Jill Heidorf RCI, CSI, WWYW
Did it start with Starbucks banning plastic straws? I doubt it; it just seems that way. After all that poor sea turtle was all over national news needing to clear its own nose of a plastic straw that had found it’s way stuck inside. You must start thinking back to the smaller things or less significant changes, like banning cigarettes on certain beaches and restaurants, or larger things like Southwest Airlines serving their last bag of peanuts, and only offering pretzels. There are a lot of cultural changes that make us think that everything is being banned.
We, as Americans, don’t seem to mind being told that we can or should not use certain products. Aerosols are bad for the ozone layer, lead-based paints are harmful if ingested, dumping chemicals into the rivers and lakes is damaging to all wildlife, eating unpasteurized milk or cheese products can make us sick. We need to be rescued from ourselves, how do we know what is best for us unless someone is there to regulate and ban products?
In the Pest Industry, there have been many changes over the years. DDT was effective during WWII to keep our troops free from malaria. DDT is no longer allowed to be used on crops in the US due to effects it can have on the human nervous system and possible carcinogen. Chlordane is the man-made answer to DDT, but it has also been banned due to human health concerns. Chlordane was the answer before the 1980’s for termite control on wood houses. What we need to know is that certain pesticides used for specific controls is NOT a bad thing. Pesticides are very helpful for controlling termites in our homes. Fipronil is a broad-based insecticide for fleas on our pets, termites, roaches, ants, and ticks. When the label is followed properly on insecticides, they can be very effective and safe for that particular job. Do not use a specific insecticide as a general use control, that is when pesticides get a bad reputation. Pesticides serve a very important purpose in our overall well-being and lifestyle.
Alternatively using products with no pesticides, often referred to as Physical Barriers, is a great way to serve the environment and your healthy lifestyle around your home. While most of these Physical Barriers are meant for new construction (think of building your home from the ground up with the correct sheets, stones, and sealants that will allow your home to block bad air and water from the outside, breathe when it needs to, and drain water where it needs to. Now imagine that it does all that and puts a barrier that stops insects from entering the home). A home is a living breathing shell that protects you and your family. When you understand how a home needs to do all three of these processes, it allows the bigger picture of long-term sustainability for the occupants.
So instead of banning everything, let’s understand the importance of when to allow certain products, and why and where they should be used. Canada tells us if the inert ingredients in products are now allergenic to people and we see daily the calorie content of foods on restaurant menus. We are providing a lot of information, and it may seem overload at times. I like to think it is not a ban, but a pathway to a better world for all of us to reside in.