Mothballs are toxic

Editor of the Reformer:

I am writing to alert others to a common, but toxic, hazardous, and in fact illegal practice — the use of mothballs to deter unwanted animals in buildings and gardens.

We recently had extensive work done by a local contractor to resolve a mold issue in the attic of our house. She (the contractor), having seen evidence of mice there, dumped large quantities of mothballs in the eaves, without consulting us. I had concerns, and so I did some research.

Looking online into the National Pesticide Information Center website, and several other sites, I found some pretty scary stuff. Exposure to the primary chemicals in mothballs – naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene – can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, damage to red blood cells, and is a probable carcinogen. It can be fatal when ingested by wildlife, pets, and small children.

Every time you smell mothballs, you are inhaling pesticides. And they are pretty useless at getting rid of critters, too.

The contractor quit on us, and we are now looking into the safest way to remove this poison from our home.


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I hope this information will help keep others, our environment, pets and wildlife, a little safer. Please don't use mothballs unless you are just keeping your sweaters looking good, and in the way the product was intended.

Heidi Mario Brattleboro, May 29