If you smell a skunk in your house, an air freshner or scented candles may not be the best way to eliminate it. A better plan is to get the skunk out of the house. In other words, eliminate the source and you'll likely eliminate its pollutants.
There are litterally thousands of "skunk-like" materials and products used daily in home construction and remodeling.
For example, one popular measure to control termites is “soil poison”. The chemical is called a termiticide. The solution kills termites, hence the term termit’ + “cide”, as in homicide.
These chemicals are sprayed on the ground, beneath footings, basements and crawl spaces. In existing homes, the are frequently injected through holes drilled in basement floors or in exterior trenches.
The risk in poisoning the soil underneath your home is the ease at which these compounds leach into your home where they can be inhaled by your family.
Of course, the proponents of these methods will claim the solution is regulated and proven to be safe. But applicators are not laboratory scientists and are likely just repeating what the manufacturer claims about the products they sell.
It’s a common misconception that if something is sold, it must be safe. Chlordane is an example of a widely used termite poison that is now banned in the U.S. It was removed from commercial sales in 1988 following the determination that it was a probable human carcinogen.
Around 2 million pounds of Dursban was used annually until it was banned in early 2000.
Imidacloprid, an active ingredient in termiticides, belongs to a family of neurotoxins, Neonicotinoids are increasingly being blamed for a sharp die-off of honeybees that has plagued North America since 2006. Not willing to accept the “wait and see” strategy, policymakers in Europe imposed a two-year precautionary ban on imidacloprid in 2013.
A 2014 study, published in the Japanese Journal of Clinical Ecology, found when patients consumed imidacloprid-treated food, they were inordinately inclined to record abnormal cardiograms and complain of chest and muscle pains.
In December, 2014, European health authorities warned that imidacloprid may affect the developing human brain and should be more tightly controlled to limit human exposure.
The common denominator in these three examples is, all these chemicals at one time were deemed safe. In the case of imidacloprid, the debate continues. But regulatory approval is always fraught with agendas and politics. So discovering the truth is difficult.
If there are safer, less toxic ways to control termites, why would you put your family at risk?
Once moisture is addressed, the photo to the right shows a less toxic solution applied to the wood. The active ingredenient in this product is borate.
Termites require elevated moisture to survive. So controlling excessive moisture is the first less toxic method to control them.