National Pesticide Information Center



Pesticides and the Environment

The environment includes all of the living and non-living things that surround us, including the air, water, plants, soil and wildlife. Pesticides can be helpful in dealing with pests in our environment such as controlling invasive plant species that threaten native habitats. Pesticides have risks to the environment too, especially when they are used improperly.

Here are some tips to help minimize environmental risks when using pesticides:

  • When pesticides enter our environment the ingredients and the conditions affect how long it will last, and where it will go.
  • Read the pesticide label, including the "Environmental Hazards" section, and make sure you are following the directions to minimize the risks to the environment.
  • Always dispose of unused pesticides properly.
  • Consider adopting an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to controlling pests. IPM practices are designed to have minimal impacts on the environment.
  • When possible, try to use pesticides that are specifically designed for the pest you are trying to control, rather than broad-spectrum pesticides which are more likely to affect non-target organisms in the environment.

To learn more about pesticides and our environment visit these resources:

Air and Pesticides Wildlife and Pesticides
Water and Pesticides Beneficial Insects
Soil and Pesticides Pollinator Protection
Plants and Pesticides Backyard Beekeepers

If you have questions about pesticides in the environment, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Additional Resources

Last updated May 06, 2016