A pesticide is any substance that prevents, destroys, repels, or controls a pest. Pests can be insects, mice or other animals, unwanted plants, fungi, bacteria, or viruses. Pesticides are usually chemicals, but they can also be made from natural materials such as animals, plants, or bacteria. In Idaho pesticides can be found in homes and businesses as well as in agricultural applications.

You can be exposed to pesticides through inhaling, ingesting, or touching pesticides. Common sources of exposure may occur when:

  • Mixing or applying pesticides at home for cleaning or through agricultural applications.
  • Touching plants, soil, clothing, or surfaces contaminated with pesticides. 
  • Eating food with pesticide residues or drinking water contaminated with pesticides.
  • Potential health effects from pesticide exposure depend on the pesticide, how you were exposed, how much you were exposed to, and how long you were exposed. 
Keep your home and family safe when using pesticide products
  • The Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), Division of Agricultural Resources, regulates the registration, sale, distribution, use, storage and disposal of pesticides under the authority of state laws and rules governing pesticides.  
    • ISDA does not recommend pesticide applicators or companies for pesticide treatments. Find out if an applicator is licensed in Idaho: 
    • ISDA does not make health determinations for the safety of pesticide products. 
    • ISDA investigates misuse of regulated pesticide products. Contact the ISDA Pesticide Compliance program for more information. 
    • ISDA provides free pesticide disposal events for unwanted or expired pesticide products. 
    • ISDA monitors pesticides in ground and surface water in certain locations.  
  • The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare provides health education and outreach on reducing exposures to pesticides. The Department can assist with reviewing the health effects due to exposure of specific pesticides. The Department also assists with investigating reported clusters of pesticide exposures. 
  • The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality regulates discharges to waterways that may contain pesticides, provides education regarding safer pesticide products, and regulates pesticide exposure in public drinking water systems.  
  • The Idaho Department of Fish and Game may be able to assist in response to fish or wildlife that have been exposed to a pesticide product. 
  • Local Public Health Districts can assist with health education and outreach for reducing exposures to pesticide products. Epidemiologists can investigate possible pesticide exposures and disease clusters.