Insecticide insanity?

October 17th, 2009
| Filed under

When Mortein launched a more natural insecticide for use in the home, I thought it was a great thing. Mortein Naturgard is *based* on plant extracts called pyrethrins.

Pyrethrins are biodegradable and break down on exposure to light or oxygen. Pyrethrins are derived from the perennial plants Pyrethrum; of which Chrysanthemums and daisies are a member. Other commercial fly sprays tend to use pyrethroids – synthetic pyrethrins.

The catch here is that the product is *based* on pyrethrins and just because something is natural, it doesn’t make it harmless. It also contains piperonyl butoxide; which enhances the toxicity of the pyrethrins. There’s still a lot of debate about the health and environmental effects of piperonyl butoxide.

Still, of the commercial fly sprays, I felt NaturGard seemed to be the lesser of the evils and used responsibly was probably an ok choice.

Until now.

I was gobsmacked to see an ad for a new Mortein NaturGard product, an automated system you “set and forget”. Like those air fresheners that crank out toxic chemicals 24/7, the “Advanced Micro Diffusion System releases small bursts of plant based mist every 13 minutes for continuous protection”.

Eek.. Spraying insecticide when you don’t need to spray – and every 13 minutes?

The company says that over the period of a day, it only discharges the equivalent of a  3- 4 second burst; but three to four seconds is quite a long time.

Considering that it’s also extremely eco-toxic to aquatic life and persistent in aquatic environments, you wouldn’t want this cranking out in a room with a fish tank. I also discovered this evening that Naturgard contains Butylated Hydroxytoluene.

Really folks, do we need something like this in our homes? Isn’t fly spray a last resort rather than something we should have pumping into our living environment continually?

From an environmental point of view, there’s not only the use of the insecticide itself that is cause for concern, but the plastic diffuser – more trash that will wind up in landfill.

In a world of monkey see, monkey do, I’ve noticed another company has launched a similar product.

It never ceases to amaze me what companies will do to get us using products in quantities we don’t really need to (hyperconsumption); and to keep us buying them.

This is a product that I believe should be pulled from sale and in my opinion could be a case of greenwashing – promoting a product that may have *some* natural ingredients but encouraging it to be used needlessly and excessively.

Reckitt Benckiser, manufacturer of Mortein Naturgard Automatic Insect Control System, has already been rapped on the knuckles for a ‘Made in Australia’ statement that was previously appearing on the product when the diffuser was made in China.

Related:

Dealing with flies
Bees and your food
Be kind to spiders
Dealing with cockroaches
Deterring ants


Michael Bloch
Green Living Tips.com
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