Pesticide use and air pollution
One would think that pesticides mostly have an impact on our outdoor quality. However, studies are showing that most people’s exposure to pesticides occurs indoors (80%!), and in these same homes, a dozen different types of pesticides have been found suspended in the air1. Why is pesticide exposure so common inside, and what can you do to protect yourself from its danger? Read more below.
What are pesticides?
As you may know, a pesticide is any substance used to kill (the suffix ‘-cide’ means to ‘to kill’), control, or repel certain forms of life that may be unwelcome in your home, yard, garden, or office. Typically, the following categories of pesticides are found indoors:
- Insecticides (for controlling insects)
- Termiticides (for controlling termites)
- Rodenticides (for controlling rodents)
- Fungicides (for controlling fungi and mould)
- Disinfectants (for controlling germs and microbes)1
Pesticides can be found in a multitude of forms from sprays, sticks, and powders to balls and foggers. Their applications indoors are usually for killing indoor pests, while outdoors they are used for gardens and lawns. Pesticides are also used for large-scale agriculture, and if you live near large farms, you are more at risk of experiencing chronic or long-term pesticide exposure.
What are the symptoms of pesticide exposure?
Most pesticides are classified as semi-volatile organic compounds, and they can have a negative impact on our health when inhaled or ingested.
Short-term symptoms of pesticide exposure may include eye, nose, and/or throat irritation; headache; dizziness; nausea; and/or physical weakness.
Long-term, or chronic, exposure to pesticides may lead to liver and/or endocrine damage; central nervous system and kidney damage; and/or increased risk of cancer1.
Unfortunately, it is not only the pesticide agent (or active ingredient) that can lead to negative health effects. Pesticide products also contain other ‘carrier’ chemicals, called ‘inerts’, that are not toxic to the pest but can still be toxic to humans if exposed1.
How do we track pesticides into our spaces?
Scientists have detected a surprising amount of household pesticide suspended in the air during their studies. Upon seeing a pest problem at home or at the office, many people will directly apply pesticide products in order to quickly rid themselves of the problem. However, these actions have consequences!
Other than direct use, is it possible to track pesticides into our homes or offices unknowingly? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. When we enter our homes or offices, we can easily bring in soil from outdoors that has been treated with pesticides on our shoes or clothes. Pesticides can also travel through the air. While it is important to encourage regular ventilation of our spaces, we must keep in mind that outdoor air - like indoor air - comes with its share of man-made pollutants.
How can we protect ourselves from pesticide-caused pollution?
There are multiple steps you can take to protect yourself from the severe effects of pesticide exposure. For example:
- Try non-chemical options first by looking for natural products
- Only use a pesticide product according to the manufacturer’s instructions
- When using outdoors, make sure to mix or dilute the product and apply only in the recommended quantities
- When using indoors, make sure to properly ventilate your space by opening doors and windows
- If using a product on a pet or a plant, make sure to do so outdoors
- Do your research before hiring a pest control company to treat your pests at home or at work
- Do not store pesticide containers inside your space and dispose of unwanted containers according to your local jurisdiction1
If pesticide chemicals must be used, be sure to remove all humans, pets, and plants from the area to protect them from exposure.
Fight indoor air contamination with an Eoleaf air purifier
Another excellent way to protect your home and office from pesticide exposure is to invest in and install an air purifier.
Eoleaf’s air purifiers are capable of combatting all three types of air pollution: particulate, chemical, and biological. This includes pesticide products which are classified as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. When using products that are known to contain VOCs, a person’s exposure to the negative effects of VOCs is 1000 times higher than they would be without the use of those products2.
Eoleaf’s 8 different filtration technologies can protect you from fine particle and particulate matter (PM) pollution, germs (bacteria and viruses), moulds and spores, and allergens (pollen and dust mites). All of our devices are equipped with HEPA-certified filters and activated carbon filters, ensuring that you are protected from dangerous VOCs that may be deleterious to your health.
Reach out to our team of experts today to find the perfect device for your home or office.
1 Environmental Protection Agency. (2022, October 12). Pesticides' Impact on Indoor Air Quality . EPA. Retrieved February 10, 2023, from https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/pesticides-impact-indoor-air-quality
2 Dooner, M. (2020, September 7). Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - indoor air quality & health effects. Water Treatment Services. Retrieved November 24, 2022, from https://watertreatmentservices.co.uk/volatile-organic-compounds-indoor-air-quality/