Health Canada sets new mothball safety requirements to prevent accidental poisoning

Steve Mertl
Daily Brew
March 29, 2012

The lowly mothball is in for a health and safety update.

The little round pellets of pesticide are placed in drawers and cupboards to keep moths from chewing holes in natural-fibre clothing.

However, Health Canada has issued new requirements for labelling and packaging requirements to reduce the risk of mothball poisoning.

The Canadian Press reports the changes include reducing how much of the product should be used and directions on storing it to keep it out of the reach of children and pets.

Health Canada's announcement did not say how common mothball poisoning is, but that said, the department had re-evaluated naphthalene, the active ingredient in mothballs.

"Children are at risk of eating mothballs because the product looks like candy," Health Canada said in its release.

"They can develop diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, lack of appetite, fever, abdominal pain and painful urination and dark urine. Pets that eat mothballs can develop lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite and tremors."

The changed requirements include reducing the maximum amount of mothballs or flakes to be applied, adding directions on the package to store it in a dry place out of the reach of children and pets, and to open the package only in well-ventilated areas.

The rules will also restrict the use of mothballs to indoor uses and then only in airtight containers.

Mothball manufacturers have until September 2013 to meet the new requirements.

(Image from Wikipedia Commons)