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What are pesticides?

Pesticides are chemicals used to kill or control insects, plants, animals or other pests.

Pesticides are often used because pests can affect our health, safety or food supply. This use of pesticides is called non-cosmetic because it’s needed for public health and safety.

Pesticides are also used to make lawns, gardens and other green spaces look better. We call this use cosmetic because it’s not needed for health and safety.

image of crop being sprayed

Pesticides are a group of chemicals that include:

  • insecticides – for insect control
  • herbicides – for weed control
  • fungicides – for control of disease caused by fungus
  • rodenticides – for rodent control
  • fumigants – a gas or vapour used to control insects