We obviously live in a world where chemicals are a necessary part of life, and they must be used properly and in accordance with their labels. But without a doubt, the most dangerous chemicals in the average person’s home have nothing to do with pest control
The Most Dangerous Chemicals in Your Home Have Nothing to Do with Pest Control
The other day I had to deal with a clogged drain at home, so I bought a couple of different bottles of clog remover. I could hardly believe the labels I was reading. There were warnings of death, deadly burns, the need to use goggles and gloves while handling, and a picture of a skull and crossbones. Wow!
Many people have been conditioned to fear the exterminator because of the products he will use, commonly called “pesticides,” in order to mitigate a pest problem. The reality is that the average person has the potential to be exposed to far more dangerous chemicals than pesticides in the everyday cleaning products under their kitchen sink. And what makes these all the more insidious is that these cleaning products are much more likely to be used on a daily basis, whereas the products the pest control professional uses will likely be applied one time a month or even far less frequently, perhaps once for all!
Let’s consider some of these dangerous chemicals in your home that have nothing to do with pest control:
Drain cleaners – many drain cleaners contain lye, which can cause blindness and if ingested can cause death. Furthermore, they are so dangerous that they can actually do damage to your metal pipes! Many of these drain cleaners contain hydrochloric acid, which is as dangerous as it sounds.
Antifreeze – ethylene glycol – if ingested can cause damage to your heart, brain, kidneys, and other organs, and if inhaled can cause dizziness. One of the special dangers of antifreeze is that after it is ingested everything seems fine for quite some time until the body fully breaks it down. Furthermore, antifreeze is known to taste delicious and look pretty, which is why it is so dangerous to children. Newer types of antifreeze have moved to propylene glycol which is somewhat less dangerous. If antifreeze is spilled it can contaminate groundwater.
Bleach and Ammonia – besides the fact that these chemicals become extraordinarily dangerous when mixed together, just on their own they are corrosive substances that cause respiratory damage if inhaled. Ingesting bleach can cause coma and death, and people with pre-existing health conditions are cautioned not to use ammonia at all. The swallowing of bleach is the most common call that the POISON hotline receives. The manufacturing of bleach, which is chlorine-based, produces dioxin which is harmful to the environment. Chlorine was used in chemical warfare during WW1. Bleach use is on the increase since COVID-19, and is very reactive, giving off deadly gasses when mixed with ammonia, glass cleaner, dish detergent, vinegar, and many other household chemicals.
Air fresheners – “From a health perspective, air fresheners have been associated with adverse effects, such as migraine headaches, asthma attacks, mucosal symptoms, infant illness, and breathing difficulties.”1 Even air fresheners labeled “green” and “organic” emit dangerous pollutants much of the time, many of which are carcinogens.2 As one study has noted, “According to Anne Steinemann, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Melbourne who has extensively studied the health impacts of fragranced household products, one-quarter of the ingredients in air fresheners are classified as toxic or hazardous.”3
Carpet cleaners – as with the other products mentioned, many carpet cleaning products contain dangerous chemicals, and this is very significant because many people, especially children, spend a lot of time on their carpets. Some carpet cleaning products contain perchloroethylene, naphthalene, and butyloxy ethanol, all of which can cause severe organ damage and central nervous system issues.
Perhaps even most disturbing is the recent FDA list of nearly 150 hand sanitizers that should not be used because they contain 1-propanol, which is “toxic and life-threatening,”4 and is not to be confused with 2-propanol, a safer ingredient that is normally included in most hand sanitizers. Considering how frequently we use hand sanitizer these days, this is a very serious concern indeed.
In contrast to all the products listed above, pest control products are almost always dispersed in smaller amounts, and people are much more likely to be in contact with the chemicals in cleaners, air fresheners, etc than they are with any products that their extermination team would use.
To give one example, I randomly selected a product that we use for cockroach control (Vendetta Plus Cockroach Gel Bait), and on the label, I saw that the active ingredients make up less than one percent (.55%) of the product, while the other 99.45% of the product is made up of inert ingredients that function as the bait (i.e. cockroach food). The active ingredients are Abamectin and Pyriproxyfen, which both have much lower toxicity to humans than any of the cleaning products discussed above.5
We obviously live in a world where chemicals are a necessary part of life, and they must be used properly and in accordance with their labels. But without a doubt, the most dangerous chemicals in the average person’s home have nothing to do with pest control. Drain cleaners, antifreeze, bleach, ammonia, air fresheners, carpet cleaners, and even hand sanitizers are all potentially much more harmful than anything your exterminators would ever need to use. We are glad that there is at least one less thing to worry about in this world of chemicals.
BHB Pest Elimination is a Green Shield Certified company. Call us today for a free inspection and site evaluation.
5 http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/pyriprogen.html https://www.peststrategies.com/pest-guides/chemicals/abamectin/#tab-con-3
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