A pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest. Pests can be insects, mice and other animals, unwanted plants (weeds), fungi, or microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. Though often misunderstood to refer only to insecticides, the term "pesticide" also applies to herbicides, fungicides, and various other substances used to control pests. Under federal law, a pesticide is also any substance or mixture of substances intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant, or desiccant. [from: What is a Pesticide?, EPA]
Pesticides and their uses are regulated by the federal and state governments. The use of pesticides can be harmful to humans and to the environment. Recent studies documenting the presence of pesticides in area streams and effects of pesticides on salmon have resulted in public policies designed to reduce chemical use in homes and private and public gardens.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has cited Portland, Oregon's Parks Integrated Pest Management Program as a model. See Portland Parks and Recreation Invasive Plant & Pest Management. NMFS believes that, if jurisdictions would broadly adopt a similar approach to eliminating and limiting chemical use in their parks and other areas, it would help conserve listed fish. (Citizens Guide to the 4(d) Rule, Limit No. 11
Washington Laws and Regulations
The use of pesticides under state law is governed by the Washington Pesticide Application Act, Ch. 17.21 RCW, which authorizes the Department of Agriculture to regulate pesticide application and use. This chapter preempts cities and counties from regulating pesticide application and use, except the first class cities and the counties in which they are located, which can regulate structural pest control operators, exterminators, and fumigators.
The Washington Pesticide Control Act, Ch. 15.58 RCW, authorizes the Department of Agriculture to regulate formulation, distribution, storage, and disposal of pesticides. This chapter does not preempt cities and counties from regulating these activities, so long as the local regulations do not conflict with state law. See AGO 1993 No. 5.
Pesticide Licensing and Education for Public Employees
Government employees who apply any restricted use pesticide or a general use pesticides by means of an "apparatus" (defined in RCW 17.21.020(4)), are required to have a public operator license (RCW 17.21.220).
Use of Pesticides
- Pesticides, Washington State Department of Health
- Pesticides and Schools- Parent Notification Law, King County Local Hazardous Waste Management Program
- Pesticide-Free Places, King County Local Hazardous Waste Management Program
- Grow Smart, Grow Safe® - The Grow Smart, Grow Safe® project is managed by Metro, the elected regional government for the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area, the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County, Seattle, WA and Thurston County Environmental Health, in Olympia, WA.
- About EPA's Pesticides Program, Environmental Protection Agency
- Pesticide Management Division, Washington State Department of Agriculture
Integrated Pest Management
National and State Organizations
Washington Local Governments
- Bainbridge Island Municipal Code Ch. 16.30 - Pest Management and Pesticide Use
- Olympia Art, Parks and Recreation Integrated Pest Management Program, 2006
- Renton Integrated Pest Management
- Seattle Public Utilities Integrated Pest Management
- King County
- An Executive Order requiring certain King County departments, offices, and agencies to conduct pest and vegetation management activities in accordance with the Tri-County IPM model policy and supporting guidelines, document code No.: PUT 8-17 (AEO), 1999
- Integrated Pest Management (IPM), Department of Executive Services, Finance and Business Operations Division, Procurement and Contract Services Section, Environmental Purchasing Program, 2009
- King County Local Governments Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM), Local Hazardous Waste Management Program
- King County Integrated Pest Management for Noxious Weeds, Noxious Weed Board
- Kittitas County Interlocal Cooperative Agreement between Kittitas County Weed Board and Kittitas County Weed District No. 1 for a Coordinated Integrated Pest Management Program, adopted 03/2010
- Thurston County Natural Resources Program Integrated Pest Management
Handling and Disposal of Pesticides