Roaches, Rats, and Kids…Oh, My! Children, Pests, and Pesticides
Surveying Knowledge, Attitudes, Behaviors, and Skills in Low-Income Residents and
Promoting Least-Toxic Interventions Through Integrated Pest Management Training


Speaker:         Dion L. Lerman, HHS, CP-FS, Environmental Health Program Specialist, Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management Program, PA


Pest pressure, especially by cockroaches and rodents, in low-income communities is intense. Asthma rates have doubled in the last twenty years. Currently 20% of Philadelphia school children are asthmatic but in low-income neighborhoods, the asthma rate is as high as 37%. While negative health effects of pests and improper pesticide use are well documented, actual indoor pest control behaviors of residents is not. This study seeks to understand the Knowledge, Attitudes, Behaviors and Skills (KABS) of parents as they attempt to protect their families from pests. This presentation will summarize the emerging results of a three-stage survey is being conducted in Philadelphia, PA, and Camden, NJ, among 100 low-income households. Information about the KABS of families with children six or less years old is collected, with demographics, in the first in-home visit. A second visit provides each household with a kit of least-toxic pest control and ‘green’ cleaning materials, and training to use them properly. A follow-up visit is conducted 4-6 weeks later to measure changes in KABS. It also provides hands-on training and materials to encourage less toxic responses, and measures changes in KABS and actual pest experience. Maps showing combined risk factors, indicating high priority action areas, will be introduced. Since the study is set to conclude over the summer, this will be the first public presentation of preliminary results.