Householders urged to take part in new home and garden pesticide survey

UK use of pesticides in the home increased by 38% between 1999 and 2000, with the general public spending £35 million on 4,306 tonnes of pesticides, but as a society we still know very little about the environmental and health impacts of these chemicals, says pesticide awareness group PAN-UK. In response to this the organisation has launched a survey to investigate domestic use of pesticides.

Members of the public are not trained in pesticide use and rarely read the instructions into the safe use and disposal of chemicals on product labels, potentially putting both their families and the environment at risk, says PAN-UK. As much as 20% of pesticides are disposed of by householders pouring them down the drain, which is a serious matter considering that it only takes one tablespoon of some pesticide concentrates to breach UK drinking water standards for 200,000 people, says the organisation.

Unused pesticides left in garden sheds and kitchen cupboards for years also presents a hazard to children, pets and wildlife, says PAN-UK, also pointing out that the Environment Agency has stated that it is concerned about the lack of information available on domestic pesticide use which may be as much as 65% higher than in amenity situations.

In response to this situation, PAN-UK is conducting a questionnaire survey, as well as promoting lower pesticide use by issuing a set of 12 ‘pests in the home’ fact sheets containing details of the least toxic pest control for the home and garden. The organisation will also be encouraging local authorities to provide pesticide disposal facilities.

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