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Note from Howard JAN/FEB

January - February 2009 . Volume 1 . Number 7
It's time that I make myself very clear on the subject of pyrethrum and PBO. Pyrethrum is a natural material made from the painted daisy (Chrysanthemum
cinerariaefolium or Chrysanthemum coccineum)
. Pyrethrins are the six compounds in pyrethrum that have insecticidal power.
I've been concerned about the misuse of pyrethrum products for some time, and I have never recommended a pyrethrum product that contains other toxic materials. One of the common extra ingredients is PBO, which is a synthetic synergist that gives the basic insecticide more killing power.
As you can read in the Journal of Pesticide Reform (Vol. 22, No. 1), published by the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, there are scary facets to pyrethrum. The journal says that in laboratory tests, insecticides made from pyrethrum have caused tumors in animals, increased the risk of leukemia, disrupted the normal function of sex
hormones, and triggered allergic reactions including heart attack and asthma (see
Because of a recent surge of interest in using pyrethrum for mosquito control, I feel that I need to make my warnings stronger. Pyrethrum and related products are neurotoxins. These days, they are being recommended for use as safe, natural insecticides. The concept of the backyard mosquito mist system in which they are being used is good, but cedar or other biological products should be used instead of neurotoxins. The alternatives work as well, but they don't kill beneficial insects and are considerably less toxic.
In addition, some consultants and quite a few stores and contractors are selling and using combination pyrethrum/diatomaceous earth/PBO products. This concerns me because they are promoting these

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