Pesticides are poisons formulated to kill specific insects and other pests, such as rodents. Herbicides contain poisons formulated to kill specific types of plants. Some commercial fertilizers contain dioxins and heavy metals; if not applied properly, fertilizers can be dangerous to humans, animals, and even the plants they are meant to benefit.
In 2005, NYC passed a variety of laws regulating pesticides in the City.
Local Law 36 of 2005 requires that all retailers that sell pesticides must post warning signs stating that it is important to follow the labeled directions on pesticides, follow the notification procedures required by law, and notify neighbors prior to application. All commercial applications of pesticides require that all neighbors and abutters within 150 feet be notified in writing 48 hours prior to application of pesticides. This notice must contain the name, address, and registration number of the person applying the pesticides as well as the date of application, the names of the pesticides used, and any warnings that appear on the labels of the pesticides. Residential applications require application markers be placed surrounding the perimeter of the application location the day of application and for 24 hours following
Local Law 37 of 2005 specifies the types of pesticides that agencies can use on properties leased or owned by the City.
In addition, the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible for various state laws associated with pesticides.
Beyond those standards, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) offers a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical, mechanical, and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health, and environmental risks. IPM minimizes the use of chemical substances by utilizing routine monitoring to determine if pest control measures are necessary.
To cut down on the need for pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, consider implementing these IPM activities:
- Make areas less attractive to pests by cleaning up food scraps and other sources of food, repairing water leaks, and increasing ventilation.
- Make areas less accessible to pests by repairing holes and installing barriers.
- Use physical barriers and traps to eliminate animal pests.
- When landscaping, use plantings that require little or no fertilizer, such as hearty native plants.
- Do not reuse or recycle empty containers that held pesticide products or any other hazardous waste. Place them with your regular trash.
For more information on the chemical constituents and potential health effects of a specific substance, see the following:
helpful links about pesticides
pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer alternatives
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