Newsflash: One particular synthetic pesticide called ‘Fipronil-Plus-C’ is now approved for indoor and outdoor use.

So what? The EPA makes sure everything is safe for us, so what’s the problem?

Let’s do some research on Fipronil and see if it’s good news or bad news.

Fipronil was discovered and developed between 1985 and 1987 by the French chemical and pharmaceutical company Rhone-Poulenc and put on the market in 1993. There is a US patent owned by BASF and it is produced and distributed by Bayer. It is a broad-spectrum insecticide that disrupts the central nervous system of insects by causing hyperexcitation of the nerves and muscles of a contaminated insect. In other words, it is a neuro-toxin.

Fipronil is a common ingredient in pet products from Frontline, Barricade, Easyspot, Effipro, Sentry, Parastar, PetArmor, Pronyl OTC, and Spectra Sure. Pets’ adverse reactions to the treatments included chemical burns, redness, irritation, gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and vomiting, and neurological problems such as tremors and seizures.

This pesticide is commonly used on golf courses and on crops. It is highly degradable in sunlight (meaning it breaks down) and becomes up to 10 times more ‘potent’, or in other words, more ‘toxic’. It is highly toxic to bees and, in studies in France, caused “massive bee mortality” as bees were unable to locate their hives after pollen-collecting expeditions. In combination with other factors, the male bees became sterile. Ironically, the pesticide was not actually sprayed in these tests, but was sprayed on the crop seeds before they were planted, and the process of planting the seeds created dust that affected the bees. That seems highly toxic!

Fipronil is also highly toxic to rabbits, crustaceans, reptiles, and fish, as well as bees. It is considered one of the main chemical causes of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that is wiping out bee populations worldwide. Water contamination issues from runoff have been problematic, so due to environmental concerns, cultured fipronil has been banned from use in AK, CT, IN, MA, NE, NY, SC, and WA. Aerosol products are also banned in New York.

Toxicity studies reveal that the symptoms of acute toxicity of fipronil in humans through ingestion are sweating, nausea, vomiting, headache, abdominal pain, dizziness, agitation, weakness, and convulsions. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified it as a possible human carcinogen, a suspected endocrine disruptor (affecting fertility and other hormones), and a possible water contaminant. Research is limited to effects of ingestion with no human inhalation or dermal transfer (absorption through the skin) studies.

Back to the breaking news: A Fipronil product has now been nationally approved for use in healthcare and nursing facilities, office buildings, hotels and resorts, commercial kitchens, apartments and condominiums, and many other applications. This is certainly newsworthy, but the blessing of widespread use of a persistent, odorless, colorless, broad-spectrum neurotoxin is certainly BAD news…

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