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.