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Pest Can Threaten Children’s Health

Pests that occasionally are found in child care facilities and homes can threaten children’s health. For example:

Flies can spread bacterial diseases

Cockroach infestations can trigger allergies and asthma attacks

Yellowjacket stings are painful and can be life-threatening for some individuals

Mice contaminate food and can cause damage to buildings

Pesticide Use Can Pose Risks to Children

Traditional pest control programs in child care facilities have often used preventive insecticide sprays to control pests. These products leave a residue behind after treatment which kill insects on contact. Some research indicates that certain pesticide residues may pose risks to children’s health. A 1993 report from the National Academy of Science found that children are more sensitive than adults in both their potential for exposure to pesticide residues and the potential for negative health effects following exposure.

Consider the following:
  • Children's bodies and nervous systems are still in a developing state.

  • Children eat and drink more per pound of body weight than adults do.

  • Children’s behaviors may put them at risk: crawling or playing on floors or in outdoor areas that have been sprayed, and the increased hand-to-mouth activity of younger children.