Fumigants are going away

Yesterday, I received a newsletter from the National Pest Management Association. The news was not good for Hearts Pest Management or for any other pest control company in the business of fumigating burrowing rodents such as gophers. In the past few years, negligent pest control applicators have been endangering people with off-label fumigant applications, resulting in the needless, outrageous death of children. For those of us who practice responsibly, we have no choice but to deal with the change in treatment required. The EPA has now banned the use of aluminum and magnesium phosphide in residential areas and inside a 100 foot perimeter of any structure. See the full EPA announcement here. We must now find ways of eliminating burrowing rodents as pests without a very valuable tool that when used properly did an excellent job, without secondary poisoning. Now we are left with less effective methods that may inflict secondary poisoning on birds, dogs and cats. But at least we will have fewer worries about people. Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise even for our company. You just never know when you are going to have an employee who refuses to follow rules. These new restrictions are for our own good, whether we like it or not. But I do not enjoy the prospect of dealing with existing and future customers that are looking for effective solutions. Time will tell how this plays out, but now we are heading into new uncharted territory. One concern I have is that one man shops will try to sneak by, using fume illegally, taking pest control customers away from larger companies that are abiding by regulations. We can only wait and watch.

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2 Responses to Fumigants are going away

  1. David Cole says:

    aluminum and magnesium phosphide although dangerous, were an affective tool to the pest control applicator. The lesson here to all applicators should be that “THE LABEL MATTERS” I find it SICK and PERVERSE that for a few bucks two children lost their lives because an applicator did not follow the label.
    Now, with all that said, the reason aluminum and magnesium phosphide were banned from residential property is much more political. Residential use of the products were less than 10 percent of the market, most of it’s use is in the tobacco industry.

  2. Gerry says:

    Thank you for responding to our post on fumigants, aluminum phosphide and Fumitoxin.

    Yesterday, I received a call from a fellow PCO who wants to start a petition to get the label changed so as to allow more restricted residential use. Personally, I think it is too little, too late. The fault lies with the manufacturer, who as you state correctly, is willing to sacrifice less than 10% of the business to keep the other 90+. They don’t want to even think of risking that tobacco and other agricultural field business. Wouldn’t it have been great if the manufacturer saw fit to train and steward this product correctly, or seek an only slightly more restricted label so these deaths and problems would not have happened.
    This situation could have been avoided, but they waited until after these deaths to do something about the label. I still don’t see this manufacturer doing anything in the way of training, at least to the best of my knowledge.

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