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Should I keep Naphthalene balls in my kitchen?

Naphthalene balls, Camphor, Mothballs

Is an overpowering chemical smell invading the airspace of your home? One of the most notorious pesticides used in homes, and one that has been used for decades, is naphthalene balls also known as mothballs or camphor. These classified pesticides are commonly used in homes to control moths, silverfish and other fiber pests in wool and other natural fiber garments and materials. These regulated pesticides can cause quite a mess in your home, such as affecting indoor air quality, affecting the health of occupants exposed to these mothball chemicals in the air, and even the odor released into the air by the use of mothballs in a home.

When the cold season is over, you wash your favorite woolens, pack them up and tuck them away in the back of your closet to forget about them until next winter. But the next time you pull out your favorite cashmere or trendy wool sweater, you discover, to your horror, that the garments have been chewed through and you have a closet with winter clothes that are full of holes. This devastating situation is caused by moths, or more precisely, moth larvae.

Should I keep Naphthalene balls in my kitchen?
Should I keep Naphthalene balls in my kitchen?

Although it is commonly believed that moths destroy clothing, it is actually their slimy larvae that eat their way through your woolens. Adult moths cannot eat through clothing because they do not have mouths. The only time moths have a mouth during their developmental stage is when they are still larvae.

When an adult female moth enters your clothing, she will lay a lot of fertilized eggs, between 50 to 1000, on your clothing. Because moths have a specialized diet, female moths usually seek out clothing that are made of animal fibers such as silk, angora, fur, wool or other materials that contain keratin.

Naphthalene Balls in fabric
Naphthalene Balls in fabric

Keratin is an animal protein fiber that is also found in hair and skin. Keratin is important for the growth of moth larvae. Moth larvae generally avoid synthetic or vegetable materials unless they are mixed with animal fibers. Purely vegetable fabrics or synthetic fabrics lack proteins and are therefore of no interest to moth larvae. Female moths prefer the dark depths of closets, where they can lay their eggs undisturbed on a suitable article of clothing, which provides food for the growing larvae.

Naphthalene balls or moth balls are small spherical white balls made of camphor and the pesticide Naphthalene. These balls are often used to store woolen or silk garments to protect them from moths and moth larvae. The insecticide in the moth balls evaporates at room temperature and kills the Larvae that hatch from moth eggs. Naphthalene balls are also commonly used in urinals or bathrooms to kill/repel cockroaches and other pests.

Mothballs in Fabrics
Mothballs in Fabrics

Naphthalene balls can also act as a deodorant in urinals and help neutralize strong urine odors. But despite its many uses, the fumes from Naphthalene beads are quite harmful. The chemical is not only toxic, but also carcinogenic. It poses other health hazards, ranging from nausea and headaches to damaged blood cells.

Should I keep Naphthalene balls in my kitchen?

Naphthalene balls should not be used near food or food preparation areas. Mothballs should only be used in airtight containers. Gases are formed that kill insects that feed on natural fibers. These gases may pose a hazard to humans or pets if used improperly.

Naphthalene balls, Camphor, or Mothballs
Naphthalene balls, Camphor, or Mothballs

Is naphthalene toxic to humans?

Acute (short-term) exposure of humans to naphthalene by inhalation, ingestion, and skin contact has been associated with hemolytic anemia, liver damage, and neurological damage. Cataracts have also been reported in workers acutely exposed to naphthalene by inhalation and ingestion.

Can you sleep in a room with naphthalene balls/mothballs?

The answer to this question is YES. But according to the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC), the chemicals used in mothballs can be toxic to humans and pets, and people are exposed to these chemicals, which are released as toxic fumes into the indoor air of the home.

Naphthalene balls, Camphor, or Mothballs
Naphthalene balls, Camphor, or Mothballs

How does naphthalene ball kill cockroaches?

When cockroaches approach them, their airways are blocked by the strong smell of naphthalene, and they have difficulty breathing.

Most cockroaches back away from the smell of the naphthalene balls, and in rare cases, some cockroaches affected by the smell die because they can no longer breath.

Can naphthalene balls keep rats away?

That mothballs deter mice and rats is a common misconception. naphthalene balls contain a small amount of naphthalene and can be a deterrent in large quantities, but they are not strong enough to drive away mice and rodents.

Should I keep Naphthalene balls in my kitchen?
Should I keep Naphthalene balls in my kitchen?

What are the benefits of naphthalene balls?

Naphthalene balls, camphor or mothballs are pesticides designed to kill clothing moths and other fabric pests. Mothballs are usually labeled to be stored in a tightly sealed container to prevent the pesticide vapors from accumulating in living spaces where people and pets can inhale them over an extended period of time.

Can mothballs cause cancer?

Chemical compounds in household products such as Naphthalene balls, camphor or mothballs and air fresheners may cause cancer by blocking the normal process of “cell suicide” in living organisms. This is according to a new study conducted by the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Moth balls in the glass over the sackcloth
Moth balls in the glass over the sackcloth.

In summary, when used carefully, naphthalene can be very effective in protecting clothing and shelfs from pests.

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