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World Health Organization Announces First Book on the Public Health Significance of Urban Pests


National Pest Management Association Staff Play a Key Role in Book Development


June 25, 2008 – The World Health Organization (WHO) announced today the availability of the first WHO book investigating the significance of health-related issues posed by urban pests.  Titled “Public Health Significance of Urban Pests,” this 569-page book is now available to the global pest management community and is internationally recognized as the definitive source of unbiased information.


“As the only international trade association representing professional pest management, we are very pleased with the key findings in this book as it reinforces our industry position as protectors of public health and property,” stated Rob Lederer, executive vice president for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).  Mr. Lederer went on to say, “For many years we have been connecting diseases posed by pests with the need for professional pest management services.  The key findings in this groundbreaking book are critical and stress the need for us to continue to educate the public globally on disease risks posed by structural pests.”


The book relies heavily on the current status of urban pests and health in Europe and North America, and mostly draws from scientific evidence and regulatory approaches developed within these countries. 


Two key chapters were co-authored by Greg Baumann, vice president of technical services for NPMA.  These chapters titled “Bed Bugs” and “Integrated Pest Management” provide a comprehensive view of the global impact of pest threats as well as treatment practices supported by NPMA.  Bob Rosenberg, NPMA’s senior vice president, also participated in the development process of this book.  Both Mr. Baumann and Mr. Rosenberg were appointed as temporary advisors during the three year creation of this definitive book.


“We were very pleased to have NPMA staff play a key role in both the writing and overall development of this book,” Lederer commented.


The following key findings illustrate the books content:


  • Borders between urban and rural environments make areas more susceptible to pests and the diseases they may carry.  Regulations should be in place to ensure that buildings are pest-proofed and do not create conducive conditions.
  • Although regulations that cover the sale and use of pesticides exist throughout Europe and North America, a stricter differentiation between professional and over the counter products should be established and enforced to prevent the general public from having access to products that are more appropriately used by trained applicators.
  • Through scientifically-based risk assessments and proper approval processes, products used should not pose an unacceptable risk to consumers, applicators or the environment.
  • The prohibitive costs associated with obtaining pesticide approvals should be reconsidered and, when possible, lessened to encourage the development of more effective and affordable products with public health uses.
  • The public would benefit from increased public health pest research. 

Click here to read an executive summary extracted from the book.  To obtain a copy of “Public Health Significance of Urban Pests,” contact NPMA at npma@pestworld.org.