Vikane is commonly used for “tenting” houses to kill pests.
Vikane is the trade name for sulfuryl fluoride gas. Vikane is extremely hazardous and carries the skull + crossbones poison label. A few attributes include
- Colorless and odorless
- 0.2% of the product is impurities, the other 98.8% is pure sulfuryl fluoride
- Bed rest and observation for at least 24 hours after exposure
- Predicted that humans exposed to Vikane will show little evidence to begin with
- Respiratory irritation and CNS depression may occur first
- Excitation may then appear, followed by loss of motor control and cognition
- Severe exposure (>400 ppm) or repeated lower exposure can cause significant organ damage
- Convulsions and respiratory arrest can be the terminating event
- Prediction of human effects is based in part on observations made about animals
- LD50 for ingestion by rats is 100 mg/kg (100 ppm)
- LC50 for 4-hour inhalation by rats is ~1000 ppm
- Hydrolysis half-life can range from 20 minutes to 3 days
Dow's own research on rat metabolism suggests that Vikane is hydrolyzed to fluorosulfate, with release of fluoride, followed by further hydrolysis to sulfate and release of the remaining fluoride.
Fluoride by itself is neurotoxic but also is synergistically toxic with a great many chemicals.
These studies observe that fluoride toxicity is a primary mode of injury from Vikane.
This research points towards Vikane's synergicity with organophosphates to induce delayed polyneuropathy, a disease in which peripheral nerves throughout the body malfunction simultaneously.
Here is a case study about a couple who died after their home was fumigated with Vikane.
Were they on medications that led to a more severe reaction?
Did they eat something excitotoxic for dinner, thus triggering a more severe cascade?
Were they genetically predisposed to greater susceptibility?
Were their toxic body burdens already at the tipping point?
This earlier study (1986) observed that repeated Vikane exposure by fumigant workers resulted in a high number of symptoms with greater severity than methyl bromide (which was banned in the US in 2005).
There is no known antidote for sulfuryl fluoride poisoning.
A "warning agent" is used with Vikane because it is colorless and odorless.
However, the warning agent itself is dangerous.
Chloropicrin (trichloronitromethane) is an active ingredient in tear gas and appears on Schedule 3 of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Chloropicrin is extremely hazardous and carries the skull + crossbones poison label.
A few attributes include
- Painful irritation of the eyes at 1 ppm or less
- A concentration of 15 ppm for more than 1 minute is intolerable to humans
- Brief inhalation exposure (minutes) to easily attainable concentration levels can result in serious adverse affects, including death
- Extremely corrosive and can cause severe burns
- Can be fatal if absorbed through skin (or swallowed)
- LD50 for skin absorption in rabbits is 62 mg/kg (62 ppm)
- Inadequate cancer info
- Mutagenic to bacteria but other info indeterminate
- Half-life is ~ 5 hours but varies based on conditions
Chloropicrin inhibits mitochondrial function (pyruvate dehydrogenase complex) which disrupts energy production and Kreb's Cycle.
Exposure to chloropicrin appears to elevate creatine phosphokinase (CK) levels which may in turn be an indication of the breakdown of muscle fibers resulting in the release of muscle fiber contents into the circulation (rhabdomyolysis).
Some of these breakdown products are toxic to the kidney and frequently result in kidney damage.
This article relates how 165 persons experienced symptoms consistent with chloropicrin exposure when the chemical drifted after it was applied as a soil fumigant in Kern County, CA.
In conjunction with this episode in Ceres, CA it becomes evident that chemically sensitive individuals residing in homes nearby any structure that is "tented" are justified in being concerned.
Typical chloropicrin has 4% containing trace H2O and HCl, the other 96% is pure.
Chloropicrin decomposes into highly toxic phosgene (aka carbonyl chloride), toxic nitrosyl chloride and toxic nitrogen oxide.
Hazards of phosgene include
- Toxic at concentrations below 1 ppm
- Symptoms may be immediate or delayed
- Lethal concentrations may be inhaled without warning symptoms
- LC50 for humans is estimated to be 1 minute @ 500 ppm
- Inhalation can immediately trigger choking, coughing, chest tightness, short breath, painful breathing, watery eyes
- Pulmonary edema, lung congestion and asphyxiation might not arise until 2-24 hours after overexposure
- Coughing, bloody sputum and general malaise may persist for several months
- Lung disease and emphysema may persist indefinitely
Phosgene decomposes further into other toxic compounds in the presence of water.
Chloropicrin is a by-product of treated drinking water.
Inhalation risks are higher for children.
Children inhale a proportionately greater concentration because of their smaller size.
Try Chapter 36 on Stephen Tvedten's site about alternatives for termite control.
Thermal pest eradication — the use of heat treatment — can also be a practical solution.
Cencal is an example.