Newsflash – a particular synthetic pesticide called ‘Fipronil-Plus-C’ is now approved for use indoors as well as outdoors.
So what? The EPA is making sure all is safe for us so what’s the big deal?
Let’s do a little research on Fipronil and see if this is good news or bad news.
Fipronil was discovered and developed between 1985 and 1987 by the French chemical and pharmaceutical company Rhone-Poulenc and placed on the market in 1993. There is a US patent owned by BASF and it is produced and distributed by Bayer. It is a broad-spectrum insecticide that disrupts the central nervous system of insects by causing hyperexcitation of the nerves and muscles of a contaminated insect. In other words, it is a neuro-toxin.
Fipronil is a common ingredient in spot on pet products by Frontline, Barricade, Easyspot, Effipro, Sentry, Parastar, PetArmor, Pronyl OTC, and Spectra Sure. Adverse pet reactions to treatments included chemical burns, redness, irritation, gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and vomiting and neurological issues such as trembling and seizures.
This pesticide is commonly used on golf courses and on crops. It is highly degradable in sunlight (meaning it breaks down) and becomes up to 10 times more ‘potent’, or in other words, more ‘toxic’. It is highly toxic to bees and in studies in France, caused ‘mass bee mortality’ as bees were unable to locate their hives after pollen foraging expeditions. In combination with other factors, the male honeybees became infertile. Ironic – the pesticide was not actually sprayed in these tests but was sprayed on crop seeds before they were sown – and the process of sowing the seeds created dust that affected the bees. That seems highly toxic!
Fipronil is also highly toxic to rabbits, crustaceans, reptiles, and fish as well as bees. It is considered one of the main chemical causes of the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) which is wiping out honeybee populations throughout the world. Water contamination issues from run-off have been problematic so due to environmental concerns, Fipronil has been banned for crop use in AK, CT, IN, MA, NE, NY, SC, and WA. Spray products are banned in NY as well.
Toxicity studies reveal the symptoms of Fipronil acute toxicity in humans via ingestion are sweating, nausea, vomiting, headache, abdominal pain, dizziness, agitation, weakness, and seizures. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has it classified as a possible human carcinogen, a suspected endocrine-disrupter (affecting fertility and other hormones), and a potential water contaminant. Research is limited to effects from ingestion with no studies for human inhalation or dermal transfer (absorption through the skin).
Back to the Newsflash – a Fipronil product has now been approved at the national level for use in Healthcare and Nursing facilities, Office Buildings, Hotels and Resorts, Commercial Kitchens, Apartments and Condos, and many other applications. This is certainly newsworthy – but the blessing of widespread use of an odorless, colorless, persistent, broad spectrum neuro-toxin is certainly BAD news…