Are pesticides harmful to people?

Effect on human health is one of the primary factors considered in the regulation of pesticides. Pesticides that can be used for mosquito control have been judged by the Environmental Protection Agency not to pose an unreasonable risk to human health. People who are concerned about exposure to a pesticide, such as those with chemical sensitivity or breathing conditions such as asthma can reduce their potential for exposure by staying indoors during the application period (typically nighttime). 

A published study, (MMWR, July 11, 2003) examined illnesses in nine states associated with exposure to pesticides used to control mosquito populations from 1999 through 2002. This study found that and "application of certain insecticides poses a low risk for acute, temporary health effects among persons in areas that were sprayed and among workers handling and applying insecticides." This article can be viewed online. For more information on pesticides and health, consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees the registration of these chemicals. The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) can also provide information through a toll-free number, 800-858-7378 or online.

Show All Answers

1. What are "larvicides" and "adulticides"?
2. What is CDC's position regarding the use of chemical mosquito control?
3. How are mosquitoes controlled during outbreaks?
4. Are pesticides harmful to people?
5. What should I do if I think that I am having health problems because of pesticides used in my area?
6. How does pesticide spraying affect the environment?
7. What training is required for workers who apply pesticides?
8. Where can I get information regarding the safety of specific pesticides?
9. How can I find out what types of pesticides are being used in my area?