Residential insecticide usage in northern California homes with young children

Xiangmei Wu, Deborah H Bennett, Beate Ritz, Joshua Frost, Diana L Cassady, Kiyoung Lee, Irva Hertz-Picciotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Residential insecticide usage and actual application details were collected in a population-based sample of 477 households residing within 22 counties in northern California with at least one child of age 5 years between January 2006 and August 2008. Structured telephone interviews were conducted collecting information on residential use of insecticides, including outdoor sprays, indoor sprays, indoor foggers, applications by professionals, and pet flea/tick control during the previous year. Interviews also covered post-treatment behaviors, which influence post-application exposure levels. Altogether, 80% of the households applied some type of insecticide in the previous year, with half of this population using two or more application methods. Of the households using insecticides, half reported applying insecticides relatively infrequently (4 times per year), whereas 11-13% reported high frequency of use (24 times per year). Application frequency was temperature dependent, with significantly more applications during the warmer months from May through October. Spot treatments appeared to be the most prevalent application pattern for sprays. For one out of three of the indoor applications, children played in the treated rooms on the day of the application, and for 40% of the outdoor applications, pets played in the treated area on the day of the application. These findings describing the intensity of insecticide use and accompanying behaviors in families with young children may inform future insecticide exposure modeling efforts, and ultimately, risk assessments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-436
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Toxicology
  • Epidemiology


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