Bug spray accumulation in the home

June 22, 2017, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

Warmer temperatures can lead to a flurry of unwelcome guests to our house - flies, mosquitoes, fleas, wasps, bedbugs and lice. Pyrethroids are a common pesticide used to repel these pests, and even though they have been found more or less safe for mammals in laboratory studies, they can cause skin irritation, headache, dizziness and nausea for more sensitive individuals. Since the active ingredients of household pesticides are often the same as those used in agriculture, a recent study published in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry addresses "Pyrethroid concentrations and persistence following indoor application" and explores whether laboratory studies are truly representative of what happens in a home.

Lia Nakagawa, lead author and a researcher at the Biological Institute in São Paulo, Brazil, and her colleagues pointed out a few distinct differences from earlier studies on these substances: When used outdoors, microorganisms, rain or sprinklers, and sunlight act to break down the pesticide's chemical compounds fairly quickly. Second, the chemicals in pyrethroid pesticides adhere to cloth, tiled floors and wood differently than they would to outdoor surfaces.

By running concurrent experiments—one in a controlled laboratory and the other in a test - the authors found that the pesticides used in the controlled experiment broke down more quickly than those in the test house, with 70% of cypermethrin, a pyrethroid pesticide found in up to 90% of homes, still found in dust samples around the house after one year.

The authors conclude that the persistence of pesticides inside buildings, on surfaces and in the dust in houses can be viewed in a couple of different ways. On the one hand, when using pesticide products in the home, fewer applications should still maintain a long-term control of pests. On the other hand, extended persistence increases the likelihood that residents will be exposed to the pesticide, which can be especially worrying for young children and household pets, who spend more time on the floor and are frequently picking up things and putting them in their mouths. The findings highlight the importance of further studies to evaluate the actual risks of human exposure to pyrethroids when present in dust and on miscellaneous surfaces.

Explore further: Pyrethroid pesticide exposure appears to speed puberty in boys

More information: Lia Emi Nakagawa et al, Pyrethroid concentrations and persistence following indoor application, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (2017). DOI: 10.1002/etc.3860

Related Stories

Pyrethroid pesticide exposure appears to speed puberty in boys

April 2, 2017
Environmental exposure to common pesticides may cause boys to reach sexual maturity earlier, researchers have found. They will present their study results Saturday at the Endocrine Society's 99th annual meeting in Orlando, ...

Study links exposure to common pesticide with ADHD in boys

June 1, 2015
A new study links a commonly used household pesticide with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and young teens.

Aerial spraying to combat mosquitos linked to increased risk of autism in children

April 30, 2016
New research to be presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2016 Meeting suggests that the use of airplanes to spray anti-mosquito pesticides may increase the risk of autism spectrum disorder and developmental delays ...

Recommended for you

Low-cost anti-hookworm drug boosts female farmers' physical fitness

April 19, 2018
Impoverished female farm workers infected with intestinal parasites known as hookworms saw significant improvements in physical fitness when they were treated with a low-cost deworming drug. The benefits were seen even in ...

Low total testosterone in men widespread, linked to chronic disease

April 19, 2018
A male's total testosterone level may be linked to more than just sexual health and muscle mass preservation, a new study finds. Low amounts of the hormone could also be associated with chronic disease, even among men 40 ...

What happens to our muscles during spaceflight and when living on Mars?

April 17, 2018
The inactivity of astronauts during spaceflights presents a significant risk to their muscles, says a new study in The Journal of Physiology. Scientists have simulated the impact of 21 day spaceflights on the body, and the ...

Parental diet before conception affects child's health

April 17, 2018
A child's health can be compromised not only by a mother who smokes or drinks during pregnancy, but by the obesity and poor diet of both parents well before the act of procreation, researchers said Tuesday.

Exercise, not vitamins, urged to prevent falls in seniors

April 17, 2018
Falling is the leading cause of injury-related death among people over age 65, and seniors who want to avoid falls should exercise, not rely on supplements like vitamin D, US guidelines said Tuesday.

Kids hit hard by junk food advertising: new research

April 17, 2018
Junk food ads are shown more frequently on TV at times when many children are watching, new Heart Foundation-funded research shows.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.