Ohio Congressman presses EPA on pesticide for bedbugs

Ohio Republican Congressman Jean Schmidt is pressuring U.S. EPA to allow the use of the controversial pesticide propoxur for bedbugs.

According to a Greenwire report, she said:

I am very frustrated with EPA and their response to eradicate bed bugs. It’s a problem we haven’t seen in almost a century in our country. We’re seeing it today because they virtually took the product that worked off the market.

Greenwire also reported,

Schmidt said there has been a growing bedbug problem in Ohio, particularly in low-income housing and highrise apartment buildings. EPA, she said, took propoxur off the market years ago but it has allowed local authorities to apply for waivers to use the products in severe cases.

The lawmaker, with the help of then-Gov. Ted Strickland (D), was able to obtain the waiver. But Schmidt said the waivers stopped when the Obama administration took office in 2009.

Propoxur was first developed in 1959 and is known for quickly killing pests. Last August, EPA told Ohio that propoxur was not safe for home use after conducting an internal study that found that even low exposures could be harmful for children (Greenwire, Aug. 10, 2010). In particular, the pesticide has been linked to brain development problems.

Schmidt maintains the pesticide should pose little risk to children if it is used properly. She also said alternatives for getting rid of bed bugs — including heating a home to very high temperatures — is also dangerous.

Other alternatives have led to catastrophe, Schmidt added, such as when someone doused their couch with alcohol to try to rid it of bed bugs. The couch later caught fire.

“Nothing is completely safe,” she said. “This is an overreach by EPA and now we have a problem that is out of control.”

A literature search failed to turn up any studies of humans showing that legal use of the propoxur ever harmed anyone.

9 thoughts on “Ohio Congressman presses EPA on pesticide for bedbugs”

  1. The EPA doesn’t care about Americans suffering! It’s not them, it’s just a bunch of low-income apartment dwellers, so what do they care if people are living in misery even though propoxur could kill the bedbugs? (The single-family home dwellers can tent and fumigate a whole household, so THEY’RE not complaining.) However, the bedbugs are also infecting hotels and wait until that gets around the world — our tourist industry will crash! Who wants to go to a hotel and get infected? Propoxur should be using for a few years to eradicate the bloody little monsters, and in the meantime alternative pesticides can be INTENSELY researched. We are Americans, and WE DO NOT LIVE WITH BLOOD-SUCKING BUGS!

  2. Dear Rich Kozlovich,

    This study is in Portuguese because Brazil had this problem long time ago. Fortunately, Brazil was able to deal with the problem using pesticides. America can learn through this experience (and probably other experiences around the world) to quickly solve the bedbug infestation or start reinventing the wheel.

    The EPA is also preventing innovation, which is contributing to transform America into a third world country. Just as an example, the famous Michelson-Morley experiment that was performed in 1887 would not be permitted today.

    Michelson–Morley experiment

    … vibrations were further reduced by building the apparatus on top of a large block of sandstone, about a foot thick and five feet square, which was then floated in an annular trough of MERCURY …

  3. Rich,

    Near as I can tell the study is in Portuguese, which is what Brazilians speak.


  4. Dear Anonymous,

    I am impressed with the length of this study and the neat pictures, but it is in Spanish. If it is your intention to spread solid information regarding bed bugs and disease transmission….I don’t think this is going to work for most of us. Are you aware of this study, or any study of its kind, that is in English. If so, I will link it in my blog. If not….this won’t help.

    Rich K.

  5. It is sad to see a great county as America being transformed into a third world country by EPA. The following link shows that bed-bugs are known to transmit disease to man at least since 1990 – 21 years ago.


    ABSTRACT: A review of the Cimicidae of importance in public health is presented. After a general morphological study, special attention is given to knowledge of the biology and ecology of bed-bugs, mainly as regards their relation to the human environment and the possibility of their role in disease transmission …

    Revista Saude Publica volume 24, Sao Paulo, Brazil 1990 (Brazilian Public Health Journal)

  6. We have now established that bedbugs can carry MRSA.
    Historically, the combination of a ubiquitous vector and a potent pathogen for which there is only limited control leads to pandemics and plagues.
    How many people must die before the EPA is stopped from their autocratic, myopic campaign against beneficial chemicals?

  7. One of the problems we face with the EPA is the penchant for changing the rules. After passage of the Food Quality Protection Act (which wasn’t about food or protection) the safety factor was raised from 100 fold to a 1000 fold safety factor….these were all risk assumptions. They never have had any scientific justification for either of those safety factors. Based on this they then turn around and claim that propoxur is now too toxic. Baloney! Even the Ohio Department of Agriculture, which oversees pesticide regulations in Ohio, recognizes that propoxur used properly is safe.

    It is gratifying to see Rep. Schmidt stand firm on this issue. For more information on how whole pesticide categories were lost to the pest control industry please read…We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges

  8. It’s a pesticde, not chocolate syrup for heavens sake. It’s designed to kill things and needs to be used safely. That’s what pesticide labels are for. EPA has seriously lost its way when it decides it has to protect against idiots who drink the stuff.

  9. “Better Things for Better Living–Through Chemistry”. The DuPont Chemical logo from 1935 has been turned on its head by EPA. Practically anything can be shown to cause cancer or some human problem if the dose is high enough, exposure time lomg enough, and the means of application severe enough. DDT was a good solution for bedbugs and it is not available.

    Before the twentieth century, life span was 45 years and living conditions would be considered appalling in comparison today. Do we need to go back to that style of living to protect ourselves from ourselves.

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