Stories have been circulating in the press over the past week regarding the number of acute illnesses arising from misuse of pesticides. From 2003-2010 the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in the US recorded 111 cases of acute illness, and one death, after DIY bed bug exterminations. A North Carolina woman, who was suffering from underlying health problems died shortly after using 18 cans of chemical fogger to get rid of bed bugs in her trailer. No windows or doors were opened to ventilate the property. She had also applied pesticides to bed bug bites on her body, and spayed her hair in pesticide then covered it with a shower cap. Any certified pest control agent would realised that she had used around 17 more cans of bed bug fogger than recommended for the size of the area treated.
Excessive application is a major factor in home pesticide accidents. Many people believe that if a little amount is recommended on the label then a lot must be even better. Before using any DIY pest control product please read the product carefully, do not use more than the stated amount – the correct amount will be adequate to kill the bugs, and ensure you ventilate your property by leaving open a window.
Even more worrying the CDC recorded that over a third of those who became ill had applied pesticides without being certified to do so. In the majority of cases, those who became ill had been exposed to pyrethrins, pyrethroids or both – and were in toxicity category III. DIY pest control products containing chemicals in this category bears the word “Caution” on the label.
Over 7o% of the cases occurred within the last two years, which correlates with the rise we have been experiencing in bed bug infestations which is largely down to pesticide resistance and increased global travel.
Bed bug infestations are more effectively eradicated by chemical free heat treatments. If you need a bed bug treatment, please make sure the pest control company you use is certified and trained to use pesticides. A list of qualified pest control companies in the US is available from the National Pest Management Association.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation collects and releases example of people mis-using pesticides. Here are some reasons why it is good to call the professionals.
6 Reasons To Call The Professionals
- A Los Angeles County tenant triggered three insect foggers in her apartment kitchen without extinguishing the pilot lights. As she opened the front door to leave, the material ignited and blew out her front windows. The 32-year-old woman was taken to a hospital with chest pain.
- A homeowner discovered sewer rats were entering his home through a toilet. He bought an incendiary device intended for gophers and other burrowing pests, and dropped it down a plumbing vent on his roof. The device melted a plastic elbow in the pipe and the roof caught fire, causing $80,000 in damage before firefighters could extinguish the blaze.
- In San Joaquin County, a 23-year-old man spotted a fly on his beer can, and sprayed an insecticide on the can. Later, as he drank from the can, his lips began to tingle.
- In Los Angeles County, a woman sprayed an aerosol insecticide under her kitchen sink to kill cockroaches. To get a better shot, she stuck her head inside the cabinet and then inhaled fumes. Her lungs began to burn and she sought medical attention.
- An Los Angeles resident who sprayed her kitchen to kill flies drank from a glass of water that sat uncovered in the same room while she sprayed. A runny nose, headache, and chest tightness prompted her to seek medical aid.
- A woman moved the seat of her car back which triggered off an insect fogger nestling beneath the seat, filling her car with fumes.