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Ensuring an IPM Approach

IPM never involves regularly scheduled pesticide applications and any chemical controls used should be limited to a finite group of least toxic substances. An effective IPM program will reduce both pest populations and chemical use.

A good Indoor Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program should include:

  1. Methods of identifying pests and monitoring levels of infestation;
  2. Stated action thresholds, or the level of infestation that can be tolerated;
  3. A list of preventive actions or corrective actions to be employed such as sanitation, structural repairs, and ongoing maintenance, establishing good soil health, mechanical and biological controls and cultural practices.
  4. Sound IPM practices that fulfill a supportive role with preventative health programs, minimize operational disruptions, and combine proactive measures with the application of least toxic pesticides—only as a last resort.
  5. An IPM controls approach: exclusion, access denial, and habitat modification/harborage.
  6. Use of a least hazardous chemical control strategy ONLY when all non-chemical approaches have been exhausted and have failed to address the problem.
  7. Inclusion of IPM Program requirements into all pest control bid specifications, including the option to review any pesticide formulation and active ingredients prior to application.
  8. Elimination of the use of pesticides in any of the following categories except in case of immediate endangerment to health as a result of a pest situation. Use of any pesticide in the following categories must first be reviewed by infection control and safety:
    1. Pesticides in U.S. EPA Categories I and II (i.e., those with highest acute toxicity);
    2. Pesticides linked to cancer — U.S. EPA Class A, B, C carcinogens and chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer under Proposition 65.
    3. Pesticides that interfere with human hormones and/or cause birth defects or reproductive or developmental harm, e.g., those identified as reproductive or developmental toxins or suspected endocrine disruptors by the U.S. EPA Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program or chemicals known to California to be reproductive toxins under Proposition 65.
    4. Pesticides in the carbamate (carbaryl, bendiocarb, etc.), organophosphate (diazinon, acephate, etc.) or pyrethroid (cyfluthrin, permethrin, etc.) chemical family and phenoxy herbicides (2,4-D, mecoprop, etc.); and,
    5. Pesticide products that contain inert ingredients categorized by the U.S. EPA as “List 1: Inerts of Toxicological Concern” (dioctyl phthalate, formaldehyde, hydroquinone, isophorone, nonylphenol, phenol,and rhodamine).
  9. Utilize a “Universal Notification,” which requires advance notice not less than 72 hours under normal conditions and 24 hours in emergencies before a pesticide, other than a least toxic, non-volatile pesticide is applied in a building or on surrounding grounds that the building maintains.[i]

Working with Pest Management Contractors

IPM is a partnership between the pest control provider and building occupants. Healthcare facilities should work with any potential IPM service providers to ensure the pest management methods utilized meet the intent of the organization’s stance on IPM. Any potential pest management contractor should:

  1. Be able to describe their methods in detail, including specific protocols for the pests you are most concerned about
  2. Visit the facility regularly to scout pest levels and proactively adopt any strategies needed
  3. Establish close communication with the person responsible for pest control oversight and be willing to train staff to ensure they comply with better sanitation and pest exclusion practices
  4. Provide detailed records on all their activities

For a sample service contract, look at Model IPM Policy from Beyond Pesticides, City of Santa Monica IPM Service Contractor Region 9 Model IPM Contract Performance Specifications for Schools.

Green Shield Certification

The IPM Institute created the Green Shield Certification Program as a third party certification for Pest Control Service Providers.  Green Shield Certified is now an independent, non-profit certification program that promotes practitioners of effective, prevention-based pest control while minimizing the need to use pesticides. Green Shield Certified standards require:

  • Non-chemical approaches first to prevent pest problems.
  • Expertise in integrated pest management (IPM) principles and practices.
  • Monitoring and inspection to spot problems early and identify and correct conditions that encourage pests.
  • Pesticide use only when necessary.

For further information on Green Shield Certified.


[i] Green Guide for Healthcare Operations Section, Version 2.2. Environmental Services Credit 3: Indoor Integrated Pest Management. Available at: http://www.gghc.org/tools.2.2.operations.php

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