Woman claims bed bugs bit her at Bessemer theater


May 20, 2019   Emma Simmons

BESSEMER, Ala. (WIAT) — Scary movies can take a back seat to this real-life horror story.

A woman took to social media Sunday night, claiming bed bugs were in her seat at the Premiere Cinema 14 Promenade in Bessemer.

movie_seat_bbsCrystal Crawford Youngblood posted pictures she says she took at the theater, one of which shows raised patches on her arm, which she claims are bed bug bites.

Premiere Cinemas denied Youngblood’s claims in a statement posted on Facebook. The theater says “no evidence of insect activity has been detected.”
Also, the theater is in the process of upgrading to “all new leather reclining seats.

Bedbug bill leads to eviction, Savannah woman says

May 21, 2019  by Martin Staunton

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A Savannah woman says a problem with bedbugs and maintenance issues led to her eviction.

The single mother & new grandmother is now looking for a new place to live over a dispute she lost in court with her landlord, Timberland Apartments.

39-year old Juanita Porter says she’s lived in Savannah her entire life, but this is the first time she’s been evicted.

“I’m humiliated,” she said, choking back tears. “It’s really breaking me and if I break, my whole family breaks, because I am all my kids have. And the thing that makes it so bad is I got to put my personal business on the news just to be heard.”

On her final day as a resident, Porter received some of her final guests — a pair of code compliance to investigate her complaints of shoddy maintenance, windows, wall cracks, and bedbugs.

Porter says she should have called long ago when a bad situation grew worse.

“When I moved in Timberland two years ago in A-12, I’d been having problems with mold, plumbing,” she explained, adding that she dealt with flooding and mold. “I’ve lost half of my belongings in A-12. So I got an emergency move in September 2018.”

Once she was moved into the new apartment, Porter said she discovered bedbugs were present.

“Last week of March, first week of April I saw bedbug activity. I was bitten up,” she said, adding, “When I reported it to the landlord, they sent the exterminator out, who confirmed it was bedbugs.”

Porter says there was a $750 fee attached to her rent payment for the bedbug treatment.

“I signed the promise to pay before I found out about the infestation. I was trying to do the right thing,” she said. “Never had a problem with rent. There were times they had to credit me because they were overcharging me from Section 8 and I had to go to my caseworker for her to clarify it.”

News 3 went to the leasing office to speak with someone to get answers. The current property manager at Timberland Apartments identified herself as Miss Sunny.

She declined an on-camera interview saying “no comment.” Miss Sunny cited tenant privacy issues as to why she could not talk to News 3 about Porter’s eviction.

Porter says this situation is taking a toll on two fronts.

“They’re not only retaliating, hurting me financially, they’re hurting me and my children emotionally,” she said, adding, “I lost everything and people know I work hard to get everything I had on my own…on my own and now we’re put out.”

Porter is now out of time to find a new home, but while it may be her first eviction, it’s not her first fight for something she believes is right.

“I fought my way through college. Four long years, for that special day to be taken away from me,” she said. “That’s not right and every time I go and talk to them they and they’re always making it like it’s my fault because I don’t know the codes, I don’t know what’s supposed to be what.  I don’t know what they can get away with.”

Porter says she did sign a promissory note to cover the eviction cost and that’s how the landlord won the case against her. She says she’s stepping forward to remind renters to be very mindful of all the language in the lease, or you could find yourself covering an expense you may not believe you’re responsible for.

Once the code compliance inspection is complete, Timberland Apartments will be notified of any violations found and given time to fix them.


Health Tip: Bed Bug Protection


May 20, 2019 

(HEALTHDAY NEWS) –BED bugs hitchhike from place to place by traveling on furniture, bedding, luggage and more. The small nuisances live on the blood of animals or humans and can be quite resilient, says the Environmental Protection Agency.

To help prevent bed bugs in your home, the EPA suggests:

  • Check secondhand furniture for bed bugs before bringing it home.
  • Use protective covers to encase mattresses and box springs.
  • Reduce clutter in your home to reduce hiding places.
  • Be vigilant when using shared laundry facilities.
  • Vacuum frequently.

Bed Bugs Don’t Need Beds, or Humans, to Survive. They Never Did…


The rise of bed bugs preceded modern humans by at least 100 million years. They survived the extinction that killed the dinosaurs. Could they outlive us all?

By Katherine J. Wu   May 16, 2019

Nova.jpgDon’t be fooled by their charming name: Bed bugs don’t need beds to set up shop. These intrepid insects will colonize pretty much any place where people pile up, including hotels, movie theaters, libraries, even the occasional subway—ready and waiting to ruin a human life with their bloodsucking mouthparts and death-defying durability.

It’s easy to dismiss bed bugs as loathsome pests that exist to make humans miserable. But in reality, bed bugs predate humans by leaps and bounds, making us the unwanted interlopers that first crossed into their turf.

According to a newly mapped bed bug family tree, these puny pests have been guzzling the blood of other animals for more than 100 million years, long before the rise of both modern humans and bats, their most common host. The research, published today in the journal Current Biology, shows that the bed bug timeline stretches further back than even the mass extinction that wiped out 75 percent of Earth’s plant and animal species, including all dinosaurs, 66 million years ago.

The surprising longevity of bed bugs means we’re no longer certain of the identity of these bloodthirsty buggers’ first host. But the study’s findings could still offer clues on how bed bugs once made the jump to humans, and if that transition will have an encore act in the future.

“Bed bugs didn’t evolve on humans,” says study author Michael Siva-Jothy, an entomologist and evolutionary biologist at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. “We just happen to be their current host at the moment—which means they’re very good at what they do.”

Bed bug bites are caused primarily by two species—Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus—which pierce human skin and drink blood with their sucking mouthparts. Luckily, neither is thought to transmit disease. Image Credit: smuay, iStock

The scourge of bed bugs on humankind is believed to stretch back to the very dawn of our species. But only three species—Cimex lectulariusCimex hemipterus, and, less commonly, Leptocimex boueti—routinely spend their nights supping on human blood. At least 100 other types of bed bugs exist worldwide, feeding mostly on bats and, to a lesser extent, birds, and researchers still don’t have a good understanding of these insects’ origins, and how species have split and diversified over time.

To generate a more complete bed bug catalog, an international team of scientists led by Klaus Reinhardt, a molecular and evolutionary biologist at the Dresden University of Technology in Germany, set out to amass insects from around the world.

A handful of specimens weren’t too hard to come by, arriving via the generosity of natural history museums, or scientific colleagues who had seen the team’s requests for help on Twitter. Collecting the lion’s share of the data, however, required some pretty gnarly field trips that featured amateur cliff scaling, treks through knee-deep guano, and hikes into remote mountaintop caves—all in search of nondescript insects just millimeters long.

In all, sample collection alone took the study’s 15 authors the better part of 15 years. But the result was an unprecedented collection of pristine bed bug DNA, representing 34 species hailing from 62 localities around the globe.

“It’s really difficult to collect these specimens,” says Christiane Weirauch, a systematic entomologist at the University of California, Riverside who was not involved in the study. “It’s just so cool that this team has pulled this together.”

By comparing DNA sequences across species, Reinhardt, Siva-Jothy, and their colleagues were able to trace the evolutionary relationships between the bed bugs they’d collected. The researchers then combined their data with evidence from known insect fossils to pinpoint when bed bug lineages had split in the past. And when the bed bug family tree was finally mapped, the team was met with a set of findings that flew in the face of almost everything they’d expected.

Because bats remain the most common host of bed bugs (technically, bat bugs) today, Siva-Jothy says, most researchers have assumed that the first bed bugs to scuttle the Earth also gorged on the blood of these winged mammals. Cozied up to cave-dwelling bats, bed bugs would’ve then had an easy time making the hop to our human ancestors seeking shelter some 2 million years ago, and evolved alongside the genus Homo ever since.

Neither of these theories panned out.

The researchers’ analysis now places the origin of bedbugs around 115 million years ago, during the Cretaceous—a whopping 30 to 50 million years before bats are believed to have come onto the scene. It’s not yet clear what species first drew the bed bug straw, but a good candidate might be a small, social, cave-dwelling mammal, Reinhardt says.

Others, however, aren’t ready to completely rule out bats, or at least an early bat-like ancestor. “The fossil records for [both bed bugs and mammals] are patchy…that makes it hard to make definitive statements,” says Jessica Ware, an entomologist and evolutionary biologist at Rutgers University who was not involved in the study. “It’s possible bats are older, and we’ve just underestimated.”

Some 70 more bed bug species have yet to be analyzed in this way, and the family tree could still change with the addition of new data, Ware says. “That being said, this is the first and maybe most comprehensive analysis people have done for [this group of insects].”

Regardless of where, and on whom, bed bugs got their start, it appears these insects were hardy enough to weather a mass extinction—and have remained alarmingly adaptable ever since. The researchers’ findings suggest that, throughout their evolutionary history, several bed bug species went from bothering bats to terrorizing birds and vice versa. Along the way, at least three species dipped their spindly legs into human stock. Surprisingly, all three species appear to have evolved independently, with each making a separate jump to human hosts.

In other words, we humans didn’t actually do much to shape the evolution of one of our most iconic pests, who were perfectly content binging on the blood of bats and birds. It just so happened that, when an unlucky member of the genus Homo stumbled onto their path, certain bed bugs were flexible enough to expand their palates.

Bat and bed bug - credit Mark Chappell, Univ Cailf, Riverside.jpg
Bats were once thought to be the first host of bed bugs. But a newly mapped family tree shows that bed bugs predate bats by 30 to 50 million years. Image Credit: Mark Chappell, University of California, Riverside

There’s even a chance another bed bug species might one day develop a taste for human blood, Reinhardt says (in fact, it might already be happening). Based on the historical data, these transitions happen roughly every half a million years.

But the more pressing concern might be the enemies we already know, Siva-Jothy says. “With human populations expanding, and our reliance on animals, and the way cities grow and communicate…there will be more opportunities for the species we’ve already got to become more widespread.”

Given the stubbornness of bed bug infestations, that’s not great news. It’s enough to make us wonder if bed bugs have the apocalyptic armor to outlive us all.

We might not have made our bed bugs. But we still have to lie with them.

Corpus Christi ISD fumigating bus after bed bug report


May 15, 2019  Veronica Flores

We contacted CCISD Office of Communications Director Leanne Libby said on May 6, one bed bug was found on a student’s backpack at an elementary school. Libby said no additional bed bugs were found.

CCISDbedbug1.jpgIn a statement today, CCISD said.

“In addition to notifying the county health department, the district notified parents and staff in the classroom where the single bug was found. As a precautionary measure, one school bus as well as one classroom received pest-control treatment.”


Woman warns about bed bug nightmare at Jacksonville motel

May 14, 2019    Crystal Bailey
A Jacksonville woman says she stayed at the Motel 6 on Dunn Avenue last weekend and had to take her kids to the hospital for bed bug bites right after her stay.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville woman says she stayed at the Motel 6 on Dunn Avenue last weekend and had to take her kids to the hospital right after her stay.

Cearia Washington-Sanders said she found bed bugs had bitten them, causing infection.

“It was a horrific experience,” she said.

Washington-Sanders checked into the Motel 6 on Dunn Avenue because the air conditioning at her house was broken.

She took her kids to the hospital with bites all over their arms, legs, and chest.

“They were just bitten up in a lot of different places,” Washington-Sanders said.

Documents from St. Vincent’s Medical Center show the bed bug bites caused infection. She said she had to throw away the clothes they brought to avoid spreading.

“It makes me never want to stay in any hotel again,” she said.

How can you detect if the hotel you’re staying at has bed bugs?

Before you book your next vacation, check out the Florida Department of Health’s website where you can search all the prior complaints and inspections at a hotel.

The Motel 6 on Dunn Avenue had 5 complaints in 2018. Their last inspection was in December.

None of their violations include bed bugs.

Paperwork shows Motel 6 managers refunded Washington the money she spent on the room.

The general manager at Motel 6 told First Coast News everything was taken care of. She showed us paperwork that they had Terminix come by the hotel. The report from Terminix said no bed bugs were found in Washington-Sanders room. However, previous invoices with Terminix show they treated at least three other rooms with bed bugs since April.

“Check for the signs of bed bugs,” said Washington-Sanders.

Make sure you pull the covers back when you go into a hotel room and check for any moving brown dots. If you start to feel uncomfortably itchy, don’t stay there.


Neurotoxic Organophosphate Chemicals in Your Mobile, Tablet, Laptop, Sofa, and Even Bed!


May 14, 2019  by Georgina Downs

Some people may have never heard the word ‘organophosphates’ to know what they are and what they do. Others may have only heard of organophosphates in relation to nerve agent chemical attacks – such as the one in Tokyo in 1995 where sarinwas released on three lines of the Tokyosubway during rush hour, killing 12 people, severely injuring 50 (some of whom later died), and causing vision problems for nearly 1,000 others.

All those who have suffered the adverse effects of organophosphates (OPs) from sheep dipping, agricultural pesticide spraying, contaminated air on planes, among other sources, will of course know only too well the health damage and devastation these chemicals cause.

Organophosphate chemicals are in fact among some of the most toxic in the world.

Indeed a brief glimpse into the history of organophosphates shows the true and deliberate toxic purpose of these chemicals. In 1937 the first OP compounds were synthesized by a group of German chemists. These very potent compounds were originally developed as ‘nerve gas’ chemical warfare agents for potential use during World War II.

After the war, in search of new outlets, these highly toxic compounds were then remanufactured as agricultural insecticides, and organophosphate pesticides continue to be used in many countries around the world.

“Deadly Poison”

OPs are cholinesterase inhibitors. They are highly toxic by all routes of exposure. Symptoms of OP poisoning include headaches, blurred vision, giddiness, pain, weakness, numbness, damage to memory, slurred speech, chest tightness, loss of coordination, uncontrolled urination, seizures, coma, and death due to respiratory failure and/or cardiac arrest.

Repeated or prolonged exposure to OPs may result in the same effects as acute exposure.

A Working Party in 1951 – that had been set up by the then UK Government – recommended that the container labels of organophosphate pesticides should be required to show the words “Deadly Poison” in large, clear type, along with a concise statement of the dangers and precautions to be taken, and antidotes where known.

There is no doubt that some OPs when mixed together can result in increased toxicity and synergistic effects. For example, the synergistic effects of mixtures of anticholinesterase pesticides have been described in the medical literature for over 50 years.

I have spent a number of decades researching the organophosphate group of chemicals, along with many other neurotoxic agricultural pesticides that have been permitted for over three quarters of a century – under successive UK Government sanction – to be sprayed on crop fields all over the UK, and with no protection at all for rural residents and communities.

Organophosphates contained in everyday products

However, there are even less well known uses of organophosphates, such as the widespread use of organophosphate flame retardants (OPFRs) in everyday products and devices, which    is – as with agricultural pesticide use – yet another astonishing public health scandal.

OPFRs have been increasingly used over the last few decades in countless products including electronic equipment such as laptops, tablets, mobile phones, TV’s, washing machines – indeed it is hard to think of any electronic equipment that doesn’t contain these highly toxic chemicals. Even many electrical cables also contain them!

They are also found in furnishings such as sofas and mattresses, carpets, curtains, building insulations, amongst many other consumer and domestic products. In fact the full list of items that these chemicals are contained in may never really be known such is the secrecy and lack of publicly available information surrounding their use in such everyday products.

It is not only that exposure to individual organophosphate flame retardants in products poses a health risk, but the fact that people will inevitably be exposed to cocktails of OPFRs, as well as other harmful chemicals, contained in such consumer products, in their air and surrounding environment (particularly if also living in the locality of pesticide sprayed crops)

Devices such as mobile phones and tablets are now part and parcel of everyday life for many, particularly the young who are more vulnerable to such exposures because their bodies cannot efficiently detoxify chemicals, as their organs are still growing and developing. Also when children are exposed at such a young age to such chemicals they will obviously have a longer lifetime to develop long-term effects after any exposure.

Blissfully unaware

The majority of the population will no doubt be blissfully unaware of the presence of such toxic OP chemicals in their everyday domestic products and devices. I know I most certainly was until the events of August 2009 which is when I first found out about it to my great cost.

In August 2009 I was exposed via various routes (in particular eyes, inhalation, dermal) to an organophosphate flame retardant – triaryl phosphate ester, containing triisopropylated phenyl phosphate and triphenyl phosphate – that volatilised from a faulty (and severely overheating) laptop. It was deemed a relatively high level exposure considering that an OP breakdown product was still found in my body fat almost 3 months later in blood and fat tests that were taken at a medical and scientific laboratory at the end of October 2009.

The extensive and subsequently confirmed impacts on my eyes as a result of the exposure causing pain in the eyes, light sensitivity, acute problems with glare, dry eyes, significant disturbances in the field of vision (which is like looking through debris with how many black lines etc. there are), have been permanent ever since. Also, at the time and for a few weeks after the exposure I also had pinpoint pupils (which is a common feature of OP poisoning).

When I was trying to find out at the time what had happened to my eyes I asked the laptop manufacturer (Dell) to send me the material data sheet for the organophosphate flame retardant involved. I was met with the usual “commercial confidentiality” line but persevered to try and access this vital information.

Toxic to eyes, central nervous system, liver, kidney and linked to cancer!

When I eventually obtained it – after 8 weeks or so of dogged persistence on my part – I was truly shocked to see the clear warnings that the target organ for the OP flame retardant was the eyes, in addition to the central nervous system. Further, that it is a liver and kidney toxin and there is even a line at the bottom of the data sheet relating to cancer also! In addition the data sheet clearly includes “heat” in the “conditions to avoid”. Yet laptops are products that – even when they are not faulty – will notoriously get hot and overheat in many cases.

There is no doubt that most people will not be aware that such eye toxic organophosphorus chemicals are used in electronic products that are specifically designed to be used only inches away from someone’s eyes!  Yet, as said, many electronic products and devices manufactured over the last few decades now contain organophosphate flame retardants.

If someone like me who has spent a number of decades researching the organophosphate group of chemicals – and who only weeks before the incident had written a document detailing the extensive evidence of the damage OP pesticides can cause to human health – had no idea they were present in laptops and other electronic equipment until after my eyes had been affected and I started to investigate exactly what had happened to them, then it is highly unlikely that members of the public in general will know about this issue.

Pre-existing adverse health impacts from agricultural pesticides, including OPs

I have already had over 34 years of exposure to the innumerable cocktails of agricultural pesticides sprayed in the locality of my home and garden and that included organophosphates. Previous blood and fat sample results in 2004 had found a number of different agricultural pesticide groups in my body including organophosphates, carbamates, pyrethroids, organochlorines, amongst others. Such pesticide groups individually are known to be neurotoxic and capable of damaging the central nervous system, as well as other systems within the body, even before considering the enhanced toxicity and synergistic effects of such mixtures of these synthetic chemicals.

Following the blood and fat results in 2004, my chronic neurological symptoms of many years (including headaches, dizziness, giddiness, as well as periods of high speed rotational vertigo with a complete loss of all balance and co-ordination, tinnitus, memory and concentration problems, numbness and tingling, amongst various other symptoms) were confirmed by experts as being neurological damage and injury as a result of exposure to all the neurotoxic pesticides sprayed for decades in my locality.

Previous scans also confirmed that I have osteoporosis with a high risk of fracture. There have been a number of studies that have found that pesticides – in particular organophosphates – can cause impacts on bones leading to osteoporosis. (Eg. see one such study published in 1999 in the Lancet, “Reduced bone formationafter exposure to organophosphates,”  by JE Compston, S Vedi, AB Stephen, S Bord, AR Lyons, SJ Hodges, BE Scammell).

However, the one area in which I had nothad any long term impacts from agricultural pesticides was the eyes, as I had only ever had acute short-term effects on the eyes following crop spraying exposures such as burning and bloodshot eyes. Therefore to have suffered long term impacts on my eyes from exposure to OPs from a different source – and when I didn’t even know anything about OP flame retardants until after the impacts – was extremely difficult and distressing, especially as the effects on my eyes has also drastically changed my appearance over the last 10 years as a result of having to wear dark glasses due to the light sensitivity and acute problems with glare, particularly in relation to UV light.

UK Environmental Audit Committee inquiry

I have not previously spoken publicly about what happened to my eyes, but decided to at this time after seeing an inquiry being undertaken by the Environmental Audit Committee called Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Life”, and which has a specific focus on flame retardants.

This has given me the opportunity to be able to say something on this subject now in order to highlight the risks of the presence of organophosphate flame retardants in countless everyday domestic products including electronic equipment, furnishings, among other items

As said, the fact that toxic chemicals known to be harmful to the eyes are put in products that are specifically designed to be used right next to someone’s eyes is just outrageous.

Further, OPFRs are often odourless which takes away the clear warning mechanism, as when a strong chemical odour is detected it raises awareness of a likely chemical release, but in the total absence of it someone may not realise the symptoms being suffered are as a result of exposure to a such a chemical, as was the situation in my own specific case.

Obviously the fundamental point is that these highly toxic chemicals should not be present in such products in the first place, irrespective as to whether there is odour or not!

Virtually zero traceability

One article on organophosphate flame retardants points out that more needs to be disclosed about where and in what quantities such flame retardants are being used. It goes on to state that manufacturers don’t make that information publicly available and thatthey may not even know themselves as they buy things to meet certain flammability standards not necessarily knowing what chemicals are used to meet those standards.

I can vouch that this is absolutely the case here in the UK also and is often compounded by the fact that manufacturers of computers, washing machines, and other electronic equipment can often use parts produced by other companies within such products. This means there is virtually zero traceability for knowing what chemicals are contained in those parts if the manufacturers of a particular product don’t even know!

For example, when I was previously researching about certain electronic equipment and what chemicals were involved in the manufacture of them, I was often told by manufacturers that they would not know when it came to the specific parts that were included within the product as they came from other manufacturers and were then just inserted in. The lack of traceability of all the chemicals contained in products is thus truly shocking!

Following the impacts on my eyes from exposure to the OP flame retardantin August 2009, my eyes would be affected and made worse by any subsequent OPFR exposure. I was therefore conscious to try and ensure that I did not purchase products containing OPFRs.

False claims that products are ‘chemical free’

However, this is easier said than done as firstly so much electronic equipment does contain OPFRs and secondly because manufacturers can deny using these chemicals and can claim they are chemical free even when they are not. For example,I remember when I was trying to find a washing machine that did not contain OP flame retardants. One manufacturer repeatedly insisted that not only did it not contain OPFRs but that it didn’t contain any flame retardants at all! Although I was dubious at such a claim, considering the amount of times they insisted this was the case and also considering – at the time – that I was new to my research in this area then I reluctantly accepted what they told me. I purchased said washing machine and on the first run through, and on a hot wash of 900as it advised to do (and which results in even further volatilisation of any impregnated chemicals), my eyes were so badly affected by it that I had to stay out of the room that the washing machine was in. My eyes continued to be made worse each time the washing machine was used and so I started to question the manufacturer again about whether it contained OP flame retardants as I strongly suspected it did considering the worsening of my eye symptoms when in use.

After attempting to fob me off multiple times by either denying OP flame retardants were present in the washing machine and/or not replying at all, I eventually after 5 or so months of persevering received correspondence confirming that the washing machine did indeed contain organophosphate flame retardants! It is wholly unacceptable that members of the public, especially those who already have a history of chemical exposure and related adverse health impacts, are not provided with the correct information on what chemicals are present in any given product prior to the purchase of such a product.

Full disclosure

There is a notable comparison to be made here. If this had been a peanut or other food allergy where something had been said to not contain something that greatly affected the consumer and then it turned out that it did, there would be some sort of action taken to enforce food retailers to inform customers of the contents of any food produce before purchase, (or at least that was the intention of something that was going through the UK Parliament recently following the high profile deaths of a number of allergy sufferers).

Obviously we are talking here about exposure to neurotoxic chemicals and yet manufacturers of electronic equipment are not only misinforming customers about what such products contain as my experiences show, but when adverse effects are reported it then takes many months to obtain the vital chemical information, if actually able to access it at all!

For example, the representative of the washing machine manufacturers also said – in the same letter that confirmed that the washing machine did indeed contain organophosphate flame retardants -that the company “cannot make a complete list of all chemicals available for you”nor provide me with any specific written documentation, “as you may appreciate the details which we hold are of commercial sensitivity and therefore the discussion would need to be held face to face as we would not agree to publish this information.”

As said earlier, the full list of chemicals contained in any one product, let alone all the products that such chemicals are contained in, may never really be known if the secrecy and lack of publicly available information continues. The business and industry mantra of “commercial confidentiality” or “commercial sensitivity” simply has no place when it comes to the use of such harmful chemicals in our everyday products and everyday life.

Action on flame retardants

There is a considerable body of scientific evidence to support action on the widespread and increasing use of, not only organophosphate flame retardants, but all synthetic chemical flame retardants, for the protection of human health and the environment.

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) inquiry examining this issue has received evidence from others to show examples of non-chemical alternatives to chemical flame retardants.

Further, the presence of synthetic chemical flame retardants not only does not of course prevent fires from occurring, it can actually greatly increase the toxicity of such fires.

Here’s hoping the current EAC inquiry will lead to more awareness on flame retardants – and their increasing use in our everyday lives – as it is such a vitally important public health issue.

To see Georgina’s written evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee inquiry see here

The first part of the submission is specifically on the widespread use of organophosphate flame retardants (OPFRs) in everyday products. The second part of the submission contains a short overview to update on the latest developments regarding the adverse health impacts of agricultural pesticides on rural residents and communities, the continued lack of action by the UK Government on this public health scandal and the measures that are needed to finally provide the high level of protection for rural citizens, including the crucial NC10 amendment.

Georgina Downs is a journalist and campaigner. She has lived next to regularly sprayed crop fields in the UK for more than 30 years and runs the UK Pesticides Campaign 


‘Kissing Bug’ Defecates In Face, Causes Heart Failure – Found Near NJ

by Emilyn Gil   May 13, 2019   Healthy Holistic Living

You would think an insect called the “kissing bug” would be something sweet and harmless, such as a tender ladybug or a darling butterfly. Actually, it’s a nasty beetle with a vicious parasite that infects a horrible disease into its victims during the night. It’s definitely not a bug you want to smooch or find in close proximity. Unfortunately, the kissing bug is migrating across the United States even as far north as New Jersey.

Kissing-bug-728x381Meet The Kissing Bug

The kissing bug (or triatomine bug) is an insect that can carry the Trypanosoma cruziparasite, which causes Chagas disease. These bugs are usually about an inch in length with a large, almost diamond-like body and a small, cone-shaped head. Their most common feature is a band around the outer edge of their body with small orange or red stripes. (1, 2)

Kissing bugs feed on animal and human blood and are most active during the night. They are called kissing bugs because they will generally bite around the eyes and mouth. I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely getting some serious vampire vibes here, and there’s nothing romantic about it. (2)

Places To Expect The Kissing Bug

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the kissing bug is typically found in South America, Central America, Mexico, and 28 of the United States. Dr. Vivian Bellofatto of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School has studied the kissing bug for decades. She reports that while the kissing bug was previously only found in Texas and California, people have found kissing bugs as far north as Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey as temperatures rise in those areas. (3)

Experts found that kissing bugs rarely enter modern houses and apartments, due to the sealed entryways and plastered walls built for insect prevention. However, rural areas or campgrounds have a higher risk. Kissing bugs are most commonly found in the following areas:

  • Under cement
  • In piles of rock, wood, brush, or bark
  • In chicken coops
  • Near rodent nests or animal burrows
  • In outdoor dog houses
  • Beneath porches (1)

Signs You’ve Been Bitten By A Kissing Bug

The signs of Chagas disease occur in two parts – an acute phase, and a chronic phase. The acute phase is difficult to detect because some people won’t show any signs or symptoms. Additionally, if symptoms do appear, are also common for many other types of illnesses. The acute phase generally lasts a few weeks to a few months following infection. If you do suspect a kissing bug bite, you should watch out for these signs:

  • Swelling near your eyes
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

The chronic phase symptoms may not appear until up to two years following infection. These include:

  • Enlarged heart
  • Heart failure
  • Altered heart rate or rhythm
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Enlarged esophagus or colon
  • Difficulties eating or defecating (4)


What To Do If You Find A Kissing Bug Or A Bite

If you see a kissing bug or even have a sneaking suspicion that a critter might be the kissing bug your first instinct will probably be to take a shoe to that sucker. But it’s very important that you do not touch or squash it. Instead, place a jar or other container over the bug and slide the lid underneath to catch it. Then take the little guy to your local health department or university laboratory so they can properly identify it. (1, 2)

If you think you have been bitten by the kissing bug the best course of action is to seek medical help. Call your doctor as soon as possible for testing. He will either perform the tests himself or recommend you to a specialist. The quicker you act, the better chance you have of successful treatment. (1, 4)

No Kissing Allowed

Kissing bugs that is. Don’t worry, Chagas disease is not transmitted from person-to-person like a cold or the flu or through casual contact with infected people or animals. Even still, just talking about this bug gives me the creepy-crawlies! But no matter how unpleasant it is, it’s important to be aware and prepared. Learn to recognize a kissing bug if you see one, keep an empty jar handy, and resist the urge to throw your shoe. Remember, taking quick and careful action in a moment of panic could prevent you from acquiring serious heart trouble in the long run.

Rat poison is killing California’s mountain lions. We need to act!

Rats multiply by the millions, transmit horrible diseases and are just about the last thing you’d want to see in your kitchen, attic, garage or office. Densely populated cities with steady supplies of trash are havens for rats. Los Angeles City Hall had an infestation so bad that officials considered ripping up all the carpeting. Exterminating rats is big business.

But the war on rats has caused some alarming collateral damage: the poisoning of wildlife.


National Park Service researchers discovered a litter of four mountain lion kittens in a remote area of the Santa Monica Mountains in Aug. 2018. (National Park Service)

Numerous chemical pesticides are used to kill rats, the most toxic and fastest-acting being second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides. A rat ingests this type of chemical and bleeds to death. One helping of the poison is enough to kill it, but the toxin lives on for months. So there lies the rat, dead, or dying and lethargic, easy prey for numerous predators and scavengers. The animal that ingests the rat then dies from the poison that’s still in its system. And when that animal dies, the poison it ingested can kill the next animal that eats it. Even when the residual pesticide doesn’t kill, it can severely weaken an animal, leaving it to succumb to other problems.

Getting these poisons away from wildlife can’t wait some unspecified amount of time for an agency evaluation.

This devastating cycle of pass-along poisoning has injured or killed hundreds, possibly thousands, of pets and wild animals throughout California, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife says. That tally of poisoned wildlife includes eagles, great-horned owls, coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions and the federally endangered San Joaquin kit fox. To reduce the number of wildlife deaths, the state’s Department of Pesticide Regulation banned the sale and use of the second-generation pesticides among consumers in 2014, restricting them to licensed commercial exterminators. The state left first-generation anticoagulants on the market; they are toxic but not as lethal to wildlife as the second-generation poisons.

But the 2014 consumer ban hasn’t stopped the wild animals we treasure from dying of the poisons targeted at pests we despise. Last year, the Department of Pesticide Regulation released an analysis of 11 wildlife studies showing evidence of the poison in 88% of the bobcats tested and more than 90% of tested mountain lions. And the Department of Fish and Wildlife found that 63 out of 68 dead mountain lions tested from 2015 to 2016 had second-generation poisons in their systems.

These pesticides have been a scourge to the small cache of mountain lions trying to survive the urban obstacle course of Los Angeles. In March, the 3-year-old P-47, who at 150 pounds was one of the largest of the L.A. mountain lions being studied by the National Park Service, was found dead. A necropsy revealed internal bleeding in his head and lungs and a cocktail of six different first- and second-generation anticoagulant poisons in his system. The roughly 10-year-old P-41 was found dead from unknown causes in late 2017, also with a mix of first- and second-generation rat poisons in his system. The park service has confirmed that four mountain lions have died of rat poisoning since the agency’s study started in 2002. All told, anticoagulant rodenticide compounds were present in 21 out of 22 local mountain lions that were tested by the park service after they died. The pesticide can also leave the big cats with mange, as Griffith Park’s P-22 experienced. (He recovered from it.)

The state Assembly just passed a bill that aims to stop these pass-along poisonings. Assembly Bill 1788, the California Ecosystems Protection Act, would ban the use of these dangerous second-generation anticoagulants except in agricultural settings (such as food storage warehouses, slaughterhouses, canneries and wineries). Written by Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) and sponsored by a coalition of wildlife protection groups, the bill is a smart way to tackle this problem. It bans only the most dangerous poisons that have been shown to be so lethal to wildlife, leaving plenty of other pesticides for exterminators and homeowners to use. First-generation anticoagulants, which have not been shown to be as definitively lethal to animals but are still a danger to wildlife, would be prohibited on state-owned lands.

Notably, the bill would allow the use of the prohibited second-generation pesticides in public health emergencies.

The bill is opposed by trade groups for pest control companies and other business groups, which want the Legislature to hold off until the Department of Pesticide Regulation finishes its planned reevaluation of second-generation rodenticides. But getting these poisons away from wildlife can’t wait some unspecified amount of time for an agency evaluation. This bill should be passed now and then signed into law.


Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety

Bed Bug Blog Report

Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety

Bed Bug Blog

Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety

Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety