DeltaDust Insecticide Dangers

by Amanda Flanigan

Homes are full of potentially harmful products that pose a hazard to your children and pets. DeltaDust insecticide is one such product that can threaten the health and safety of your family if not used correctly. If used properly, however, DeltaDust can successfully control unwanted pests safely. Familiarizing yourself with the label, ingredients and potential dangers associated with DeltaDust helps reduce the risk of harm caused by the product.

1. What is DeltaDust?

DeltaDust, manufactured by Bayer Environmental Science, is a waterproof insecticidal dust containing deltamethrin as its active ingredient. Deltamethrin is a member of the pyrethroid family, which is a synthetic version of the natural pyrethrins derived from chrysanthemums. Deltamethrin kills insects by either ingestion or direct contact and interferes with the nervous system of the insect.

2. DeltaDust Effects on Humans

DeltaDust causes itching, burning, numbness and tingling on the skin. These skin sensations generally subside after about 48 hours. DeltaDust can also result in mild irritation when it comes in contact with eyes. Breathing an excessive amount of DeltaDust can lead to dizziness and headaches. If ingested, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting and muscle twitches can occur. Deltamethrin -- the active ingredient in DeltaDust -- is listed as “not likely to be a human carcinogen,” according to the U.S. EPA.

3. DeltaDust Effects on Pets

Dogs and cats that have gotten DeltaDust on their skin will begin to bite, lick or scratch the area in response to the irritation caused by the insecticide. If ingested, the animal may experience lack of coordination, drooling, vomiting and muscle tremors. The severity of these symptoms varies depending on the amount of DeltaDust consumed. If you suspect your pet has ingested DeltaDust, contact a veterinarian immediately.

4. DeltaDust Effects on the Environment

The active ingredient in DeltaDust has a half-life -- which is the time it takes for half of the insecticide to break down in the environment -- of between five and 209 days. This time will vary depending on the temperature and organic matter, soil chemistry and water content of the soil. DeltaDust is safe to use around vegetation and helps to control problematic insects that harm plants. It is toxic to honeybees, however, and should not be used when honeybees are present. DeltaDust is also highly toxic to fish and should not be applied where it could cause runoff to rivers, lakes or other waterways.

5. Heed Warnings

When applying DeltaDust insecticide, keep children and animals out of the area. If the insecticidal dust comes in contact with eyes or skin, flush the area with water for 15 minutes. Immediately contact poison control if ingested. If possible, have the DeltaDust label on hand so you can provide vital information to poison control if needed. Even though deltamethrin has not caused birth defects in laboratory animals that consumed the chemical during pregnancy, it is best to err on the side of caution and keep pregnant women and nursing mothers away from this insecticide.