Pesticide Labels Lack Important Information for Consumers: Study

A new study by California regulators has found that many household pesticide labels lack basic information needed for consumers to safely use them and avoid the risk of injury. 

The report, presented this week at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society, is the result of an investigation by reviewers at the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA). According to a story, the researchers concluded that the labels of many pesticides could lead to consumers using too much and exposing them to dangerous pesticide side effects.

CalEPA researchers looked at the labels of a number of products that contained para-dichlorobenzene (pDCB), including mothballs, mildew prevention products, and products designed to protect domesticated birds from lice and mites. Researchers found that the labels all contained information on the minimum amount necessary for the products to be effective, but they contained no data on the maximum amounts that would be safe to use.

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Researchers also said that the labels do not tell pDCB users how long they need to air out clothing that has been stored with mothballs in order for them to be safe to wear. They said they are concerned that people could be taking the clothing out of storage, where it has been absorbing pDCB fumes from mothballs for an extended period of time, and then wear them immediately.

The findings are of concern in the wake of recent national studies that found that some people, particularly minority groups, have increased levels of indoor air pollutants, including pDCB, which is only used in residential products in California.

Para-dicholrobenzene is a chlorine and benzene based chemical used as a pesticide and a deodorant. It is common in mothballs, disinfectants and urinal cakes. It is not easily soluble in water and has a strong odor. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has determined that pDCB probably causes cancer, but there is no direct evidence. Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have placed limits on exposure in drinking water and on exposure in the workplace. California has determined that the chemical is a known carcinogen.

Animal testing has resulted in liver and kidney tumors when exposed at high levels, and consuming pDCB induces vomiting in human adults.


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