Fumigation & the foetus.
May 29, 2012 9:12 PM   Subscribe

Pregnant in a termite infested house - do I have to move?

I am 19 weeks pregnant and living in a fantastic rental townhouse with my partner and our kelpie. Unfortunately the whole place is riddled with termites, and with two stories of wooden floors and a wooden frame, that's a lot of termites. The landlord has arranged for a termite inspection on Monday and presumably, treatment very quickly afterwards. Being pregnant, I am really, really concerned about this and finding it difficult to get any definitive information on how dangerous this is for the foetus. Has any one had any experience with this? Should we looking to move house asap or just finding somewhere to stay for a week or so?

Thank you.
posted by Wantok to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
In my opinion, moving would be overkill. Babycenter says just stay out of the house twice as long as recommended (and be sure to tell the exterminators that you are pregnant so they can choose what to use for the job). They are suggesting a period of two days of staying out of the house.

However, as pointed out in the article, there is not going to be any hard scientific evidence on what this exposure means for you during pregnancy (and any scant evidence there is depends on the agent being used for extermination), so you'll have to judge for yourself how comfortable you are with this.

Sort of comparable risk tolerance situation: many women have to choose whether or not to use Category C drugs during pregnancy, which have not shown definitive evidence for harm but are not definitively safe either. Many women, although certainly not all, choose to use such drugs.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:25 AM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Finding somewhere to stay for a couple of weeks, getting a housecleaner to come in for a thorough wipe-down (perhaps twice, even), having the house aired while you're gone = probably going to be all right.

And in the first month you're back after the fumigation, try to spend as much time out of the house as you can, continuing to air out as much as possible.

May or may not be overkill, but certainly way less trouble than moving and way more likely to discourage any ill effect.
posted by batmonkey at 7:09 AM on May 30, 2012

Stating the obvious, but depending on the state of the infestation, the house collapsing on you would be very bad for the fetus. Do you have any inkling if the structure is compromised? If so, you probably shouldn't be staying there regardless.
posted by Patbon at 7:39 AM on May 30, 2012

Can you get the landlord to treat the place with heat? There are heat treatments that kill termites just as dead, without using poisons. They heat the house to 150 degrees F for a couple of days, and the termites die of dehydration and overheating.
posted by musofire at 12:13 PM on May 30, 2012

When our house was treated for termites, the exterminators injected the pesticide into the ground around where the termites were coming out of the soil into the house. This was a slab home, so there were holes drilled in the concrete and then sealed after the injection. Not sure how you'd even come in contact with the pesticide in this method of application.
posted by narcoleptic at 12:14 PM on May 30, 2012

If they're tenting the house, that's a LOT of pesticide, it really depends on the methods and poisons being used.

Check with the exterminators and your doctor to determine what is right for you. I don't think you need to move, but I'd err on the side of caution.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:25 PM on May 30, 2012

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