Keep it under wraps, please

April 13th, 2004

To the Editor,

Kudos to Environment and Human Health Inc as well as the New Haven Register for informing the public about how some lawn chemicals are packaged. The concept behind placing registered poisons in porous bags to improve storage life while consumers inhale fumes and toxic residues settle on nearby surfaces/food products, raises numerous questions of safety. Venues for sale such as grocery stores would appear to be problematic on many levels. Then we have the manufacturer’s faulty sense of priorities in selecting packaging materials for these products. Some consumers may store them indoors in basements where children play and the family laundry lies in baskets before and after washing. Perhaps they are in sheds alongside the children’s bicycles and other toys.

Late last summer and fall, I found myself unable to shop in a grocery chain that always stocked their aerosol cans of pesticides in the aisles where I regularly purchased paper goods and foil wraps. Being disabled and severely asthmatic as a result of pesticide poisoning suffered in 1999, I would find myself choking in those aisles. My purchases would smell of pesticides and have to be discarded.

I informed managers in two such stores that there appeared to be leaking cans of pesticides on their shelves but was politely patronized for my concerns. I ceased to shop in that chain but October brought news of the voluntary recall, by SC Johnson, of two lots of Raid insecticide cans. Among the problems noted with this lot first shipped the previous August, was the potential for cans to develop leaks.

Pesticides are a powerful class of poisons, which should be kept away from food products and the lungs of consumers. Once airborne, particles settle on surfaces over time only to become airborne again with the introduction of heat or during cleaning efforts. They may not break down for months in the absence of sunlight and so present a chronic danger to consumers. Home containment in metal boxes might be advisable and these should have latches in homes where curious children and pets might roam.

Best of all is the realization that one does not need an atom bomb to kill an insect. Many less-toxic and non-toxic materials that never need become airborne, are available so that can of Raid can be left on the store shelf instead of gracing your clean home.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: New Haven Register

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