Exposure to rodents can trigger asthma attacks. Studies have shown a linkage between rodent allergy and asthma symptoms.Integrated pest management (IPM) approaches offer effective means of eliminating rodents from a home. IPM methods focus on preventing infestations, trapping rodents, and limited use of lower-toxicity pesticides. However, even after a rodent population is controlled, rodent hair, urine, and fecal matter may remain, which can trigger allergic reactions in some people.
Designing, maintaining, and renovating buildings to minimize rodents is an effective prevention-based approach.
- Seal holes and cracks in building foundations, utility openings, and joints between materials. Use corrosion-proof materials such as copper or stainless steel mesh. Rodents can chew through many other materials and squeeze through tiny openings.
- Add rodent barriers to foundation walls to make it more difficult for them to enter a building. For example, heavy-duty wire mesh along the outside of a foundation is an effective barrier.
- Seal passages through interior floors, walls, ceilings, and kick spaces. If possible, keep kick spaces open to limit places rodents can hide. (Kick spaces are the gaps between the bottom of cabinetry or built-in furniture and the floor.)
- Keep bushes and trees at least three feet from homes. Bushes and trees near a home provide food, a living place, and sheltered passage for rats and rodents.
- Ensure trash is stored in secure containers (covered garbage cans and dumpsters).
- Store food in rodent-proof containers.
Sources and Additional Information:
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America – www.aafa.org
Asthma Regional Council – www.asthmaregionalcouncil.org
Beyond Pesticides – Integrated pest management to control mice –www.beyondpesticides.org/alternatives/factsheets/MOUSE%20CONTROL.pdf and www.beyondpesticides.org/infoservices/pesticidesandyou/Winter%2000-01/Minimizing%20Mouse%20Madness.pdf
Building Science Corporation – www.buildingscience.com
Environmental Health Coalition – www.environmentalhealth.org/PestControl.pdf
Gumm, Brian, Home Energy, “Integrated Pest Management in the Home,” Vol. 21 Iss. 6 pp. 36-39 (Nov-Dec 2004)
National Academy of Science, Institute of Medicine report Clearing the Air: Asthma and Indoor Air Exposures 2000 – http://books.nap.edu/books/0309064961/html/index.html
Pesticide Action Network – www.pesticideinfo.org
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hanta/hps/noframes/prevent3.htm
US Environmental Protection Agency – www.epa.gov/pesticides