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EPA Rejects Request to Allow the Use of Propoxur to Control Bed Bugs

Pesticide Issues

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that it has decided not to grant the Ohio Department of Agriculture's (ODA) emergency exemption request to authorize the use of propoxur to control bed bugs.

| June 11, 2010

WASHINGTON -  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that it has decided not to grant the Ohio Department of Agriculture's (ODA) emergency exemption request to authorize the use of propoxur to control bed bugs.  
 
In a June 2nd letter to Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson wrote "the requested use presents an unacceptable risk to children who might be exposed to propoxur in and around rooms treated for bed bugs."  According to Administrator Jackson, the specific exposure scenarios of most concern "involve inhalation risk and also hand-to-mouth behaviors on the part of children."
 
ODA first sought the waiver, more commonly known as a Section 18 exemption, last October at the urging of the Ohio Pest Management Association as a way to more aggressively and effectively address the state's ever-growing bed bug problem.  The bed bug outbreak is especially acute in Ohio because many of the strains in the state have developed a resistance to pesticides presently in the marketplace.
 
Administrator Jackson acknowledged "resistance to bed bug control products is a national, and even international, concern" and stated that Agency officials have been communicating and working with pesticide regulators and industry experts to identify new and effective products in the pipeline.   Administrator Jackson specifically mentioned the work of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Resource Service evaluation of the effectiveness of numerous natural and synthetic pesticides in controlling bed bugs.
 
"As of this writing, an immediate solution has not been identified; however, we are continuing to engage the industry. Pesticides are an important element in an integrated bed bug control program, and EPA is open to new chemical control options that meet the safety findings of FIFRA and FQPA," wrote Administrator Jackson.
 
Administrator Jackson also indicated support for stakeholders studying non-chemical practices to control bed bugs, and highlighted the "use of heat or cold to kill all life-stages of bed bugs and physical exclusion techniques to prevent bed bugs from entering areas where people reside and sleep."

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