August 21, 1997

Methyl Bromide Poisoning: Sidebar: Safer Alternatives for Non-Toxic Pest Control

Instead of using methyl bromide, there are many alternative treatment methods for structural pest control. A number of pest control companies, including at least one multi-million dollar operation in Bakersfield, have switched to nontoxic alternatives like cooled liquid nitrogen that kills insects by freezing them. Safe use of cooled liquid nitrogen requires careful worker safety precautions and aeration but presents no drift or chronic toxicity problems.

Other pest control operators use propane heaters that raise house temperatures to 150 degrees and non-toxic dusts that kill pests through dehydration. These and other non-toxic alternatives are much safer than chemical pesticides (such as sulfuryl fluoride) that are often used instead of methyl bromide in structures.