When one thinks about pesticides we think about countryside, crops and gardens, but in reality pesticides are also found in our apartments, our homes, and even in cities.
When it comes to pesticides the image that comes to mind is the one of crops being sprayed by little planes and we think that by eating so called « organic» or "bio" food we manage to avoid them, but the reality is far from this and many other sources of pesticides are lurking in the life of urban dwellers.
Neonicotinoids pesticides are to be banned in France as of September 2018. Unfortunately this ban covers only phytosanitary products, i.e. products for the care of plants.
The ban does not concern veterinary products used for pets (dogs, cats, rabbits...). It is common that neonicotinoids, often associated with other substances, are part of the anti-flea products' composition used on pets.
The problem also arises with many flea collars that become persistent carriers of toxic chemicals in one’s home.
Obviously you should not use these products to treat the lice on children contrary to what can be read on some internet forums.
Not affected by the ban on the neonicotinoids are biocidal products. Products that can be used in our homes and which fall into four major classes:
- disinfectants (human or animal hygiene, disinfection of surfaces, disinfection of drinking water...)
- protection products (treatment of wood, building materials' protection products…)
- pest control products (rodenticides, insecticides, repellents...)
- other biocidal products (fluids used for embalming products, stain proofing products…)
Gels against cockroaches, coating for wood, cleaning products, bait against ants, rodent poison, anti-fly sticky paper, spraying against termites, products used for the elimination of wasps or hornet nests... just to name a few of the many household uses that can create a significant and sustainable house contamination and exposure of the occupants to pesticides.
Another example which is hard to believe: a study of the French National Agency of Sanitary Food Environment and Labor Safety (ANSES) - some pads and pantyliners marketed in France contain Lindane and Quintozene which are two pesticides whose use is banned in Europe since 2000.
If ANSES assures us, the public, that available data "does not put in evidence the harm to human health, in respect of the conditions of employment laid down in the authorizations for placing on the market" you have to keep in mind that this assessment also takes in account "the benefit-risk question" of using a product and also deals with isolated products as opposed to the multitude of products we use simultaneously at home and the multiple chemical substances that each can emit and that can associate with one other.
It is often this accumulation of compounds that creates an extremely harmful 'cocktail effect'.
One of the best examples is found with insecticides using Pyrethrums and Pyrethroids that are commonly used as insect repellent. Marketed formulations also contain an element called Piperonide Butoxide. This ingredient alone multiplies by 100 to 1000 the toxic effects of the two pesticides.