The Banned Killer: Chlordane for Termite Treatment
Termites are really controversial insects.
From one side, they are really helpful in nature, because consume fallen trees in the forest.
From the other side, termites are really harmful for all the wooden objects they can find in your house or yard.
Termite damage can cost homeowners an awful lot of money.
That’s why people are using different methods to get rid of these terrible pests. Pest control specialists can visit your house and advise what can you do. As the time goes by, the methods and ways of insect control change.
There are a lot of chemicals which help to kill termites. Some of them are safe for people and nature, other products can be dangerous.
One of these, so-called dangerous products, is called chlordane. We are going to share all the useful information about this insecticide.
Nowadays people are trying to use safer insecticides, testing the products and making researches.
What is chlordane?
Actually chlordane is a mixture of more than 50 different chemicals.
Different variation of this product have different toxicity. It may resemble amber liquid.
The smell also differs, chlordane may have no scent or even a terrible odor.
Nowadays chlordane for termite control is not used. But some time ago it was really popular.
People used it from 1948 to 1988 to control the number of termites in the house. Everybody could buy it those times.
Chlordane was liked by homeowners and considered to be an effective insecticide. It was used not only against termites, but also other insects. The usage could differ depending what insect you are facing. Sometimes you need to mix chlordane powder with some water.
The liquid you finally get was also used for citrus crops and corn protection.
After that lots of people refused to use it and chlordane was sent back to the company, which produced it. According to some reports chlordane was dangerous for human health.
Why was chlordane banned?
During the period while people could use this chemical, it was appreciated for its effectiveness and low price. People were really fond of its long-lasting effect. Chlordane could save a house from termites for about 20 years.
In 1988 the EPA forbid to use it as a termite control method. Now chlordane can be used only by experts against some species of ants.
The EPA proved that this chemical is a carcinogen for humans. There were a number of researches. For example, animals in laboratory got a liver cancer after they consumed a lot of chlordane. So, it may cause human cancer as well.
Also, it takes a long time for chlordane to break down in soil, usually about 25-35 years.
The termiticides used today are much safer for nature. A proper termite treatment now allows you to forget about termites for 5 years. Of course, they can’t compare with chlordane in duration, but they are safe for people, nature, animals and plants.
Anyway, homeowners were really upset when they were not allowed to use chlordane against termites.
At the same time two more insecticides, aldrin and dieldrin, were also banned.
At those times the choice of insecticides wasn’t rich.
After the ban of three products people could only use chlorpyrifos, which was sold under the trade name Dursban. This chemical wasn’t so effective as chlordane.
Chlordane in the environment
Though chlordane was banned in the USA long ago, it can be still used in other countries. And people should know, why it is so dangerous and what happens when it enters the environment.
The product could be used as a pesticide on gardens, lawns and crops, and in houses for termite control. In soil chlordane strongly attaches to the particles in upper layers. It doesn’t usually get to groundwater. The breakdown in soils is extremely slow, depending on the soil type.
This chemical is able to travel for long distances and can be found in water and land. Chlordane accumulates in mammals, fish and birds. It stays in environment for a very long time and can be found in food, air, soil and water.
Chlordane termite treatment
While you are using chlordane for termites the chemical affects the nervous system of insects. That happens because some really important chemical signals are blocked, and that causes overstimulation.
How can I be exposed to chlordane?
We were talking a lot about why chlordane was banned.
You can easily check if you are exposed or not.
If you were alive before 1988 and visited homes which were treated against termites, you are most probably exposed, because chlordane was the most popular insecticide those times.
According to the researchers from all over the world, chlordane is found in a great number of substances. It is interesting, that in Africa it was found in breast milk, in China – in water. That’s really dangerous.
How to limit exposure?
People may just only get information that their houses could be treated with chlordane long ago. But if that ever happened, the chemical is still here and may expose you.
There are some useful tips helping to limit the exposure level:
- Plant some grass near the house or cover soil with some surface materials, for example, gravel.
- Prevent your kids from playing on the ground near the foundation.
- The pet enclosures should be away from the foundation perimeter.
- Do not grow edible vegetables and fruit in the soil that may be contaminated.
- Do not take the soil from underneath the building to other areas.
- After you work in the soil near the house wash the hands vert carefully, especially before meals.
- If you work with the soil that could be contaminated, wear gloves and protecting clothes.
If you interested in more information of termites we recommend you to read the following articles:
- All types of termites. Are they harmful to humans? Can they bite you? And what is the difference between drywood and subterranean ones?
- What does swarmers of different species look like: drywood, subterranean, formosan?
- Signs of infestation outside and in the house: in walls or furniture.
- What does termite holes look like? What is droppings and is it toxic to humans? Do termites make noises?
- Posible termite damage, how does it look like? Examples of damage in walls and wood floors.
- All about flying termites: how do they look like, swarming season and what to do if there are swarmers in your house?
- How do they do nests and mounds? How to find it in your garden or inside the house?
- Termite life cycle – from egg to larvae. And social hierarchy: workers, soldiers, queen.
History of termite control – chlordane:
We see how some insecticides can be harmful for nature.
Knowing more information about chlordane we understand how dangerous it can be and why we should avoid it.
This pesticide can still be sold in some countries due to its great effect against termites and low cost.
You should be really careful about it, being able to prevent the others from using this harmful product.
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