A recent report from the CDC has highlighted Louisiana as a state with documented cases of illnesses and injuries resulting from the improper use of total release foggers, more commonly referred to as bug bombs or insect foggers. 

The Department of Health – Office of Public Health is urging citizens to use caution when operating these foggers, as many people are unaware that these products pose a health risk, especially if label directions are not followed.  Improper use may result in users developing respiratory problems from breathing the fog or entering too soon into a treated room.  In addition to health risks, misusing foggers can cause fires or explosions.

The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report examined 466 fogger exposure cases from eight states (including Louisiana) between 2001 and 2006.  Roughly 20 percent of the cases had symptoms that were considered moderate or severe and five percent were hospitalized for one day or more.  Common reasons for exposure were failure to leave the treated area before the fogger discharged, re-entry into the treated space too soon after the fogger was discharged, and using more than the recommended number of foggers.

Twenty-two percent of the cases were from Louisiana.  Most individuals had respiratory problems such as cough, shortness of breath and wheezing.  In one case, a child was burned when a fogger exploded after it was placed under a stove with a lit pilot light.

Protect your health when using these devices by reading and following directions on the label.  Safe alternatives to foggers include eliminating cockroaches’ food, water and hiding places and preventing flea infestations on pets through spot or oral treatments. 

A brochure on foggers and other pesticide information is available on the LDH Web site at www.seet.dhh.louisiana.gov or by calling 888-293-7020.