Resources on Pesticide Issues for School and Childcare

We have several resources that can help schools and childcare settings reduce potential for exposure to pesticides. 

Managing Pests in Schools -- how to set up a pest control program using integrated pest management principles.

Resources for Head Start programs:

Also see Reduce Your Child's Chance of Pesticide Poisoning for other tips and resources.

Pesticides and Their Impact on Children: Key Facts and Talking Points

While pesticides have benefits for society and can be powerful tools for controlling pests, they are also inherently toxic and can harm children's health if stored or used improperly.

The following data-driven talking points can be useful when talking with Head Start staff, families and others about the risks associated with pesticides and the importance of pesticide poisoning prevention.

Help! It's a Roach: Activities for Kids

Learn about cockroaches and ways to control them with our interactive game and using an activity book.

More information about pest control around the home.

Ten Tips to Protect Children from Pesticides and Lead Poisoning

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These simple steps can help you save children from environmental hazards around the home:  

1. Always store pesticides and other household chemicals, including chlorine bleach, out of children's reach -- preferably in a locked cabinet.

2. Read the Label FIRST! Pesticide products, household cleaning products, and pet products can be dangerous or ineffective if too much or too little is used.

3. Before applying pesticides or other household chemicals, remove children and their toys, as well as pets, from the area. Keep children and pets away until the pesticide has dried or as long as is recommended on the label.

4. If your use of a pesticide or other household chemical is interrupted (perhaps by a phone call), properly reclose the container and remove it from children’s reach. Always use household products in child-resistant packaging.

5. Never transfer pesticides to other containers that children may associate with food or drink(like soda bottles), and never place rodent or insect baits where small children can get to them.

6. When applying insect repellents to children, read all directions first; do not apply over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin; do not apply to eyes, mouth, hands, or directly on the face; and use just enough to cover exposed skin or clothing, but do not use under clothing.

7. Many homes built before 1978 have lead-based paint. If you plan to remodel or renovate, get your home tested . Don’t try to remove lead paint yourself.

8. Ask about lead when buying or renting a home. Sellers and landlords must disclose known lead hazards in houses or apartments built before 1978.

9. Get your child tested for lead. There are no visible symptoms of lead poisoning, and children may suffer behavior or learning problems as a result of exposure to lead hazards.

10. Wash children’s hands, toys, and bottles often. Regularly clean floors, window sills, and other surfaces to reduce possible exposure to lead and pesticide residues.

Download a PDF of this publication (735-F-03-001) with pictures.

For more information about lead, and testing your child or home call the National Lead Information Center at 1-(800) 424-LEAD, or visit Lead in Paint, Dust, and Soil Web page.

Printable Version: Pedicure Foot Spa Infections Brochures

Information for customers of salon pedicure foot spas that can help reduce the potential for infections associated with pedicure foot spa use. 

See more on Preventing Pedicure Foot Spa Infections.

Pesticide Poison Prevention Checklist

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Poison-proof your home: One room at a time - Pesticide Poison Prevention Checklist

Pesticide Devices: A Guide for Consumers

This guide for consumers explains key facts about pesticide devices and how they differ from registered pesticide products. If you are a device producer, registrant or need to know more than what is presented here, please see our Pesticide Registration Manual - Chapter 13 - Devices.

On this page:

What is a Pesticide Device?

Pesticides are commonly thought of as chemicals. But we also have a role in regulating devices used to control pests. How a device might be regulated, however, depends on the device's specific design and function and whether it is used with a pesticide. A pesticide device is:

Note: Medical instruments or machines used to kill pests in or on living humans or animals are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

The Differences between Pesticide Devices and Pesticide Products and How They Are Regulated

Key differences between pest control devices, pesticide products and certain combinations can be summarized as follows:

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Note: Pesticide application equipment that is sold separately from the pesticide itself is not a device or a pesticide. For example, a sprayer for a lawn herbicide that is sold separately from the herbicide is considered to be “application equipment,” which we do not regulate.

Recognizing a Device by Reading the Label

A pesticide device that is EPA regulated will include an EPA Establishment Number on the label. It will not include an EPA Registration Number, which would only be found on pesticide products.

Claims on Device Labels or Advertising

We don'’t allow what are termed “false or misleading claims” to be made about the effectiveness of devices. If a manufacturer is making claims about a device, they should have scientific data to back up the claims.

