Because of the high toxicity of conventional pesticides and the high levels of exposure to people and pets 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.
Toxic pesticides are found in thousands of products that are used in your home, garden, school, workplace, parks, along rights-of-way and on farms. They are used to kill a range of pests, including insects, rodents, weeds, fungi, bacteria and mildew. They can be inhaled, absorbed through your skin, and ingested. Many people assume that, because pesticides use is so common, it must not be harmful; however, U.S. EPA registration of a pesticide does not mean that it is safe.
The list below contains many of the commonly used pesticide active ingredients that are toxic to human health and the environment and are not recommended for use in most cases. This category contains pesticides that are determined by U.S. EPA to be a possible, likely, or known carcinogen, mutagen, teratogen, reproductive toxin, developmental neurotoxin, endocrine disrupter, and/or immune system toxin.
Click on a pesticide to view a fact sheet and learn more. For a quick reference, see Beyond Pesticides' table showing the health effects of toxic pesticides commonly used in lawn care and structural pest control. 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.