These poisons are killing more than just bugs

Dear Reader,

Seeing any kinds of creepy crawlers in your home is enough to make you want to call in the “big guns” to get rid of them ASAP!

But before you head out to the hardware or home-supply store to pick up a chemical to zap them with, know this: Thousands of Americans are being poisoned by these products every year!

Most especially those DIY bug bombs — and they’re killing people as well as insects.

That, however, may be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fumigation fatalities.

Because even when the “pros” are brought in, you and your family are still risking exposure to stealth chemicals that can attack every organ in your body before you know what’s happening.

Inviting a killer into your home

For Jim Avent, getting rid of the fleas that invaded his Seattle-area home seemed easy enough. Simply set off some of those bug bombs that are sold everywhere… leave the house for a while… and come back to a flea-free home.

But it didn’t exactly work that way.

After activating the devices in several rooms, he went to leave but was quickly overcome and fell to the floor.

He tried to crawl out the door, but as he tells it, “I couldn’t move. I couldn’t sit up. I couldn’t talk.”

Luckily for Jim, he somehow managed to dial 911. And after a stint in the ICU, he lived to tell the story.

Others, however, weren’t so fortunate — a 10-month-old girl died the day after the apartment she was living in was treated with one of these fogging canisters.

And since there’s no real way to track cases, the true number of deaths and injuries remains a big mystery.

Despite that little detail, the CDC recently decided to see if improved labeling on these bug-bomb products (as mandated by the EPA several years ago) was making any difference in the number of reported related illnesses.

And — surprise, surprise — it wasn’t!

CDC researchers tracked down thousands of injuries and even four deaths that were attributed to them over an eight-year period. Those labeling changes made no difference at all.

And even if you follow the directions exactly, you and your loved ones are still at risk.

Exposure to these foggers can cause nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, confusion, and — in cases such as Jim’s — an inability to even move or talk.

But what about calling in the pros? They know what they’re doing, right?

The truth is, that’s not always the case — not by a long shot.

You may have heard the story two years ago about the 10-year-old Florida boy, Peyton McCaughey, who was left severely brain damaged when a Terminix contractor fumigated the family home with Vikane gas. And there have been many, many other victims from home fumigations — ones done by licensed “experts.”

An Orkin contractor told Hubert and Freida Watson that it was okay for them to go back home post-fumigation, yet concentrations of Vikane gas that were trapped in their mattress killed them in their sleep.

And Brittany Anderson was just 24 years old when another fumigant, sulfuryl fluoride, took her life.

Certainly, you don’t want bugs crawling all over your house, but then again, you don’t want to put your family in big danger to eradicate them, either. And remember, just because you’ve taken the risk of unleashing a poison throughout your home doesn’t mean that those little invaders won’t eventually come back!

So, always try the least risky way to solve your pest problem, be it diatomaceous earth (sold as a white powder derived from soft rocks) for roaches or frequent washing of bedding and daily steaming and vacuuming for fleas and bedbugs. For big jobs, look for an expert in non-toxic or minimally toxic methods of pest control.

And yes, there are even non-toxic approaches to getting rid of termites.

Whatever may be bugging you, keep in mind that filling your home with toxic vapors is a “solution” that can quickly turn a mere problem into a tragedy.

And while you can’t control what goes on outside of your home, you can make a point of avoiding some of the pesticide dangers you might encounter. For example, don’t let your kids or your dog play or even walk on grassy areas sporting the little white flags that pest-control companies put out after an area is treated with chemicals.

And every time you see one of those “circus” fumigation tents (which are most often used in Sunbelt locations such as Florida, Arizona, and California) over a business or home structure, beware — it means that there’s a deadly gas being pumped inside.

“‘Bug bomb’ foggers still making people sick” Margaret Steele, February 1, 2018, HealthDay,