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About Spray Safe, Play Safe

Tuesday, May 28, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Erica Fearn
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In the northeastern United States, blacklegged ticks (a.k.a. deer ticks) are capable of transmitting the agents of FIVE known diseases, including the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.  Children ages 10 and younger are among those most likely to get Lyme disease.   Research suggests that people are often exposed to the ticks that make them sick in their own backyards.  The Spray Safe, Play Safe films are the result of a two-year collaboration between scientists, health educators, local health officials, and media specialists, aimed at addressing the problem of backyard ticks.  Funded by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, our goal was to develop science-based educational materials for families living in tick-endemic areas to help them make informed decisions about dealing with backyard ticks.  In our films, we present many tools for reducing ticks or reducing one's exposure to ticks, with an emphasis on how to use effective backyard pesticides safely and judiciously.
Why do we need to talk about pesticides?  People use pesticides for a lot of reasons.  We know that sometimes even the most well-intentioned people can misuse or overuse pesticides.  They can also choose products that do not effectively work for blacklegged ticks, posing a risk to themselves, their families, and the environment.  Using a pesticide may be one tool that families choose for managing backyard ticks, but the decision to apply a pesticide should be made only after carefully considering:
  • what active ingredients are effective for controlling ticks,
  • how to safely apply pesticides, and
  • when and where to apply them for maximum effect with minimal non-target effects.

Navigating through all the pesticide information out there can be tricky.  So our films aim to distill what we know from scientific studies about tick management, so families can make informed decisions about how to best deal with ticks in their own backyards.


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