The risks of homemade pesticides


Learn about the risks of homemade pesticides and why it's important to only use a registered product.

On this page

Health and environmental risks

Recipes for making homemade pesticides that claim to address all kinds of insect or weed problems are easy to find.

Like all recipes, results can differ widely. Preparing, using, and storing some homemade pesticide recipes can be dangerous because they:

  • are not scientifically tested for their short- or long-term impacts on health and the environment
  • may not work since they are not tested for effectiveness
  • do not have label directions that explain precautions or safe use instructions

Recipe and ingredient risks

Depending on the ingredients, the risks of preparing and using homemade pesticides include:

  • inhaling harmful fumes
  • irritating your eyes and skin
  • swallowing harmful substances because of improper:
    • preparation
    • labeling
    • storage
  • contaminating:
    • your clothing
    • cookware and utensils normally used to prepare and serve food
    • the environment, through use and disposal

Recipes that require cooking are potentially dangerous. Some examples of dangerous practices include boiling cigarettes, rhubarb leaves or chrysanthemums to extract nicotine or other toxins.

Gasoline and kerosene as pesticide ingredients pose special safety issues. These ingredients can result in serious health or environmental incidents if not properly handled or disposed of.

Some uses of boron or boric acid may cause overexposure to this substance. Overexposure can be harmful to health, especially to children.

Health Canada's role

Health Canada is responsible for regulating pesticides and other pest control products under the Pest Control Products Act.

Before a pesticide can be authorized for use, Health Canada scientists:

  • determine whether it can be used safely without harm to human health and the environment
  • assess if it is effective for its stated purpose

To ensure that pesticides on the Canadian market continue to meet the latest scientific standards, we re-evaluate pesticides on an ongoing basis. If our scientific review or compliance inspections identify an unacceptable risk, we take appropriate action. This can range from restricting how the pesticide is used to removing it from the marketplace.

Use a registered product

Make sure you use a registered pesticide. You can recognize a pest control product authorized by Health Canada by the Pest Control Product number on the label, for example :

  • Reg. No. 00000 P.C.P. Act
  • Registration No. 00000 Pest Control Products Act

If you choose to use pesticides, be sure to use pesticides safely. This means:

  • follow all label directions and warnings carefully
  • make sure the pest you want to control is listed on the product label

For more information

Pesticides and pest management

Contact Us

Recalls and safety alerts:

Page details

Date modified: