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Don’t Try This at Home!

By Chris Williams on June 14, 2011.

The California Department of Pesticide Registration put together a list of what they call "interesting occurrences" that have been investigated in California. We added a couple of our own. None of the people involved died, but almost all required medical attention. When you have a pest problem, please call a professional. Don’t try to do it yourself!

Toilet rats go up in flames!  A homeowner discovered that rats were entering his home through a toilet. He bought an incendiary device intended to be used in gopher holes and dropped it down a plumbing vent on his roof. The flames melted a plastic elbow in the pipe and the roof caught fire, causing $80,000 in damage.

Gimme a Bug Lite.  A 23-year old man saw a fly on his beer can so he sprayed the can with an insecticide. Later, as he drank from the can, his lips began to tingle.

What part of "vacate the premises" don't you understand?  A woman set off four cans of pesticide foggers (3 more than recommended) in her 1,000 square foot apartment. She left the premises as the label instructed but then returned several times to pick up things she had forgotten. She began to experience nausea, cramps, and diarrhea so she called 911. Unfortunately, the responding paramedic entered without respiratory protection and he became ill, too.

And she still has bed bugs. A woman didn’t want to spend the money for a professional heat treatment of her apartment to get rid of bed bugs, so she decided to do it herself. She lit a charcoal camping grill in her bedroom in an attempt to raise the temperature high enough to kill the bed bugs. Fortunately the resulting fire damage was confined to the one bedroom.

All that for a little spider.  A woman tried to kill a spider in a cupboard by spraying it with insecticide. She then stuck her head into the cupboard to find out if the spider was dead. She began coughing and vomiting from the fumes.

But he got rid of the ants!  When the pressurized can of insecticide spray wouldn’t spray properly, a condo owner tried to open it with a screw driver. The can exploded and the pilot light on a nearby stove ignited the pesticide solvents and propellant. By the time the fire department had the fire under control, 14 condo units were damaged to the tune of almost $400,000.

Physician, heal thyself!  A San Francisco physician (yes, a physician!) used too many moth balls in his closet. When he wore clothes from the closet, he began to feel dizzy, nauseated, and suffered loss of muscle coordination. The first time, he recovered in fresh air. The second time, he ended up in a hospital emergency room where he was hospitalized overnight to rule out a stroke. His ailment was finally traced to excessive mothball fumes.

That's one way to get off of tobacco!  A man was spraying his yard with diazinon and stopped for a chew of tobacco. He jammed the wad into his mouth with unwashed hands. He soon began vomiting, salivating, and experienced shortness of breath.

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