The Ohio Department of Agriculture has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for an emergency exemption to allow the use of the pesticide Propoxur in residences; more than a dozen additional states are supporting this request, The Columbus Dispatch reports.
The pesticide is currently in use for crops, on flea/tick collars, and in commercial applications. This would simply be an emergency extension of its use inside residences.
As Doug Caruso reports for The Columbus Dispatch,
In tests at the University of Kentucky, the chemical killed 100 percent of the bedbugs exposed to it within 24 hours and kept on killing after eggs hatched, Beal said. That compared with a 16 percent kill rate after 72 hours for a commonly used household insecticide against one strain found in Cincinnati, and 40 percent in another strain.
Make no mistake: while safety to humans and pets is an important factor when decisions are made about which pesticides are legal for which use, political and financial interests do factor heavily. The Columbus Dispatch notes,
Introduced in 1959, Propoxur was removed from home use in the 1990s under a law that sought to reduce people’s exposure to insecticides. When manufacturers decided which uses to allow, [Matt Beal, assistant chief at the Ohio Department of Agriculture] said, they kept the chemical for application to crops and commercial buildings because they sold more of it for those purposes.
It will be interesting to see if the exemption is granted, and whether this helps us in our battle against the red menace.
Is it just me or is the New York Times trying to put a spin on this issue with their headline,
Eek! Industrial poison! Oh no!
(Meanwhile, the people with bed bugs are saying, “yes, please!”)