Humans have been using chemicals to control pests since 20 BC (20 years before Christ was born).
Generally, all chemicals used to control pests are called Pesticides.
Among pesticides, they are further grouped into insecticides (chemicals used to control insects), termiticides (chemicals used to control termites), rodenticides (chemicals used to control rats or rodents), herbicides (chemicals used to control weeds), fungicides (chemicals used to control fungi) and so on.
When refer to a pesticide, you should always refer to its active ingredient (A.I. in short) and not by its brand name.
For example, chlorpyrifos is an active ingredient of an insecticide. There are over 100 brands of chlorpyrifos registered in Malaysia.
Similarly with medicine, paracetamol is an active ingredient commonly use for relieving pains in human being. A lot of people know it by Panadol. But the active ingredient also registered under the brand names of Actimax, Axcel, Uphamol to name a few.
Due to the numerous hazards directly and indirectly cause to humans, sales and uses of pesticides are tightly regulated and controlled worldwide.
In Malaysia, the sale and use of a pesticide is regulated by the Malaysian Pesticides Board, a department under the Malaysian Agricultural Ministry. Every pesticide being sold or used in the country must be registered and approved by the board.
The Malaysian Pesticide Board has classified all registered pesticides into four classes according to their level of toxicity to human beings. These classifications appear as color bands at the bottom of a pesticide label.
Class 1 (black band for Class 1a and red band for Class 1b together with a skull and crossbones symbol) is highly poisonous and is usually only used by trained persons. Class 2 in yellow band is classified as poisonous. Class 3 is labelled as harmful and the least toxic group is classified in Class 4.
To ensure your own and family safety, it is definitely wise to opt for a less toxic pesticide for controlling your pest problem. More so if you are applying it on your own.
If you are engaging a pest control operator to treat your pest problem, always insist to know what type of pesticides they are using. If possible, ask them to show you the product before applying and make sure it is in a new container that never been opened before.
Direct effects of pesticides on human beings shall be given a considerable thought.
Some pesticides are carcinogenic (could cause cancer), mutagenic (could cause changes in our genetic materials), toxic to human reproduction and so on.
Over exposures to pesticides could kill.
According to the World health Organization and the UN Environment Program, each year there is an estimate of 3 million workers in the agricultural sector in the developing world experience severe poisoning from pesticides, about 18,000 of whom die.
Some of the poisoning these workers experienced are abdominal pain, dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, as well as skin and eye problems.
Additionally, many studies have indicated that pesticide exposure is associated with long-term health problems such as respiratory problems, memory disorders, cancer, depression, neurological deficits, miscarriages and birth defects.
There is a misconception that odour of a pesticide kill pests.
There are people believe that the stronger the smell of a pesticide the more powerful the pesticide.
In actual fact, odour might not kill pests, but it certainly causes hazards to human beings.
Odour is usually produced by volatile compounds.
These smells could be produced by the active ingredient itself or other inert ingredients such as fragrances added in products as those of aerosol insecticides. Some pesticides active ingredient produce pungent odour.
Very often, you might smell the pesticide within the few minutes after spraying it but do not notice it after that. This is because you have already acquired it after certain times.
Usually you need an outsider to inform you about the pesticide odour when she comes into your vicinity.
Almost all pesticides, with the exception of some purposely developed for urban pest control, are designed for agricultural or open areas usage. Nevertheless, most of these pesticides are being used for pest control in residential, commercial and recreation areas.
In the agricultural sector, in order to safeguard the safety of worker, pesticide authorities in various countries in the world have requested pesticide suppliers to produce and submit information concerning pesticide Re-Entry Intervals as one of the registration requirements.
Re-Entry Interval is defined as the time period between application of pesticides to crops and the entrance of worker into those crops without protective clothing. This is to protect worker from possible pesticide poisonings.
If there are Re-Entry Intervals to safeguard agricultural workers in the open areas, by rights, more stringent levels shall be applied for the urban pest control sector as pesticide are generally applied in closed environments. Think again …