What about odors?

Many pesticides have strong or bad odors that may be noticeable for days. High humidity and low winds may cause odors to linger or to move from treated areas into surrounding areas. Odors may be from the products that the pesticide is dissolved in (carrier) or the pesticide itself (active ingredient).

The presence of a strong odor does not mean that an illegal/unregistered pesticide has been applied or that the pesticide that has been applied is necessarily more toxic. Odor usually does not mean that movement of pesticide droplets or drift has occurred. However, if you are in an area where aerial pesticide applications are taking place, you feel droplets, and you smell an odor, you may have come into contact with drift.

If pesticide odors bother you, immediately leave the area or close your windows. You may want to turn on your air conditioner until the odor dissipates. There is no federal or state law that prohibits pesticides from being applied because it has odors.

If you feel ill from the odors, seek medical attention.

The MDA will investigate odor complaints provided there is reason to believe that at least one of the following has occurred:

  1. a company or applicator may not be licensed,
  2. an illegal/unregistered pesticide may have been used, or
  3. a registered pesticide was misused.

Sufficient information must be provided to the MDA in writing about the company or applicator’s identity, including the name, address, phone, type of vehicle, location of application, etc. You may provide this information electronically to us by submitting the Pesticide and Fertilizer Misuse Complaint Form.