In case you didn’t see yesterday’s comment that was added to Jeff Gillman’s January 6 post on home remedies, I’ve posted it here. Dr. Catherine Daniels is WSU’s pesticide coordinator:
I’ve enjoyed reading the science-based information on your site. Keep up the good work. As regards home remedies, that is slippery slope, both legally and morally. Having a written definition of what you will or will not accept is helpful, especially if done in advance. Then you can be sure of being consistent and deliberate at least. There are both state and federal laws regarding pesticides, and state laws do vary. The most important thing is to know your state’s interpretation of those laws and to be mindful that with a blog you may be talking to people in state’s where laws are interpreted differently. I mention that for your legal protection. For example, in Washington State, if you talk to a user group (such as the public), and discuss the ways to use a material as a pesticide, it becomes a de facto pesticide recommendation. A legally-liable recommendation. When a researcher publishes information in a journal it’s not directed at a user audience so is not considered a recommendation by the author. If you take it to the public, at least here, it becomes a recommendation you made, unless you insert certain disclaimers. It’s always attractive to try and “help” the public find some easier, faster, cheaper solution to a pest problem. With pesticides and the public, you offer a better service directing them to a tested material which is registered and has a consistent concentration from batch to batch. Having personal safety and storage instructions is important…things that are missing in make-it-yourself squirt bottle solutions. Home remedies encourage people to think that the solution is “safe” (for people, not pests) because it’s made out of everyday ingredients. But as we know, the dose makes the poison. Nicotine is a nerve poison which you wouldn’t want a child to come into contact with accidentally because the squirt bottle wasn’t labelled or put in a safe place. I agree that our role is to educate, not police household cupboards or public pesticide use patterns. But by the same token, because we (educators)are trained to look at the big picture, there are good reasons to consider sticking to a label. Thanks for the opportunity to comment.