Wednesday, November 11, 2009 4:35 AM
By Doug Caruso THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Faced with a growing invasion of bedbugs, Ohio has asked the federal government for permission to turn them back with a pesticide that is not labeled for use in homes.
"We are in dire straits, and we need help," said Matt Beal, assistant chief at the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
The department asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Oct.23 for an emergency exemption to allow the use of Propoxur in residences.
The insecticide is used in commercial buildings, on crops and in flea and tick collars for pets, Beal said.
More than a dozen other states are supporting the request.
Though there have been exemptions in the past to fight crop pests, it's the first time such an exemption has been requested for an indoor pesticide, he said.
The Environmental Working Group, which recently backed a call to remove Propoxur from pet collars, urged caution. It's best to reduce human exposure to such chemicals, said Leeann Brown, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit group based in Washington.
During the next two months or so, the EPA will have to weigh the risks of allowing more Propoxur to be used against the growing threat of bedbugs, Beal said.