Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pesticide-Free Does Not Mean Pest-Free!

By Alan Caruba

In my home State of New Jersey we have a woman going around convincing one city and town after another to pass “pesticide free” resolutions and regulations in the name of protecting children in schools or people using parks for recreation or relaxation.

Jane Nogaki is the program coordinator of the New Jersey Environmental Federation and she devotes herself fulltime to this effort. Meanwhile, members of the pest management profession are busy protecting homes, businesses, schools, hospitals, supermarkets, and everywhere else people gather against Nature’s legions of pest insects and rodents.

Lawn care professionals are likewise devoting themselves to beautifying their client’s lawns and looking after public areas to ensure they do not become overgrown with weeds and invasive species.

Every day people use chemicals in one form or another without any fear and without much thought to their benefits because they already know that disinfectants and odor neutralizers enhance indoor areas while protecting against germs and noxious smells. They use detergents to clean their clothes and wash their dishes. They improve their homes by applying a new coat of paint and protect outdoor wood flooring with protection against water erosion.

The list of chemicals people use is vast, but environmentalists continue to strive against their use to protect people against insect or rodent pests or used to protect thousands of dollars worth of property against termites and other wood-destroying insects.

Proudly communities announce they have “pesticide-free” schools or their parks are going to be “pesticide-free.” This defies good sense and good science.

Meanwhile, in Africa millions of children die annually because environmentalists have secured bans on DDT to protect them against malaria that mosquitoes spread. Here in the United States they spread West Nile Fever, while ticks infect people with Lyme disease. Pesticides protect against stinging insects and, of course, against cockroaches that can swiftly spread salmonella and other diseases in an inadequately protected school cafeteria, the teacher’s lounge and in classrooms.

I doubt the Americans can even imagine what a pestilent “environment” they would live in without the professional and proper use of pesticides. In the occasional incidents where rats or mice take over a restaurant or bedbugs infest a hotel or dormitory it becomes front page news.

Local politicians like to boost they are protecting their community and they are fair game for the likes of “environmentalists” who claim that millions of pounds of pesticides and herbicides are being used throughout a State or at the local level.

They don’t stop to think about the beautiful, healthy lawns residents proudly maintain or expect from their local parks and recreational areas.

They don’t stop to think about schools kept pest-free by licensed pest control professionals working within Integrated Pest Management protocols that they have written in cooperation with their State environmental agencies.

I am reminded of earlier eras in which plagues spread to vast populations for lack of modern chemicals to eliminate the pests that infected and killed thousands. In modern times, West Nile Fever arrived on the East Coast in the 1990s and spread to the West Coast within a few years. That is the reality of the actual threats to health.

The next time your local elected officials start discussing “pesticide-free zones” or schools, remind them that the real threat are the pests!

I resent “environmentalists” who put people’s lives at risk.

1 comment:

Dana Pratt said...

Thank you for pointing out how this wonderul technology, pesticides, contribute to our high quality of life.