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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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RELEASE: 7/20/01
CONTACT: Sharon A. Southard or Amy Collings
(609) 984-1795 or 609-292-2994


The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is reminding homeowners to avoid routine spraying this summer and reduce pesticide use whenever possible.

State Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn said, "While we understand that warm and wet weather may trigger some unwanted household and garden pests, we urge residents to avoid routine spraying whenever possible and take advantage of the many alternatives readily available to control pests."

Shinn said homeowners should always try using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program and other common sense measures often obtained from local hardware stores, garden centers or kitchen cabinets. IPM uses a combination of methods such as barriers or biological controls to address problems. DEP last year opened a web site offering gardeners and anyone who uses pesticides updated information and advice. The site provides helpful tips about safety, proper use and environmentally sound disposal methods for pesticides and IPM strategies, including pesticide alternatives such as use of soap and water solution to control pests on houseplants. Rutgers County Extension offices are also good sources for information.

Additionally, Shinn stressed that homeowners should first carefully monitor the pest and when possible use naturally occurring bacteria and other organisms on lawns, plants and shrubs, and monitor results. He also reminded homeowners who spray to read the label carefully and follow all directions and precautions.

"We urge homeowners and lawn care applicators to protect themselves and the environment from pesticide misuse, and to avoid potential exposure to pesticides this summer," said Shinn. He also advised homeowners to check the credentials of professional pesticide applicators to ensure that the applicator has a valid, up-to-date DEP approved license. Applicators for weed, termite and household pest controls are among those licensed by DEP's Pesticide Control program.

DEP requires large-scale spray applicators to place legal advertisements in two newspapers circulated in the proposed target area at least seven days before the proposed target date. The public may call the contact person in the notice for specific details of the proposed pesticide application. Commercial pesticide applicators are required to give an individual advance notice of a pesticide application if that individual requests it of the applicator. Posting of lawns and public buildings are also required when pesticides are applied by commercial applicators.

Shinn urges residents to call DEP's Bureau of Pesticide Compliance which regulates pesticide use at 609-984-6568 if they suspect pesticide misapplication (during off- hours, any suspected environmental violation should be reported to DEP's 24-hour hotline at 1-877-WARNDEP [1-877-927-6337]). For a pesticide health emergency, call the New Jersey Poison Information System at 1-800-222-1222. For general information regarding IPM call 609-984-5014 or visit the DEP's web site at PCPNJ.ORG.


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