Every three months I get a notice of every registered ‘chemically sensitive’ person in my state. The list includes what pest control ingredient(s) they are sensitive to and how far away from them I can be before I need to alert them of my treatment. Some are adjacent only while others need to know even if you are a 1/4 mile away. The list is about the same as when I first started receiving them over the years but an unfortunate few are added from time to time. I have no reason to doubt these people because of the consistency of the list and to be honest I feel for anyone who has their quality of life hampered by everyday products that seem so trivial to the rest of us.
At least 5 times per month however, I’m put on notice from a customer or person who’s in my treatment vicinity that they too, are chemically sensitive but they usually approach things in a whole different way and it’s with these people, I have an entirely different attitude.
The most common way I’m told is at the door of a apartment or rental unit. These people are very bold in refusing service and quickly tell you they have asthma or allergies and can’t be around ‘my poison‘. Not satisfied with their verbal assault they infer that I am to blame for times they have gotten sick and they’ll usually throw in a “your cr#@p doesn’t work anyway & I’ve had to bomb 3 times”. You’d think after all these years these kinds of people wouldn’t get to me but I must confess, they still do. Maybe its the lit cigarette in their hand or the catastrophe of a mess I can see just over their shoulder but any empathy I might have had for them quickly erodes away.
Other “sensitive” people I encounter are those calling for service or quotes who need treatment but for some reason are convinced they cannot be around any pesticides. These folks usually mean well but because of fear they are very leery of my treatments. It is with these people I can usually talk to and either dispel their fears or at least design a plan to address their needs. What always amazes me about these people however, is the amount of chemicals I find inside the home when I go in to treat. Granted I don’t find cases of Raid or gallon jugs of Chlordane under the sinks but every other kind of cleaner, degreaser, aerosol air fresheners, bleach, etc. etc. I guess because it is not a pesticide its Ok and somehow the unpronounceable chemical names on a container of Lyme Away is safer than any pesticide.
I suppose it’s obvious which group upsets me most from these 3 examples but I don’t think any category is going away anytime soon. I don’t know of one pest control professional who would purposely hurt anyone and to be honest it would take a whole lot of todays chemicals to kill someone which is what I think they fear most. At least with those who take the time to become registered or those who will recognize the need for the professional use of pesticides I can have some respect for. There are other posers out there and perhaps some pest professionals reading this article will share some of what they have seen. I realize that my job deals with chemicals and that the suffix ‘cide’ or variations of it at the end of any word means to kill. That does not mean however that I am suicidal looking to commit homicide with my pesticides.