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Teaching people about the link between pesticide use, IPM, and water quality is crucially important. Public concern about health and environmental risks, especially for children, is increasing. Scientists at Rutgers University summarized four surveys from the Northeast, completed between 1989 and 2001, about the public’s perception of IPM.

Their conclusions? Despite its benefits, IPM is an underused pest control approach. And a major constraint to implementing IPM? Lack of public education. In fact, in New York, 73 percent of respondents had not heard of IPM.

Despite this, studies indicate that citizens are thinking about pesticides, aware of alternatives, and are willing to learn more.

IPM is endorsed by the EPA and national parent teacher groups. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health recommends IPM for schools. We can teach our citizens to prevent or reduce pest infestations using a combination of good science and good sense. To choose the least-toxic agents when pesticides are necessary as a last resort. To base their decisions on identifying pests correctly and understanding their biology. To think IPM.