, and face.  Wasp stings cause discomfort as itching pain and redness.  Among those allergic to such attacks, insect stings can result in headaches, paralysis, and even death.
  • A Johns Hopkins University study cites mouse allergen as significant in the increased rate of childhood asthma.  skin tests of asthmatic children in major U.S. cities found that nearly 20 percent were sensitive to such allergens. Another study has linked cockroaches with asthma.  Nearly 40 percent of inner-city children were found allergic to droppings and dander from these insects
  • Recent invasions of highly aggressive Africanized bees, known as killer bees, have brought hazards to popular tourist areas.  At least 25 nests were recently cleared from Las Vegas attractions.  The bees cluster on sides of buildings, in wall cracks, around water or near picnic areas.
  • Fire ants now infest more than 310 million U.S. acres in 12 southeastern states and continue to spread westward at a rate of 120 miles per year, according to the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.  Annually, more than half of the infested area residents are stung.
    “Fire ants are along the coastal sections of Maine and are a continual problem for residents. We have treated many homes in the Mount Desert Island area over the past 10 + years.”
  • Hawaii health officials confirmed 35 cases of mosquito-borne dengue fever in the fall of 2001.  Authorities believed the dengue fever virus was imported by a resident who traveled to Tahiti or American Somoa, where the disease is endemic.  The virus has a 5 percent fatality rate in those infected through a mosquito bite.
  • Students at schools in the Los Angeles area experienced a different type of growing pain-noxious weeds sprouting through cracks in asphalt playgrounds.  The growth was attributed to an area-wide ban on herbicide use at schools by the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Costly hand labor resulted in temporary control, but many campus officials say effective, lasting control is not possible without herbicide use.

    “Integrated Pest Management is a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health and environmental risks.”

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