Extermination strategies reported in the NYC Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2004: Prevalence and predictors

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It is likely that household extermination is a major source of pesticide exposure for urban residents. Little is known about the predictors of residential pest control strategies in urban areas, and greater knowledge of these may help identify who is at risk for higher pesticide exposure. Study data is from the 2004 NYC Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, a cross-sectional, population-based study using a three-stage sampling scheme. Logistic regression was used to identify predictors of pesticide use overall, and of application strategy: (1) consumer-applied pesticides only, (2) use of a professional exterminator only, or (3) use of both. Consumer-applied extermination was more prevalent than professional or both professional and consumer (39.9% versus 27.8% and 15.9%, respectively, and non-exclusively). In multivariate models among those who used any extermination, consumer application was associated with age 60 years+, being black or Asian, and being widowed, divorced, or single. Lower income households were more likely to use both strategies, and less likely to use professional extermination only. Urban residents may benefit from targeted education on how and when to self-apply pesticides, and on best-practice pest control to avoid unnecessary pesticide exposure. Higher prevalence of consumer-applied and conjoint consumer and professionally applied extermination in low-income households may reflect both economic determinants of first recourse and higher neighborhood infestation levels.

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