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Delaware Healthy Homes

Inside Healthy Homes - Mothballs

What is the danger?

Mothballs often contain a chemical called para-dichlorobenzene. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, this chemical can cause headaches, swollen eyes, loss of appetite, nose and throat irritations and even cancer. When you inhale and are able to smell that "mothball odor", you are actually inhaling small amounts of the chemical. Additionally, mothballs pose a poison risk if you have small children in the house.

What you can do...

To prevent moth damage and freshen air, use cedar chips, cedar blocks, dried lavender and whole peppercorns. Consider using air tight containers for storage. (Note: Cedar chips must be sanded every year or refreshed with cedar oil to increase the odor they give off. For cedar-lined chests and closets, a fresh treatment of cedar oil should be applied every two years.)

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Mothballs are classified as a pesticide.


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