National Pesticide Information Center in Corvallis gears up for busy season
CORVALLIS, Ore. - We are only a few weeks away from summer, and that means that more people will be heading outside.
As things start to get busier with the sunshine and warmer temperatures, so does the National Pesticide Information Center, a unique call center in Corvallis.
They get thousands of calls every year from all over the country, and their job is to answer questions and minimize risk when it comes to pesticides, which are commonly found in the home.
Amy Hallman is the project coordinator at the NPIC, located at Oregon State University.
"We are all scientists, and so because of that we have this natural curiosity and of top of that, we want to share what we learn with others," said Hallman.
Alicia Leytem, who is a pesticide specialist says this involves several things around your home that you may not have thought were dangerous.
"That includes things like herbicides, insecticides, but also disinfectants, insect repellents, rodenticide and those sorts of things," said Leytem.
Letyem's main job is to answer phone calls and respond to social media accounts, and she says she's much busier as the summer season approaches.
"It used to be where we would get one or two questions a season," said Leytem. "It's starting to get to the point where we are getting questions via social media once a week."
Hallman says that the calls that come from Oregon are different, depending on where in the state they come from. But regardless, she says it's important for people to have valuable information readily available.
"I think pesticides are misunderstood and they can be very scary," said Hallman. "So having a knowledgeable source where you can call and talk to a real person about that to try to protect human health and the environment is really important."
Hallman says one of the busiest times they've ever had was back in 2015, when the Ebola and Zika viruses were found in the United States.