Other Information about Regulating Pesticide Devices

While we do regulate most pesticide devices, there are some that we do not regulate. For example, any device that depends more upon the performance of the user than the performance of the device itself to be effective (such as a fly swatter) is not regulated. Also, traps for vertebrate animals are not regulated.

As stated above, if a device incorporates a substance or mixture of substances to perform its intended pesticidal purpose, or is packaged together for sale with a pesticide, then it is considered a pesticide product and must be EPA registered.

Examples of Regulated Pesticide Devices

Although these devices do not require registration as long as they don'’t contain any pesticide product, they are regulated in that “false or misleading claims” cannot be made about the effectiveness of devices. If a manufacturer is making claims about a device, they should have scientific data to back up the claims.

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ultra light unit

Ultraviolet Light Units – kill, inactivate or suppress growth of fungi, bacteria or viruses.

  • Water treatment units
  • Bactericidal lamps
  • Individual Water Purification Devices
sound generator

Sound Generators – repel pests such as birds and mice

  • Carbide cannons: –a device that emits a loud boom or blast at around 125 decibels.
  • Rotating devices: devices with rotating arms, often with solar-powered batteries to allow them to work at night.
  • High frequency sound generators
Insect trap

Insect Traps – kill or entrap insects and similar pests

  • Black-light traps (for example, “bug zappers”)
  • Electronic/heat screens
  • Fly ribbons
  • Glue boards
  • Fly paper
Ground Vibrator

Ground Vibrators – repel certain underground animals

  • Mole thumpers
  • Pinwheel vibrators
Water treatment units

Water Treatment Units – reduce or eliminate microorganisms from water

  • Certain drinking water filter-units. (The filter in such a unit removes microbial pests by physical or mechanical means. However, if the unit contains any substance intended to disinfect the water, then the unit is a pesticide that must be registered.)
  • Certain pool and spa electrolysis units. (Such units also must not contain a pesticidal substance intended to disinfect the water.)
  • Ozonator units
Air treatment Units

Air Treatment Units – reduce or eliminate microorganisms or allergens

  • Air filter units
  • Air ionizer/electrolytic units
  • Air ozonation units
  • Air UV light units

Examples of Devices that EPA Does Not Regulate

State Regulation of Devices

Some states require registration of devices that EPA does not regulate, or they may have other regulations that apply to devices. Check with your state pesticide regulatory agency Exit to determine if a particular pest control device is required to be registered with your state. 

Related Information

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Preventing Pedicure Foot Spa Infections

Outbreaks of skin infections on the legs and feet of patrons following spa pedicures have caused concern about spa safety. This page provides information for foot spacustomers of salon pedicure foot spas which can help reduce the potential for infections associated with pedicure foot spa use. Information for salon foot spa owners, operators, and workers.

The following represents guidance from the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Vietnamese translation of this page

Printable version of this page

Protect Your Skin!

Identifying an Infection

Open wounds appear on the skin of feet and legs. Initially they may look like insect bites, but they increase in size and severity over time, and sometimes result in pus and scarring.

Cause of Infections

Some incidents of foot spa infections have been caused by Mycobacterium fortuitum. This organism can occur naturally in water and soil. Other organisms have also been found in footbath systems. The screens and tubes of foot spas are particularly good places for the bacteria to collect and grow, often forming dense layers of cells and proteins called biofilms, which can be very hard to remove.

What You Can Do

Know how the salon cleans and disinfects foot spas.

Be aware that disinfectants used in the foot spa should indicate on the label that they're approved for hospital use.labelA disinfectant label should clearly show its uses and that it is EPA-approved Read more details about the disinfectant label.

1. The terms "Disinfectant" and also "Hospital" or "Medical" or "Health Care". This indicates the product can be used as a disinfectant on surfaces in these environments.

2. The EPA registration number.

3. Some products may have instructions for both sanitizing and disinfecting footbaths. Pedicurists should follow disinfecting directions.

Do not use the foot spa if you are not sure it is disinfected and safe to use. 

Do not risk your health. You should report any problems to your state cosmetological board.

Vietnamese Translation: Pedicure Foot Spa Infections Brochures

Information in this fact sheet for customers of salon pedicure foot spas can help reduce the potential for infections associated with pedicure foot spa use. 

See more on Preventing Pedicure Foot Spa Infections.