Homemade pesticides

Learn about the health risks of homemade pesticides and lawn pest prevention tips.

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Health risks

Many Canadians are looking for alternatives to traditional pesticides to use in their homes and gardens. Recipes for pest control products can be found on the Internet and in printed materials. These recipes are for products that claim to address anything from controlling insects to repelling large animals.

However, preparing, storing and using homemade pesticides can be dangerous to your health and the environment.

Homemade pesticides are potentially dangerous because they may present health or environmental concerns. They also do not:

  • go through any scientific testing
  • have label directions that explain how you can use them safely

Risks of preparing and using homemade pesticides include:

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

Recipe and ingredient risks

Recipes that require cooking are potentially dangerous. This includes those that suggest extracting nicotine from cigarettes or toxins from rhubarb leaves or chrysanthemums by boiling them.

Gasoline and kerosene as pesticide ingredients may present serious health or environmental concerns if not properly handled or disposed.

Use of boron or boric acid may cause overexposure to this substance and be harmful to health, especially to children.

Lawn pest prevention tips

The best way to reduce your need to use pesticides is pest prevention with a healthy lawn. Make your lawn more resistant to weed and bug infestations by:

  • aerating the soil, which creates small holes that allow air, water and nutrients to get to the grass root
  • fertilizing
  • watering deeply
  • increasing your mowing height
  • raking and spreading grass seed

Before using any pesticide, check to see if there are restrictions on pesticide use in your area.

If you use a pesticide on your lawn, be sure to use it safely. This includes:

  • following all label directions and warnings carefully
  • reading the label to choose the right product for the pest or weed
  • identifying the pest control products (PCP) number on the label

How Canada regulates pesticides

All pesticides must be registered in Canada before they can be:

  • manufactured
  • imported
  • transported
  • stored
  • sold
  • used

We conduct a thorough scientific review on products before registering them. Pesticides are only registered when:

  • they work well to control a pest
  • we are reasonably certain that they won't cause harm to:
  • human health
  • the environment
  • future generations

Pesticides are re-evaluated every 15 years to ensure that they continue to be safe and effective for use.

We also regulate:

In addition, we monitor and enforce the rules to make sure that pesticides are used properly.

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