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Pyrethroids & Deltamethrin Not Safe

Yesterday, I submitted comments to EPA on its Cumulative Risk Assessment of Pyrethrins/Pyrethroids which they claim confirms the safety of their present uses and supports consideration of new uses.  Comments can be submitted until Feb 3, 2012.  See


Expanding the uses of pyrethroid pesticides is a terrible idea.  They are already used almost everywhere and are NOT the “kinder gentler” alternative to organophosphate pesticides that some claim.  Deltamethrin, in particular, is extremely toxic, especially to those who become sensitized to it, and it lasts almost forever.  I lost my house and most of my belongings after a housemate tracked in some deltamethrin.  

Restaurants, stores, hotels, movie theaters and other public places are increasingly sprayed with deltamethrin, effectively rendering them permanent toxic waste dumps.  Yes, pyrethroids have the same toxic mechanism of action and yes, they are toxic, and yes, exposures to them add up.  

At a time when we should be aggressively eliminating pesticide use and promoting integrated pest management (IPM) – with a focus on prevention and less-toxic pest control methods – this report is a huge step in the wrong direction.  If the driving force behind this terrible plan is to allow more use of pesticides in hotels/motels to control bed bugs, then the EPA must have missed the part about how pesticides are not very effective against bed bugs, while pesticides can harm people.

Once again, aggressive promotion of less-toxic control methods is in order, not slathering the world with more pesticides.  I am disappointed the EPA would even consider such a futile, harmful, and ridiculous plan.  Approved uses of pyrethroid pesticides should be reduced, not increased, and deltamethrin should be banned.

Ann McCampbell, MD