25B – Yes or No? (FIFRA)
What is Low Risk and are there Risks?
By Russell Sieb, ACE, Associate Certified Entomologist
What is 25B? 25B is referring to Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), Section 25B, minimum risk pesticide products. This is a list of minimum risk products, not no risk products. These products are exempt from standard pesticide testing and the formulations are often proprietary. The manufacturer can make any claims that it wants to regard the effectiveness of their product, without having to prove it. SO, should there ever be an issue, poison control will not have any information on these products. What does all of this mean? It means that if a 25B product is misused or misapplied, chances are that there is not medical information available because the formulation is protected.
In today’s day and age, consumers are more educated and the concerns about pesticide use are more and more of an issue. A lot of consumers are requesting “green” or “organic” products to be used, to reduce their family’s exposure to the “chemicals or pesticides”. A lot of companies market their services to feed off of this marketing and fear.
First, what is the definition of a pesticide? A pesticide is a chemical that is used with the intent to kill or repel an insect. That’s a fair explanation. And after all, chemicals are harmful but if you spray insects with water, with the intent to drowned or kill it, water could be considered a pesticide according to the definition. After all, water is a chemical compound, H2O. But that’s an exaggeration; water can’t be dangerous, right? After all, it’s natural. Some of the most natural or sustainable products are very dangerous, for example, boric acid. Boric acid is used for medicinal purposes (eyewash) but also as a product used in various pesticide formulations labeled to kill roaches.
Second, what makes a product dangerous? Is it what the product is made of? Is it the application of the product? In most cases, when a product is misused or misapplied is when the product becomes a safety concern. Most consumers don’t read the label on how to use it and just arbitrarily use the product, ignoring any and all precautions, this is especially so with “green” products. If the product is used and applied in accordance with the label instructions, the risk and health concerns can be dramatically decreased.
Have you ever read the label or instructions on toothpaste? Probably not. The instructions state to use a pea-sized drop of toothpaste on the toothbrush but advertising shows a line of toothpaste. Now, is this a health concern, most likely not. But it is a perfect example of an everyday product being misused. A woman used a “green” fogger because she thought she had bedbugs in her car. She misapplied the product and a couple days later started feeling sick. She thought it was just a cold, after further inquiry, she informed the doctor that she used a ”green” product in her car. After contacting poison control and getting no information, the manufacturer is not required to provide it, tests indicated that she had an overexposure to the product. She thought the product was “safe” because it was “green” and didn’t bother reading the instructions. She spent almost a week in the hospital for this exposure.
In closing, please take the time to properly educate yourself on this and any other products that you may use in and around your home. If you have any questions, contact us online or please give us a call at NJ Pest, 973-895-2601.