Q: My daughter is sensitive to a lot of things, hence we don't use any chemicals, including pesticides, around the house. The Greenbug you mentioned a while back works very well. How can I be sure that when my daughter starts school that they don't use any chemicals, particularly pesticides, there? I don't want her to get sick.
A: A 1997 Environmental Protection Agency memorandum from William Burnham, Health Effects Division, noted that the U.S. EPA had identified at least 96 registered pesticide active ingredients that are potential human carcinogens. The No. 1 killer disease of children is cancer. In October, 47 Ohio schoolchildren were sickened when an exterminator sprayed some herbicides outside of a classroom without asking the teachers to close the windows. I would recommend asking the school what they do for pest management. Most schools use pest control companies, which is fine, but they need to use companies that offer nontoxic pest management. Synthetic pesticides should never be used in school buildings or on school property. There are safe and effective alternatives.
Q: Besides having a cat, do you have any recommendations for repelling mice?
A: There are no really effective mouse repellents. All you can really do is to totally inspect the outside of your house to try to find out how they are getting in. If you have a crawl space under your house, you need to go under or have someone go under and plug all openings in the floor around pipes with steel wool. Never use rodenticides, as the mice may take it and die in an area where they can't be retrieved and you will have a bad odor. Also, any ectoparasites on the rodents, such as mites or fleas, will leave and may bite you or your family or any pets you have.
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