CDC warns about bedbug pesticides

Consumer Reports News: November 30, 2012 10:23 AM

If you've got a bedbug infestation, you probably want to do whatever necessary to get rid of them, including spraying your home with pesticides. But earlier this week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned about a steep rise in injuries from misuse of pesticides to control the bugs.

Health effects ranged from mild to serious, including one death. Using pesticides that are designed for outdoor use indoors or using too much pesticide were often the cause.

  • If you have to use pesticides to kill bedbugs, consider this advice from the CDC:

  • Follow all label instructions to the letter. Don't use outdoor pesticides inside your home and don't use more than recommended. This won't kill more bedbugs, but it might make you and your family seriously ill.

  • Be careful who you hire. Treating bedbugs is not easy so you want someone who is experienced. Also be sure than any professional you use is licensed and certified to apply pesticides. You should get instructions on what's being used in your home. Ask to read label instructions. This applies to anyone your landlord hires as well.

  • Signs of pesticide poisoning include headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and muscle tremors. Children are particularly at risk because they are smaller and may put things in their mouths that have been covered in pesticide. If anyone in your home displays symptoms, seek advice and treatment from health professionals right away. Call your doctor or poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

  • Pet can also be harmed, and because of their smaller body size, may display symptoms before any humans do. So if your dog or cat seems sick after a pesticide application, that may be the first red flag that something is wrong. Call your veterinarian or the National Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435.

Read more about how to keep bedbugs at bay.

Health Concerns about Misuse of Pesticides for Bed Bug Control [CDC]

Desiree Ferenczi

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