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What is a Pest Control

Urban Pesticides are
Regulated by Health Canada

Territorial Healthy Lawns Strategy

Precautionary Principle and pesticides

The Benefits of Pesticides

What about banning
pesticides for "cosmetic"
or "non essential" uses

Integrated Pest
Management (IPM) - The Right Approach

Pesticides and Health

What are inert ingredients in pesticide formulations

  What are inert ingredients in pesticide formulations
What are inert ingredients in pesticide formulations?

The pest control product that you buy at a store or have applied by a professional is a formulated product. This means it includes both the active ingredient used to control pest and formulating ingredients such as emulsifiers and solvents, sometimes called "inerts," that are not involved directly in controlling the pest but provides other benefits.

Inert ingredients, also called formulants, are materials intentionally added to the formulation to modify or improve physical characteristics such as, sprayability, solubility, spreadability, stability or solvency.

The vast majority of inert ingredients, or formulants, are common industrial chemicals used every day in the home.

They are found in products such as cleansers, furniture strippers, kitchen and bathroom disinfectants, shampoos and soaps.

When a registration application for a pesticide is received, scientists at Health Canada examine the toxicity potential of all ingredients in the product, as well as specific toxicity data generated for the active ingredient. In addition, manufacturers must submit acute toxicity tests on all formulations. Health Canada officials review these data, as well as the identity of the formulants. Any indication from these studies that the formulants are enhancing, or in some way altering the toxicity of the pesticide active ingredient, may require further studies before regulatory officials will register the formulated product.

What do the experts say about 2,4-D?

2,4-D is the most common pesticide used by homeowners and is considered safe by experts based on hundreds of studies including long-term exposure studies in agricultural or industrial settings. The weight of scientific evidence on the safety of 2,4-D has been considered by numerous experts including a panel convened by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1994) and expert panels from the Canadian Centre for Toxicology (1987, 1992), who concluded that the overall evidence does not indicate that 2,4-D poses health risks to humans when used as directed. The European Commission stated that "there is no clear association between cancer development and exposure to phenoxy herbicides (including 2,4-D and 2-EHE) could be established from the available epidemiological studies". How can one rationalize that 2,4-D is "less safe" if used to control weeds on lawns than to control some of the same weeds on a farm field for food production?

Quick Facts
Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) does not permit the use of inert ingredients known to have toxicological concern in any Canadian pesticide product. Registration must be obtained from Health Canada before the formulation is allowed to be sold.