All these indoor pesticides have dreadful names: Hit, Mortein (which means Death), Baygone (Be Gone!) Hexit, All Out (I can’t remember the rest but they are all as bad: Casper (as in ghost for instance). All these names apply equally to the damage they do to the human being inside the house. You should know what they contain before you use them. In any case most of you use them without knowing how, when or where and usually when the doors are shut. Here is what they contain:
Organochlorines: DDT, extraordinarily toxic and accumulates in the body. Reactions to it range from lower sperm counts and reproductive problems to cancer. Kills everything except its targets: mosquitoes and cockroaches.
Organophosphates: Malathion, acutely toxic. Causes problems in the brain and is a suspected mutagen (Changes the genes)
Chlorpyrofos: medium to acutely toxic and causes sterility and impotence
Carbamates: Propoxur, acutely toxic, Carcinogenic, results in dizziness, fatigue, blurred vision, excessive sweating, diarrhoea, cramps, insomnia
Synthetic Pyrethroids: less toxic than the above three but result in nervous irritability, tremors, incoordinated muscular movement, asthmatic wheezing, swelling of oral and larygeal mucous, endocrinal disruption which affect the immune system. Oral ingestion causes stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and even coma.
(pyrethrum used to be made out of pyrethrum flowers from Kenya and Kashmir. Unfortunately this became too expensive so sythetic pyrethroids like Allethrin, Deltamethrin, Cypermethrin, Fenvalerate came into being. Workers in the Deltamethrin factories experience facial burning, itching and numbness. Allethrin causes fine body tremors,twitching and hyperexcitability).
Who uses these:
HEXIT is Deltamethrin
Commonly used coils and mats like Baygone mats, Goodknight, HIT, Baygone mats use allethrin
Here are lots and lots of alternatives.
House cleaners: Simple baking soda which both cleans and deodorises. It makes a good scrubbing powder for the sink as well. Borax cleans and disinfects as well. Mix it as a quarter cup in 2 litres of hot water. Washing soda is a disinfectant which also removed grease and stains. White vinegar removed grease. You can make your own All purpose cleaner by mixing 2 teaspoons borax,1 teaspoon soap and 1 quarter water. Put it into a bottle or spray.
Brass Cleaner: Mix equal parts of salt and flour with a little vinegar and then rub. Or rub lemon rind or tamarind (imli)and salt.
Copper Cleaner: Rub with lemon juice and salt
Silver or Stainless Steel: Rub with a paste of baking soda and water.
To protect your house from insects:
For storing rice, pulses and wheat you can put dry red chillies in the jar or bag.
Ants can be kept away in dozens of ways, some of which I have written about in my previous two articles:
- lay out a line of boric powder or sprinkle behind areas where you know they come like sinks, washers etc.
- wipe your kitchen platforms with concentrated salt water
- Sprinkle talcum powder over ant trails
- Sprinkle equal quantities of turmeric and alum powder over ant trails
- Put dried and powdered garlic on the corners of your window frames and kitchen platform
- Crumble bay leaves and scatter them around the kitchen
- put a few camphot tablets or a few drops of peppermint oil over the sugar container ( However, this might make the sugar smell odd)
- Wipe the kitchen with vinegar and water
To keep moths, cockroaches and rodents away:
- Tie wild sage in bunches and hang around the house, cupboards, terraces etc.
- Make cloth balls of caraway seeds, cinnamon (dalchini), mace and nutmeg
- Grind 2 tsps each of caraway seeds, cinnamon,cloves,mace and nutmeg and mix up with 12 tsps orris root powder. Place in cotton bags and put in cupboards, trunks etc
- Store dried roots of khuskhus or vacha
To get rid of lice: Grind aniseed (saunf) into a very fine paste along with a little water and apply on the head. Let it remain for a few hours and then wash off.
To keep mosquitoes away: Use a decoction of chamomile and pour it over exposed areas of the body
Mosquitoes:Burn coconut husks to drive them away.
A general repellant is:1 oz each of basil oil (tulsi oil), rue oil, rosemary oil and wormwood oil. Put onto the underneath and sides of doors and windows, in drawers or areas that are insect infested and around drainholes. This is very effective but some people are allergic to it so use a bit and then see.
Toxics Link has done a great deal of research on the subject and has some alarming facts that you should know about. Write to Toxic Link-Delhi, H-2, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi-14; email: firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.toxicslink.org