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Least Toxic Pesticides

Because of the high toxicity of conventional pesticides and the high levels of exposure to people and pests that result from their use, it is wise to avoid them whenever possible. Pesticides are products that are designed to kill living organisms and should be treated with caution. If pesticides are used, it is best to go with baits or crack and crevice spot treatments and use the least toxic pesticide only after non-toxic alternatives have been tried.

The following list includes pesticides that are considered least toxic by Beyond Pesticides/NCAMP and acceptable for use as a last resort. Note that one concern that separates the toxic pesticide category from the least toxic pesticide category is the volatility of the chemical and its ability to vaporize or volatize into the ambient air. For instance, a bait with boric acid is non-volatile, while a bait with chlorpyrifos is volatile.

It is important to remember that pesticides listed in this category still have the potential to cause harm to human health and the environment. It is also important to carefully read the labels on all products before use to make sure that they do not also contain toxic pesticides, synergists or non-disclosed inert ingredients. If you are chemically sensitive, you will need to carefully evaluate whether the pesticide makes sense for you to use.

Click on the following least toxic pesticides for a fact sheet. If you don't see what you're looking for on the list below, or for more information on a specific product, including links to factsheets, basic chemical, alternatives, health and environmental effects, regulatory status, key studies and moreplease visit our Pesticide Gateway page.

Baits, nonvolatile
boric acid/borates/borax
diatomaceous earth/silica aerogels
fatty acid soaps/ insecticidal soaps
horticultural oils (vegetable base)

microbe based pesticides:

milky spore disease

pesticides made with essential oils:

citrus oil
orange oil/d-limonene
pepper extracts
tree oils