Is using an exterminator bad for my health?
September 5, 2004 11:23 AM   Subscribe

How unhealthy is it (in terms of residual toxins, etc.) to have an exterminator come around? And are there any realistic alternatives? (more inside)

I rent a room on NYC’s upper west side. Despite the fact that there are moths and sometimes mice, my landlord/housemate refuses to allow the exterminator (which the superintendent sends by monthly) into the apartment. His arguments are that a) the whole extermination industry is a racket, and no exterminator does a thorough job because if he does his services will no longer be needed, and that b) exterminators use chemicals that will ultimately be worse for us to breathe in over the long term than it is to have to deal with the insects and vermin.

What I would like is information I can present him suggesting either a) that he’s wrong beyond any reasonable kind of doubt, or b) alternatives that he might be willing to consider (e.g. substances that will deter insects and mice but that will not produce airborne particles toxic to humans).

To those who would react with “move out,” please note that at present I can’t really afford to, and anyway my living situation is in many ways a sweet deal that I would like to hold on to for a while if at all feasible.

It’s just that not being able to store my cereals and such in the kitchen, because that’s where the bugs are, strikes me as pretty ridiculous.
posted by bingo to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
I swear I'm not getting a kickback from the makers of this product (EnviroMan's Bugs 'R' Done...I've posted about it on two other BugFilter threads in the past few weeks). It's just awesome. Food-grade ingredients, so very safe for the kitchen. I used it on a giant, very aggressive cockroach the other night, and that sucker was dead in seconds. The best part is, the dog could have licked up the bug killer residue and not gotten sick.
posted by gokart4xmas at 12:33 PM on September 5, 2004

Response by poster: looks potentially good, but can it be used preventatively? I want something that I can spray, or scatter, or whatever, when there are no sign of insects anywhere, and have it kill/deter them while I sleep, or whenever it is that they come out, and to do so in such a way that their friends are not likely to come calling either.
posted by bingo at 1:04 PM on September 5, 2004

I've used it to repel an ant invasion in my bathroom. Sprayed all the live ants and around the baseboards, and the ants didn't come back until the bathroom was mopped. Sprayed again, no more ants. The instructions suggest spraying around the outside perimeter of the house as a preventative measure.
posted by gokart4xmas at 1:15 PM on September 5, 2004

Response by poster: I live in a huge apartment building, on the sixth floor, and ants have not been a problem but moths have (and, perhaps it doesn't matter, but moths aren't listed on the enviroman product site). Still, it looks like a product he can't really object to, so I'll see if they carry it at the local health food store...
posted by bingo at 2:26 PM on September 5, 2004

gokart4xmas, that sounds like brilliant stuff. foolish insects and their wax-lined breathing passages, ha!

I wonder if this is why we don't see any bugs at all after we started using simple green to clean, well, everything? still, we will have to get a bottle of this stuff, thanks.

(another problem with extermination is that if the neighboring buildings don't do it as well and at the same time, the bugs only go away for a very short time. which, in nyc, is fairly impossible, short of a city-wide annual bug-bomb day....)
posted by dorian at 5:00 PM on September 5, 2004

I use this product, and highly reccomend it also.
posted by scottymac at 12:40 PM on September 6, 2004

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