Chemical Toxins In Bug & Flea Spray
October 2011 update / © 2000 TheDogPlace
/ Barbara J. Andrews
A 1993 a
suit against Dow Chemical Co. charged that chemicals in Dursban, a flea and tick
spray, caused severe damage to their unborn children.
The Burke family of St. James, NY filed suit against Dow Chemical Company and
Core Marketing, the company that produces Rid-A-Bug. Their suit charged that
chemicals in the spray cross the placental barrier and caused severe damage to
two of their unborn children.
As you read this
horror story, bear in mind that these
toxic chemicals are still in use in 2011.
According to Wikipedia, the insecticide is still widely used in agriculture and
"Dow continues to market Dursban for home use in developing countries. Dow
claims "Dursban is safe for people" and in Iran, where it is widely marketed,
that it has "an established record of safety regarding humans and pets."
Perhaps we should pull our troops out and just send more bug spray!
The Burkes first child was born with congenital
cataracts, static encephalopathy (brain damage), hydrocephalus ("water on the
brain"), and cerebral palsy, a medical term which covers a wide number of
muscular and motor disorders. The wife was pregnant again before they suspected
the magnitude of the problem or it's possible source.
Burke's dog Dino, came and went as he pleased. Concerned about tick-related
disease, they regularly used Rid-A-Bug on the carpets. The flea and tick killer
contains xylene (a solvent) and chlorpyifos; its trade name is Dursban
and it is a
Not satisfied with do-it-yourself treatments, the Burkes decided to call in an
exterminator who told them they would have to leave during the treatment. He
warned them that the pesticide could harm youngsters and that Mrs. Burke, being
pregnant, could also be at risk. This was the tip-off, raising horrible doubts
for the Burke family. Sure enough, their second child was born with cataracts,
severe brain damage, and cerebral palsy.
There are many more details to this tragic story. The point is, we still don't
know enough about short term exposure to certain chemicals (agent orange is a
good example of scientific blundering) much less the long term effects on human
health. And who is looking out for your pets?
A report published in Home Mechanix reveals carpets not
only attract and hold dirt, dust mites, mold spores and other micro-organisms, toxic
pesticides, and even
lead; they retain many of these contaminants in spite of meticulous vacuuming. In
addition, wall-to-wall carpet must be cleaned with strong chemicals that may
harm your children or pets.
Remember, both children and pets are several feet closer to the floor
and make full body contact with the carpet in addition to directly
inhaling chemical content. A safer solution would be area carpeting, which can
be removed and cleaned with safer products.
The development of highly toxic substances has enabled the United States to lead
the world in agricultural production, but not without health costs. According to
Jeffrey Brent, M.D. of the Rocky Mountain Poison Control Center in Denver,
common pesticides such as Diazinon and Malathion can be particularly hazardous.
Dr. Brent says that organophosphates "are more harmful to pets than fungicides
or herbicides such as Chlorothalonil or Dicamba. Most herbicides are fairly
harmless to most pets."
Relying on product labels can be foolhardy. Ingredients may not have been tested
for that use or approved by the appropriate agencies. If an ingredient is not
specifically on the forbidden list, it may be used even though known to be
Beware of lawn chemicals which are absorbed through your pet's paw pads.
Never let your pets or children out to play in the yard when the grass is wet as
this increases absorption.
Acid rain can
contaminate outside water buckets as well as lawn surfaces. Last but not least,
approach new medicines and vaccines with caution until they have been proven in
routine public use. If in doubt, do your own research on the internet
because chemical and pharmaceutical companies spent $billons on both print and
television advertising. Doctors and veterinarians are working desperately
to inform parents and pet owners about the serious, often deadly health risks in
The chemical pesticide Dursban, long used for termite
treatment, was banned and supposedly replaced by environmentally, safe natural products
at the time of this writing.
However, lawsuit after lawsuit and evasive action by Dow Chemical's battery of
lawyers, delayed pulling these products from the market and they are still in
use in agriculture and in other countries.
Education is the key to prevention. Your pets and children depend on you to
understand and eradicate the risks of chemical toxicity in their environment.