79,000 children were harmed by pesticides containing butane, propane and other chemicals within reach of children (EPA, 2018).
The safety data sheet of a commonly used household pesticide in Australia, Mortein, states butane and propane as the larger ingredients and identifies the product as flammable, and causing skin corrosion/ irritation (rb, 2016). In the United States of America five sudden deaths had occurred due to the inhalation of nonhalogenated hydrocarbons including butane and propane (Rohrig, 1997).
Children can be exposed to butane, propane and other harmful ingredients in pesticides either directly during play and exploration because of storing pesticides within reach in unlocked cabinets or counters following use or indirectly after entering a room where the pesticide was recently sprayed or by consuming uncovered food or using utensils which came in contact with pesticides.
Better Health Victoria (2018) advises consumers to:
When deciding to use pesticides to
• Eliminate or reduce the use of pesticides if it’s unrealistic to keep your house pest free
• Substitute the use of harmful pesticides with safer non-chemical-based control measures and if use of chemical pesticides is necessary use the least toxic, the least amount needed and the exact type necessary for the type of pest you’re targeting
• Obtain the safety data sheet for the pesticide you intend to use
When storing and handling pesticides to
• Store the pesticides in their original containers in a locked cabinet away from food stuff or utensils and follow manufacturer’s safety data sheet
• Use gloves, masks and/or other protective equipment as directed by the manufacturer when using their product
• When using the product, do not eat, drink or smoke
• Wash your hands following usage
Be ready for an emergency
• Emergency 000
• Victorian Poison Information Centre: 13 11 26
• Nearest hospital emergency unit
Contributed by Akram Bekzada
Better Health Victoria. (2018). Pest control in the home. Retrieved from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/pest-control-in-the-home
EPA. (2018). Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Pesticides’ Impact on Indoor Air Quality. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/pesticides-impact-indoor-air-quality
rb. (2016). Safety Data Sheet: Mortein Fast Knockdown Export Aerosol. Retrieved from http://www.rb-msds.com.au/uploadedFiles/pdf/Mortein%20Fast%20Knockdown%20Export%20Aerosol-v6.2-30533.pdf
Rohrig, T. P. (1997). Sudden Death Due to Butane Inhalation. The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, 18(3), 299-302.