Pests and pesticides

Pests and pesticides can both have health effects. Household pests like mice, rats, and cockroaches can trigger asthma, while bed bugs are a well-known nuisance. Meanwhile, warmer winters may mean more vector-borne diseases like babesiosis and west nile virus.

Pesticides are chemicals used to control or kill insects, rats, mice, plants and weeds, or fungi (mold). Exposure to pesticides can occur from consuming foods or beverages that contain pesticide residues, from direct contact with the skin or eyes, or from breathing air in areas where pesticides are applied. Health effects from exposure to pesticides vary by chemical class. In general, short-term effects on humans from high levels of exposure include damage to the skin and eyes, difficulty breathing, neurological tremors or seizure and, in extreme cases, loss of consciousness and death. Current research is investigating whether chronic exposure to certain pesticides increases risk of some cancers, reproductive and developmental problems and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.

Data Features: Interactive infographics and reports

Rat Mitigation Zones

Rats can contaminate food, spread disease and reduce our quality of life. Rat Mitigation Zones (RMZ) are areas with high levels of rat activity, where City agencies focus …

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Rat Information Portal

New York City’s Rat Information Portal is a web map application that lets you view rat inspection and action data collected by the NYC Health Department.

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Data Stories: Narratives and explainers

Why trash is a public health issue Why trash service is crucial for public health New York City’s modern history of public health starts in the 1600s with the …