What Bug Sprays Are Banned?


Quick Answer

More than 60 pesticides are banned or severely restricted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to GoodGuide. These bug sprays include DDT, carbon tetrachloride, ethylene oxide, lead arsenate, nitrofen, safrole, sodium arsenate and vinyl chloride. Some pesticides are banned due to carcinogenic properties, while others are banned due to environmental toxicity.

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Full Answer

DDT was widely used during World War II to control insects such as potato beetles, coddling moths, corn earworms, cotton bolworms and tobacco budworms. The United States banned the use of DDT in 1972 after its environmental and health effects were fully understood. Some tropical countries still use DDT to control malaria and yellow fever.

Carbon tetrachloride causes cancer in laboratory animals, causes acute poisoning, and may break down the ozone layer, according to an EPA fact sheet reported by Cornell University's Pesticide Management Education Program. These findings led to regulatory action between 1980 and 1986, when the EPA investigated the pesticide. Carbon tetrachloride was deemed safe enough to use on museum and laboratory specimens, as applicators are safe enough to prevent exposure to human.

Nitrofen was banned in the European Union in 1988, yet German baby food manufacturers discovered traces of the pesticide in their wheat and chicken in 2002, according to Pesticide Action Network UK. The contamination was traced to a warehouse that was not decontaminated properly after nitrofen was banned, and the unknowing baby food company stored organic wheat at the facility. Studies cited by PAN-UK show that nitrofen causes mutations, birth defects and cancer in rats and mice.

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