When you have an insect, vermin or pest control problem do you think about the chemicals the pest control company uses to eradicate (or temporarily remove) for example cockroaches in your home and yard. Perhaps you should. Usually there are warnings to avoid contact with these chemicals and for you, your family and pets not be in the building for at least eight (8) hours after spraying. But were you aware that the pesticide residual can hang around your home in your clothes, furniture, appliances, baseboards and other surfaces for up to four weeks and to top it all – you pay someone to come in and spray this poison in your home. Here is a look at some of the chemicals used.
Toxic Pesticides for Cockroaches
Cyfluthrin (Tempo 20 WP)
Handling instructions and cautions below.
Hazards to Humans and Domestic Animals (Tempo / Cyfluthrin)
CAUTION: Exposure to the wettable powder can cause moderate eye irritation.
Harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
Do not get in eyes, on skin, or on clothing.
Avoid breathing dust or spray mist
Do not contaminate feed or food.
Keep out of reach of children.
Do not allow children or pets to enter treated areas until surfaces are dry.
Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after handling.
If clothing becomes contaminated, remove and wash before reuse.
Cyfluthrin is also unhealthy for bees directly or from weed residue.
Permethrin / PM 50
Is highly toxic to fish and even a small dose may be fatal to cats. A carcinogen and suspected endocrine disruptor – and be sure to check out the other “names” for this chemical on the PAN pesticide list
Pyrethrin / Pro 110 ULV
- Today this is a widely used pesticide approved for home use
- Another carcinogen on the PAN Bad Actor list
What to do Before Pesticide Spraying
- Remove or store in plastic tubs (or heavy-duty plastic bags) soft furniture, linen and clothing and if possible move from premises being treated as chemicals can damage fabrics (clothes) and wood
- Remove or seal all food from shelves in kitchen and pantry
- If the infestation is severe, roaches may end up being “stored “so check all contents carefully when reopening
- Use a biological trap to “catch” any cockroaches inadvertently stored
- Do not use paper or cardboard to store items as cockroaches may also be in these
What to do after Spraying
- Stay out of the premises as long as possible
- Before you eat, clean all hard surfaces with soap and water especially where you dine or prepare food
- Small biological traps may have to be used near openings (electrical outlets) food storage areas (pantry)
To Prevent Reinfestation
- Prevent re-infestation by cleaning up after every meal in the kitchen and dining areas
- Refrain from eating food throughout the house (e.g. in the bedroom)
- Vacuum (especially baseboard areas) to remove dead cockroaches, eggs and feces, etc
- If you have pets cleaning up their food is important especially if you have carpet in your home
- Vacuum carpet and kitchen floor regularly
- Seal any openings to the outside or inner walls (around electrical outlets, etc)
- Store food goods in glass jars or (BPA free) plastic tubs which insects or rodents cannot enter (or exit)
- Unfortunately if all cockroaches are not killed in the first spray (probable), or they lay eggs (possible), spraying may be repeated …
Authorities are loath to categorically state what effect, and how much exposure to these chemical combinations can be dangerous to your health or they simply don’t know. We are all different and “one size does not fill all” in this case. Children and pets can be seriously affected and fish (in a tank) are recommended to be plastic wrapped as these chemicals are highly toxic to fish. Sadly this is only one of the many thousands of toxic chemicals we use in our homes on a day-to-day basis which we ingest, inhale and absorb and we wonder why so many are becoming deathly ill.
Solution : tenant moved out of this apartment. This is definitely one problem where the prevention is much better than the cure.
- Cockroaches carry disease which may be spread to humans
- Some people are allergic to cockroach feces (which have a strong odor)
- If the first spraying does not eradicate cockroaches, another spraying may follow probably with more toxic chemicals being used over a greater area
- Cockroaches lay eggs which may also start a reinfestation in a few months time
- One cockroach can lay 100,000 eggs in a year
- Many chemicals including permethrin, are often non selective and kill other insects including bees
- Different pest control companies use difference chemical cocktail combinations for cockroach control spraying
- Other chemicals used for the spraying of cockroaches are diazinon (non selective organophosphate) and propoxur (a carcinogen which can kill birds, fish, cats and dogs)
- Another chemical used for cockroach and ant control is Hydra Methylon / Max force. Very difficult to find much information on toxicity of this chemical
- Evidently, there are toxic, illegal pesticides for cockroach control coming into North America from Asia with lots of warnings
Links & References
- PAN Dirty Dozen and Bad Actor pesticide list
- PAN (Pesticide Action Network) Pesticide database
- Cyfluthrin (Tempo 20 WP) manufacturer information (duplicate of above link)
- Permethrin / PM from the PAN Bad Actor list (duplicate of above link)
- Pyrethrin / Pro 110 ULV on the PAN Bad Actor list (duplicate of above link)
- What is a carcinogen ? A carcinogen is any substances which causes cancer when normal cells are damaged
- What is an endocrine disruptor ? Simply – chemicals which can interfere with hormones (in humans and animals) and can cause cancer
- This is a very extensive topic – if requiring more information read the following two very comprehensive articles and always ask questions of the pest control company
Finally, here is an excerpt from Beyond Pesticides on Permethrin
Children may be more sensitive to permethrin than adults: a study found that permethrin is almost 5 times more toxic to 8 day old rats than to adult rats due to incomplete development of the enzymes which break down pyrethroids in the liver. Additionally, studies on newborn mice have shown that permethrin may inhibit neonatal brain development.
Long-term Health Effects
At the time of EPA’s last evaluation of the carcinogenic potential of permethrin in 1989, they classified permethrin as Group C-a Possible Human Carcinogen. The World Health Organization reported that permethrin increased the frequency of lung tumors in female mice in 2 out of 3 studies that it reviewed. In a study on the effects of permethrin on breast cancer cells, researchers found that permethrin increases the expression of a gene that is involved with proliferation of cells in the mammary gland. Permethrin has also been linked to prostate cancer; in a study of farmers and professional pesticide applicators, permethrin was shown to increase the risk of prostate cancer in men with a family history of prostate cancer.
Immune System Effects:
Ingestion of even small doses of permethrin has been shown to reduce the ability of immune system cells to recognize and respond to foreign proteins. Doses equivalent to 1/100 of the LD50 inhibited T-lymphocytes and natural killer cells by over 40%. In a study that applied varying doses of permethrin to shaved regions of mice, researchers found that dermal absorption caused antibody production to significantly decrease. The study concluded that low-level topical permethrin exposure may produce systemic immunotoxicity. A follow-up study found that exposure to sunlight worsened this response.