Bureaucrats in Your Bedroom

How environmental regulators have degenerated American pubic health in the most intimate area of our homes.

The government now wants to advise us on potential trouble in our bedrooms. At the same time, it is finding out that being politically correct doesn’t solve the problem.

On Sept. 5, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) joined forces to release a document to warn the citizenry about what these agencies see as an “emerging public health problem”--bed bugs. Meanwhile, a New Jersey community newspaper Sept. 5 said bed bugs have been increasing because the little pests are “building up an immunity to the ‘greener’ chemicals.” Such a finding must, indeed, be a shock to an agency such as EPA, which has lived an existence of political correctness in support of an ever “greener” world.

The United States is “one of many countries now experiencing an alarming resurgence in the population of bed bugs,” the new government document warns. “Though the exact cause is not known, experts suspect the resurgence is associated with increased resistance of bed bugs to available pesticides,” the government agencies acknowledged with what must have been some reluctance.

The agencies also blamed the prevalence of bed bugs on “lack of knowledge regarding control of bed bugs,” apparently surmising that most Americans live in some fairyland, unaware of, or unconcerned about, the variety of problems life can bring. The federal document warned that bed bugs are “similar to head lice,” with which most parents with children in public schools are all too familiar. But bed bugs “are not believed to transmit disease,” the government agencies conceded. With just a touch of hysteria, however, the government document states, “Bed bugs cause a variety of negative physical health, mental health and economic consequences.” Some people have allergic reactions to bed bug bites with “effects ranging from no reaction to small bite mark to, in rare cases, Anaphylaxis (severe whole body reaction)....Bed bugs may also affect the mental health of people living in infested homes. Reported effects include anxiety and insomnia.” It’s hard to imagine what could be worse.

The New Jersey article reported New York City had the honor of “being declared as the top hot spot for the pests in the United States, according to a list from Terminex Pest Control.” Bed bugs have been increasing in numbers because of changed standards in pesticides, according to Jan TenHoeve, owner of Sentry Termite and Pest Control, the story said. According to TenHoeve, the bugs “used to be controlled with more potent chemicals like DDT, but legislation has banned the use of DDT. Certain chemicals being used to control bed bugs, like Pyrethrin...might be easier on the environment. But they may be a bit too easy on bed bugs, which appear to  be building up an immunity  to the ‘greener’ chemicals,” said TenHoeve.

A Rutgers University study earlier this year speculated that a combination of international travel, insecticide resistance, and lack of effective chemical control tools may be the leading contributors to the bed bug increase. The study also found that bed bug infestations are not related to a building’s quality or the socioeconomic status of its residents, and efforts by either residents or pest control professionals “are often ineffective in eliminating the bugs.

The New Jersey state Assembly passed a bill, the Jersey paper reported, quoting an upset Democrat Assembly- woman, Joan Quigley, as lamenting: “It is disgusting to think that there are places in New Jersey where renters are being forced to cohabitate with vermin, simply because they cannot afford extermination.” So, the hysteria continues.

The EPA and CDC document warned naïve America that “Pesticide misuse is also a potential public health concern. Because bed bug infestations are so difficult to control and are such a challenge to mental and economic health, residents may resort to using pesticides that are not intended for indoor residential use and may face serious health risks as a result. Additionally, residents [who are thought to be fairly stupid and reckless] may be tempted to apply pesticides registered for indoor use, but at greater application rates than the label allows....Pesticides must always be used in strict accordance with their labeling to ensure that the residents and applicators are not exposed to unsafe levels of pesticide residues,” the agencies lectured.

Ohio authorities are pleading with the EPA to approve the indoor use of the pesticide Propoxur “which the agency considers a probable carcinogen and banned for in-home use in 2007....About 26 other states are supporting Ohio’s request for an emergency exemption,” said an Aug. 30 piece from “the social network.” In a few cases, house fires have been blamed on people misusing flammable garden chemicals to fight bed bugs. Experts also warn that some hardware products—bug bombs, cedar oil, and other natural oils—claim to be lethal (to the bugs) but merely cause the bugs to scatter out of sight and hide in cracks in walls and floors.”

Bed bugs, a common pest for centuries practically vanished in the 1940s and ‘50s with the widespread use of DDT.

But DDT was banned in 1972 after Rachael Carson alarmed much of the civilized world with her 1982 book, “Silent Spring,” which later was proven full of factual errors. Millions of people have died of malaria since DDT was outlawed. Although Propoxur is still used in pet collars, it is banned in homes because of the possibility of nausea and dizziness in children. Steven Bradbury, EPS’s director of pesticides, is quoted as saying the problem with Propoxur is that children crawl on the floor and put their fingers in their mouths. Naughty, naughty children!

With unemployment rising to 9.6 percent, and the Fed moving to stop its security holdings from shrinking, as The Wall Street Journal blog reported Sept. 3, the bed bug annoyance can be widely seen by Americans currently as less than a matter for national anxiety.