Centers for Disease Control and PreventionBedbugs commonly live in the crevices of mattresses, sofas and sheets, and emerge before dawn to feed on human skin.
The Environmental Protection Agency has denied a request from Ohio authorities that would allow exterminators to use small amounts of a toxic chemical to kill bedbugs in their clients’ homes.
The chemical, propoxur, can kill insecticide-resistant bedbugs. But the EPA has banned the chemical for home use, citing concerns about nervous system damage in children.
The Columbus Dispatch reported that Ohio health officials are concerned that people are increasingly resorting to dangerous, do-it-yourself bedbug eradication schemes in their homes. That’s because the cost for professional services can be prohibitive, costing hundreds of dollars, if not thousands.
“We’re seeing increased misuse,” said Matt Beal of the Ohio Department of Agriculture in an interview with the Dispatch. “We’ve had people treated in hospitals."
Beal and his colleagues figured it’d be safer and cheaper if professionals could use small amounts of the chemical in people’s homes.
But the EPA isn’t budging, for now. Officials with the agency say that indoor exposure to propoxur would be too high and could put children at risk.
“I would prefer we were talking about a different chemical,” said Dan Rosenblatt of the EPA in an interview with the Dispatch. “The safety findings we need to make are formidable.”
In 2006, California added propoxur to a list of chemicals known by the state to cause cancer.