Mallory, Schmidt push to OK bedbug pesticide

Cincinnati Enquirer
Tuesday, May 17, 2011

An unusual pairing of a liberal Democratic state lawmaker and a conservative Republican congresswoman called on the U.S. EPA to allow Ohio to use a pesticide that exterminators believe fight bedbugs effectively and cheaply.

State Rep. Dale Mallory, D-West End, and Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Miami Twp.., held a press conference Tuesday morning on the steps of Cincinnati City Hall asking the EPA to approve the use of  Propoxur, a pesticide that that EPA has said may have "negative health effects on children, linked to nervous system issues.

"If a kid were to ingest it, it is a risk, but the way professional exterminators apply it, a kid would have a hard time even finding it,'' Schmidt told the Enquirer.

It is applied in the cracks and crevices of homes; and behind electric light switch plates, Schmidt said, "where the bedbugs hide. If they were to spray it into kids' mouth or on a bed post, yes, it could be dangerous. But that is not how it is used."

Steve Scherzinger, president of Scherzinger Pest Control, was at the press conference with Schmidt and Mallory, who sponsored a resolution in the Ohio House urging the EPA to allow use of Propoxur. The Ohio Senate has yet to act on the resolution. Scherzinger praised Mallory and Schmidt for their efforts. 

Mallory, who has been working on the bedbug issue for the past three years, said he was glad to have an ally in Washington, particularly one in the majority party in Congress. 

"We need all the help we can get,'' Mallory said. 

The Ohio Department of Agriculture has also asked the EPA to allow use of the pesticide.

At their press conference Tuesday, both legislators cited  a fire on Sunday in Carthage which destroyed a home where a bedbug treatment that heats a house to 135 degrees sparked a fire.

"This pesticide doesn't involve heating a building,'' Mallory said. "We have trained professionals here who can do this safely and effectively." 

Schmidt said she will seek a meeting with EPA administrator Lisa Jackson or "the appropriate persons in her department" to argue the case for allowing use of Propoxur.

A spokesman for the U.S. EPA said Tuesday afternoon that EPA officials were preparing a response to the call by Mallory and Schmidt for use of Propoxur.