CDC Warns Against Bed Bug Insecticide Poisonings

111 sickened across seven states.
Bed bugs or insecticide poison? Take your pick. (Photo: Getty Images)
Sep 22, 2011
Exec. Prod. of Franchises & Series. He previously reported for HuffPost, L.A. Daily Journal, and Biloxi Sun-Herald.

What could be worse than the onward march of bed bugs across America? How about a whole slew of people getting sick from the insecticides meant to wipe out the buggers.

The CDC warned this week that 111 people in seven states had gotten sick after trying to fight bed bugs. One woman in North Carolina even died (but the CDC writes that she already suffered from a host of medical ailments, and used excessive amounts of the bug killer). 

In fact, the feds warned that it was often human errors—excessive use, failure to wash treated linens, and failure to follow label instructions—that led to the illnesses.

Nevertheless, the cases were alarming enough for the CDC to warn people of the insecticide poisoning's danger. And they've also got this additional, more disturbing note:

"Although the number of acute illnesses from insecticides used to control bed bugs does not suggest a large public health burden, increases in bed bug populations that are resistant to commonly available insecticides might result in increased misuse of pesticides."

In other words, it'll be even harder to kill the little pests. 

Bed bugs, of course, don't carry disease. But, in the overly clinical words of the CDC, they "reduce quality of life by causing anxiety, discomfort and sleeplessness."

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