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Bedbugs: Fear May Be Worse Than Their Bite

West Chicago, IL - Bedbug bites are typically uncomfortable, even painful, but they rarely result in serious illness.  However, what appears to be a growing health problem is the use of pesticides to eradicate bedbugs.
This is the conclusion of some public health officials, according to a report released by the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 
According to the CDC report, in the past eight years the overuse and misuse of pesticides against bedbugs have sickened at least 111 people and killed at least one.
Lilah Gray of Rocky Mount, NC, serves as an extreme example. 
After continued bedbug bites, she saturated her home with common household pesticides.  Then, Ms. Gray soaked napkins with pesticides and applied them directly to her hair and body.
Within a few days she was taken ill, hospitalized, and died.
However, most reported poisoning incidents as a result of attempts to kill bedbugs have caused a range of ailments, from mild to severe respiratory problems, nausea, and vomiting.
“Many of these poisonings are the result of excessive use or misuse of pesticides,” says Michael Schaffer, president of Tornado Industries and author of the published White Paper, Effective Treatment of Bedbug Infestations, based on the subject. 
“But it also tells us many people are still unaware of safer ways to eradicate bedbugs, eliminating or at least reducing the use of pesticides.”
Schaffer is referring to the use of professional-grade steam cleaners that produce steam up to approximately 250°F, a temperature at which bedbugs and their eggs are exterminated.
“The use of professional-grade steam cleaners can significantly help reduce toxicity levels associated with fighting bed bug infestations,” adds Schaffer.
“[And can] play a critical role in integrated pest management programs, serving to significantly lower the amount of pesticide used.” *
*Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an environmentally sensitive approach to pest management designed to help eliminate or minimize the use of pesticides.
Source: Bedbug Panic Often Creates More Danger Than the Bites; The New York Times, Friday September 23, 2011; Anemona Hartocollis and William Neuman.

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