As we enter the Spring season, it's a time to focus on the unique challenges that this season brings.

Along with an increase in patients presenting allergy-related asthma and other lung conditions exacerbated by the season, healthcare facilities frequently face different pest and land care challenges during this time of year due to warmer temperatures and increased humidity. Certain pests, and pesticides may be used in your facility including widely used synthetic pyrethroids frequently used for bed bugs, mosquito control, fleas, flies, moths, ants and many other pests, can exacerbate lung-related patient-presenting issues.

We're excited to share some timely pest and land care management support and solutions with you to help your team address these challenges.
Maryland Legislative News
Breaking News from the Maryland General Assembly
Last issue, we reported on PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) in pesticides and why it is a concern for health care facilities.

We're pleased to report that the Maryland legislature passed two bills SB158/HB319 that resulted from findings that pesticides, registered for use in our state, can contain the “forever chemicals” PFAS. These can have alarming impacts on patients and staff. PFAS are linked to long-term health consequences, including kidney, testicular, prostate, and breast cancer, birth defects and developmental damage in infants, childhood obesity, thyroid disease, high cholesterol, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and impaired immune function.
IPM is all about reducing pesticide use and exposure because of their potential adverse health impacts. These alarming findings of PFAS in pesticides increase the importance of implementing a high standard of IPM, to reduce harmful exposures from both pesticides and PFAS.

Read the press release on this breaking news.
Facility Spring Challenges
Managing Critters that Exacerbate Seasonal Allergies and Asthma with IPM

Seasonal allergies and asthma can be further worsened by pests, such as cockroaches and rodents, as well as airborne pollen and mold spores. IPM first-line-of-defense strategies such as proper sanitation, exclusion, and monitoring reduce such pest issues, as well as protect patients and staff from pesticides that can exacerbate seasonal health challenges. Prevent the spread of infectious diseases by controlling pests that can transmit pathogens, such as mosquitoes and ticks.

Reduce facility allergens, related to pests, pollen and mold, while reducing pesticides that can exacerbate allergies/asthma and may also contain PFAS. Learn the Basics: Pest Prevention Training Presentation for Health Care Facility Staff

Prevention is key when it comes to addressing asthma and allergy concerns. Adopting a preventive approach can help you stay ahead of the problem and reduce the risk of exposure to triggers.

Synthetic pyrethroids are often described by pest control contractors “safe as chrysanthemum flowers.” While pyrethroids are a synthetic version of an extract from the chyrsanthemum plant, they are chemically engineered to be more toxic, take longer to break down, and are often formulated with synergists, chemicals to increase potency, which compromise the human body’s ability to detoxify the pesticide.
Pesticides are known to worsen asthma. This class of pesticides are also considered possible endocrine disruptors and possible carcinogens by US EPA. People with compromised immune systems, chemically sensitive people, pregnant women, and people with respiratory problems are especially vulnerable to these pesticides.

Learn to control pests effectively and safely with these videos and fact sheets:
Spring Prevention Tips from Joe
Joe Griffin had a 16-year tenure at Sheppard Pratt and a total of 35+ years of Senior Level Facility Support Operations experience. Joe is a consultant to the IPM in Health Care Facilities Project.

Tip #1: "Use IPM Best Practices to Reduce Allergens "
  1. Identify triggers that can be addressed with housekeeping and/or maintenance actions, including pest entryways, harborage, food: Clean drains daily and flush with water on a regular basis – at least once a week. Add door sweeps to prevent pest access by 60%. Thoroughly clean waste, recycling, and compost receptacles. 
  2. Repair water leaks and any water damage promptly to prevent mold from growing/spreading and to prevent attracting pests.
  3. Daily clean up food debris and dispose of garbage promptly to eliminate food sources that attract cockroaches.
  4. Seal cracks and crevices in walls and floors to prevent cockroaches and other critters from entering the building.
  5. Reduce Indoor air pollution: This can come from a variety of sources, including cleaning chemicals, certain disinfectants (chlorine and QAC-based products – go to for more info), and certain pesticides including synthetic pyrethroids.  
Tip #2: "Practice Safe Mosquito Control"
  1. Eliminate pooled or stagnant waters from containers, gutters, drains, and anywhere that pools water on the facility grounds. Even a bottle cap can become a breeding site.
  2. Fix leaky faucets.
  3. Stock any ornamental ‘standing water’ on the facility grounds with mosquito larvae eating fish
  4. Fix outdoor leaks from water faucets and clear and enhance drainage where needed.
  5. For standing water you can’t drain, use Mosquito Dunks or Mosquito Bits with BTI, a least toxic biological control. BTI is toxic only to mosquito larvae and lasts 30 days, treating 100 square feet of surface water. Simply apply Mosquito Dunks® or Mosquito Bits to any standing water, or water garden. Mosquito Bits work well for moist areas that can also be a mosquito breeding site. The dunks are ingested by feeding larvae and kills them.
And while we're thinking about facility grounds...

Learn to maintain beautiful pesticide-free turf and grounds that resist disease. Stay on top of what to require of your land care vendor

If you haven’t yet, watch our on-demand webinar on pesticide-free land care.

Our presenter Kevin Wengernuk of KW Landscaping is a pro in pesticide-free/organic land care and has been managing the Maryland State House grounds since 2012. Learn Kevin's proven techniques for reducing and eliminating pesticides and maintaining healthy turf that protects the health of people, pollinators, our waterways, and the environment.
Featured Spring Webinar & Guide
GGStart Spring off right!
Preventing & Solving Weed, Turf & Landscape Issues
Without Pesticides
with Kevin Wengernuk, KW Landscaping
Charting a Safe Course for Your Facility
Schedule a Free Green Team Virtual Presentation

Invite us to provide your Green Team with a free virtual presentation addressing recent developments that can impact your facility's pest management practices.

Your Green Team is the central institutional committee responsible for identifying and implementing sustainability initiatives that reduce the environmental impacts of day-to-day operations. Protecting the population you serve, and your staff, from both pests and pesticides, is a critical aspect of reducing environmental impacts. 

We can help! Some topics we address in our Green Teams presentation and Q&A:
  • Ensuring the sustainability of your pest management program
  • How your IPM Policy is crucial to the health of patients and staff 
  • Safer alternatives to pesticides and pesticide-registered disinfectants
  • Recent research on widely used pesticides that impact healthcare
  • Pesticides that weaken immune systems and vaccine effectiveness, i.e. COVID-19 
  • Current Maryland-banned pesticides that your facility needs to be aware of
The IPM in Health Care Facilities Project promotes safer pest and weed management best practices that are effective and protect the public and environment. Exposure to harmful pesticides can cause or exacerbate the very issues for which patients/residents are being treated. Especially during this challenging pandemic, we keep you updated on important news and research related to COVID-19 issues — from least toxic disinfectants to pesticides that do/do not exacerbate coronavirus symptoms. We support your efforts to ensure a protected and toxic-free environment for your facility and those you serve —
and ALL our IPM in Health Care Facilities Project services are FREE.
For information and help, 
contact us! 
Our services are always free.
IPM in Health Care
Facilities Project
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