Others can irritate your skin or eyes, affect your hormone or endocrine system, or even cause cancer. The National Pesticide Information Center offers an online warehouse of information on pesticides. (Example: Did you know that if you can smell mothballs you are actually inhaling an insecticide?)
Here are safer alternatives to many commercial pesticides:
1. Ants. Sprinkle cinnamon, bay leaves, cayenne pepper or baby powder in problem areas and along baseboards and windowsills.
2. Cockroaches. Sprinkle equal parts of baking soda and confectioners' sugar in problem areas.
3. Mice. Place cotton dipped in peppermint oil near problem areas. Used kitty litter is another repellent.
4. Mosquitoes. Mix 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water placed on your deck or balcony or dab lavender oil on your wrists and elbows.
5. Flies. Small sachets of crushed mint placed around the home will discourage flies. So will a potted sweet basil plant.
Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer and health issues.