Tell Your Governor to Ban Bug Bombs

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that EPA label restrictions on total release foggers, otherwise known as “bug bombs,” are a public health failure. Bug bombs pose a significant risk of acute illness to individuals even when they attempt to follow new label instructions. Beyond Pesticides has long called for bug bombs to be banned, as there are a myriad of non-toxic alternative strategies to successfully manage household pests.

>>Urge your Governor to ban bug bombs in your state!

Bug bombs are small cans primarily comprised of an insecticide, often a synthetic pyrethroid, a synergist such as piperonyl butoxide (PBO), and an aerosol propellant. In addition to the explosion/fire risk if the aerosol product is used in an unattended home near a pilot light or other spark-producing appliance, both synthetic pyrethroids and PBO pose acute and chronic human health risks. PBO is added to pesticide formulations to increase the toxicity of synthetic pyrethroids, and has been linked to childhood cough. Peer-reviewed research associates synthetic pyrethroids with behavioral disorders, ADHD, and delayed cognitive and motor development, and premature puberty in boys. Not only can bug bombs acutely poison, but once applied these chemicals can persist in the home for over a year, putting individuals and families at risk of chronic exposure and subsequent health issues.

CDC’s report, Acute Illnesses and Injuries Related to Total Release Foggers, updates a previous study released in 2008 with new data reveals that EPA’s attempt to reduce bug bomb illness and injury through label changes was unsuccessful. Looking at records from 2007-2015, a total of 3,222 unique cases of illness and injury were reported. The report indicates, “No statistically significant reduction in overall incidence of TRF [total release fogger]-associated injuries and illnesses was observed in the first 3 years after the label revisions took effect.” Incidents ranged from failing to leave an area after releasing the bug bomb, reentering the premises too early, use of too many products for the space provided, and even explosions related to the ignition of aerosols released from the product. 
With EPA’s failure to protect people from the aptly named “bombs,” it is important for states to take action to protect citizens. If you have had problems with these products, please add your own experience to the suggested letter below.

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