On the Dangers of…Mothballs

From on August 09, 2008 in General

health risk mothballsMy grandmother’s home always had a distinct smell; a combination of various foods and mothballs. Oh, she was obsessed with controlling moths; to the point that she kept almost everything wrapped in plastic and packed with mothballs! Apart from having a pungent odor, are mothballs possibly dangerous as well?

Mothballs are made out of naphthalene or dichlorobenzene and are considered a pesticide. They also contain paradichlorobenzene (PDB), which has been linked to kidney and liver failure along with many other ailments. They work by releasing a gas that ferments and grows stronger over time, and can be hazardess to humans and animals. They are especially toxic if digested, so be sure to keep them away from animals and children. Although in small doses, not many people react to the gases, some may develop headaches or dizziness. In the past couple of years, another problem associated with improper usage of mothballs has arisen. Teenagers began “bagging” them and inhaling the condensed gases leading to more severe health issues.

To their credit, they are very effective at controlling moth larvae, but at what cost? Although you can argue my grandmother lived to 93 with no major health issues whatsoever; why take the chance? Why not choose an alternative that is natural and known to be safe for both you and your family? In my quest, I’ve found a couple of alternatives, and I’d welcome any other suggestions readers may have. Lavender, rosemary, thyme, mint, cloves, American ginseng, and cedar are a few natural deterrents for moths, and all smell incredibly better than mothballs. Prevention is the greatest technique for insect control, request free estimates from prescreened contractors to make your home as air-tight as possible.

photo credit:silentmenace.com