In our Health Alert tonight, as annoying as summer bugs can be, you might want to think twice about using insect-killing chemicals.   Recent research has linked an increased death risk to pyrethroid insecticide.  

I am not a fan of summer bugs so I get why some people might want to use chemicals to keep them away.  Unfortunately, products that contain pyrethroids might be affecting how long some people live.  And here’s why, researchers analyzed urine samples from over 2000 people – looking to see if pyrethroid insecticide was present.  And here’s what they found, those who had the highest levels of pyrethroid metabolite in their urine had a 56% higher risk of dying from any cause.  And they were three times more likely to die from heart disease when compared to the folks who were in the lowest exposure group.

What exactly is pyrethroid and what products it might be in?

Pyrethroids are a group of mandmade pesticides.  They’re considered to be low toxicity to humans and they supposedly do not accumulate in our bodily tissues.  Now this pesticide kills off bugs by messing with their nerve function.  Which is why you’ll find pyrethroids in many household and garden pest control products.  But they can also them in pet sprays, shampoos, lice treatments and mosquito repellents.  And they’re widely used in agriculture, horticulture, medicines and veterinary medicines.  So you can see how humans are easily exposed to this insecticide which to me is a bit concerning.

How can we limit our exposure?

I would try going “green” or using non-chemical options first.  You can try flyswatters, jar traps, or pheromone traps.  If you feel you have to use pesticides, then use them sparingly.  Choose pesticides with low toxicity and spot treat small areas. Also be sure to read the label and never use more than what is recommended.  I would also wear gloves and masks if possible because pyrethroids may enter the body through inhalation and skin contact.

Commonly Used Insecticide Linked to Death, Study Says