Don’t Let the Bureaucrats Bite

Cause:

Bedbugs, a common household pest for centuries, all but vanished in the 1940s and ’50s with the widespread use of DDT. But DDT was banned in 1972 as too toxic to wildlife, especially birds. Since then, the bugs have developed resistance to chemicals that replaced DDT.
Also, exterminators have fewer weapons in their arsenal than they did just a few years ago because of a 1996 Clinton-era law that requires older pesticides to be re-evaluated based on more stringent health standards. The re-evaluations led to the restrictions on propoxur and other pesticides.

Effect:

Bedbugs, infesting U.S. households on a scale unseen in more than a half-century, have become largely resistant to common pesticides. As a result, some homeowners and exterminators are turning to more hazardous chemicals that can harm the central nervous system, irritate the skin and eyes or even cause cancer. …
… authorities around the country have blamed house fires on people misusing all sorts of highly flammable garden and lawn chemicals to fight bedbugs. Experts also warn that some hardware products — bug bombs, cedar oil and other natural oils — claim to be lethal but merely cause the bugs to scatter out of sight and hide in cracks in walls and floors.

The government transformation of supposedly too-popular station wagons into too-popular SUVs comes to mind.
Now will come the public cry for widespread use of DDT, where limited, judicious use might have prevented the problem in the first place.

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ganmeek
ganmeek
11 years ago

Oh man. When I was but a little one, I remember my parents trying to get their hands on a few grams of chlordane to treat a major carpenter ant infestation. The stuff was banned in ’83, but we ‘found a guy’ who had stashed a few bottles. The stuff was more expensive than I want to talk about.
Anyway, knowing how toxic it was, we only put a teensy bit on the perimeter of the property’s foundation and in the trouble spots (I’m talking a few grams to cover the whole house). Ants and termites -gone-. Permanently.
The problem was that people were spraying gallons of this stuff all over the place before, never a wise move. It’s perfectly safe when used in tiny, judicious amounts.
Anyway. I should ask if this stuff is still around, I own a 110 year-old wood home; it would be nice to know it was still available if I ever found an infestation.

Monique
Editor
11 years ago

Psst. Know where I can score some chlordane?
When chlordane (or DDT or fossil fuels) are outlawed, only outlaws will have …

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

DDT was the first “political” insecticide. We refused foreign aid to countries that used it. Malaria re-emerged and has reached ten fold the infection rate maintained with DDT. There is ample (but unpopular) scientific opinion that DDT is no where near as harmful as believed.

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