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PestiBytes Episode 3: A Mothball Mishap?

headphones Introduction/Conclusion: Dr. Dave Stone, Director of the National Pesticide Information Center
Host: Brittany, NPIC Pesticide Specialist
Guest: Amy, NPIC Pesticide Specialist

DR. STONE: Welcome to PestiBytes, a podcast series from the National Pesticide Information Center. These are based on common pesticide questions from people just like you.


BRITTANY: This is Brittany and I'm talking again with Amy. She's going to tell us about mothballs and how they work.

AMY: Yes, mothballs, of course, are intended to be used to kill moths. They come in that solid ball, and then they sublimate, turning slowly from a solid into a gas. Inside an airtight container the gas builds up so high that it kills the clothes moths and their eggs.

BRITTANY: I've heard rumors that mothballs are great for repelling pests like mice and rats. Is this true?

AMY: That kind of advice is popular but they are not meant to be used that way. If they are used outside of an airtight container, people could be breathing in those vapors.

BRITTANY: Is that a health hazard?

AMY: Well, it affects your indoor air quality. They come in two kinds so depending on what kind they have, they could cause health effects from breathing that in. Health effects can range from irritations from the odor, or more serious health effects with long term or extreme exposures. If you're using mothballs, be sure to read and follow the label instructions carefully.

BRITTANY: Thanks, Amy.

AMY: You're welcome!


DR. STONE: If you have questions about pesticides, please call us at 1-800-858-7378 or visit us on the web at http://npic.orst.edu. PestiBytes is brought to you by the National Pesticide Information Center, a cooperative agreement between Oregon State University and the Environmental Protection Agency. These are produced in collaboration with OSU's Environmental Health Sciences Center, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

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If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Last updated February 17, 2014

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