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Contact: Amy Cradic

DEP Calls for Residents to Limit Pesticide Use to Minimize Health Risks and Environmental Impacts:
Commercial Applicators to Notify Public Before Large-Scale Spraying

(03/66) TRENTON - In anticipation of increased landscape and gardening activities this spring and summer, Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today urged New Jersey's residents to use pesticides sparingly and reminded commercial applicators of their obligation to provide the public advance notice before large-scale pesticide applications.

"Homeowners and licensed applicators need to protect themselves and the environment from pesticide misuse and overexposure," said Commissioner Campbell. "I encourage all residents to explore alternative pest control measures that are not only safe, but also help New Jersey minimize the contribution of pesticides to water pollution."

Although pesticides can be beneficial, they can also pose risks to human health and the environment if improperly handled. The risk to human health can result from several sources: direct exposure through improper use, residual pesticides on food, and release into the environment from improper storage or disposal. Children and infants are particularly susceptible to pesticide exposure.

Through the pesticide web link accessible from its homepage, DEP posts information on the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices that provide homeowners effective and economical alternatives to routine pesticide spraying. Through IPM, a combination of pest management methods can be used including biological controls, barriers and simple household remedies like the application of a soap and water solution.

Commissioner Campbell also stressed that homeowners should check the credentials of professional pesticide applicators to ensure that they have valid DEP-issued licenses for both the pesticide applicator and the business, as well as required liability insurance for pesticide use. Applicators for weed, termite and household pest controls are among those licensed through the department's Pesticide Control Program.

For large-scale outdoor pesticide use, such as for gypsy moth or mosquito control, DEP requires the pesticide applicators to place one legal advertisement and one prominent display advertisement in two newspapers circulated in the proposed target area at least seven days before the scheduled application date. Commercial pesticide applicators also are required by law to give an individual advance notice of pesticide application if that individual requests it of the applicator. Sign posting on lawns and at public buildings is also required when pesticides are being used.

Residents who suspect pesticide misapplication should call DEP's Bureau of Pesticide Compliance at 609-984-6568 (during off-hours, any suspected environmental violations should be reported to DEP's 24-hour hotline at 1-877-927-6337). For a pesticide health emergency, call the New Jersey Poison Information System at 1-800-222-1222.

Through the federal EPA's website, individuals can access a Citizen's Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety. Local Rutgers County Extension offices also provide access to good sources of specific pest control information.

The effects of exposure to pesticides include poisoning, eye damage, disruption of the endocrine/hormone system, and respiratory ailments.



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Last Updated: July 14, 2010