Chemical burnout and the death of Pot Pourri

This post will be shorter than the last few. I promise. But first, click here to watch a commercial. My wife and I went as chemical-free as we could about a year ago. No more non-organic dishwasher powder, sunscreen, laundry detergents, cleaning sprays etc. (Shampoos and deodorants are not so easy to switch away from, but that’s all for another blog.) But lately I am increasingly worried about chemicals in the home and how many people are wilfully ignorant as companies continue pushing even more audacious concoctions.

This all started for me when I saw an ad for ANT SAND. This is a product you throw around your backyard like confetti (imagine you were having a wedding, for ants) and it will eradicate all ants within five metres. (A tragic wedding massacre, did i mention?) So, really, Ant Sand is like a granule form of Ant Rid.

Tried that? It does wonders. How? Arsenic.

Go on! Spread arsenic around the house!
Go on! Spread
arsenic around the house!

This chemical wants to be spread pretty much anywhere you or kids like going; “just sprinkle Ant Sand in cracks and crevices, in between pavers, on lawns…” See more Are people really developing such a fear of natural life in urban areas that they must destroy all evidence? This Ant Sand is like fly spray that is so toxic you just spray it on a surface and small insect that comes near will miraculously drop dead. Oh, they have that? If you go outside people, you might expect an occasional arachnid, buzzard or airborne thingamajig. A swipe of the face usually deals with it. No need to poison yourselves, your visitors and your children, is there?

Then, this week I came across the next insidious invention from those great unsung heroes, industrial chemists. How about an insect spray for the outdoors – and this is no Aerogard, you don’t want to get me started on suspect repellents we are supposed to lather onto our bodies – this great new product just keeps spraying and killing and spraying and killing!



Now, RAID®, bless them, have had ‘Automatic Insect Control Systems’ for some time. In their words, it “uses a “unique automatic dispenser uses advanced MicroMist™ technology which creates a mist of incredibly fine micro particles to eliminate insects. Because it’s a mist, not a spray, it stays in the air longer, and is more easily spread throughout your whole room.” They literally call it ‘set and forget’. That will seem ironic when later on you get Alzheimer’s for some unknown reason. What a joyous land of fresh-aired achievement we live in. Why would I want to breathe in air when a lab can produce something that can kill any small living thing and allow me to keep breathing too!


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But why not take this genius outside? Don’t worry, they have. Introducing NaturGard.

  • The Naturgard Automatic Outdoor Insect Control System provides outdoor protection against flies and
    mosquitoes when used continuously
  • Protects a sheltered outdoor area of 5m x 5m
  • Automatically releases small bursts of mist containing natural pyrethrin plant extracts** at regular intervals.
  • Adjustable setting which allows you to regulate the timing depending on your conditions

Jamie Durie would be so happy to know his Outdoor Room wasn’t going to be tainted by anything actually typical of the outdoors, like evil flies.

The chemical mentioned – pyrethrin – is the insecticide you can’t spray on herbs you are planning on eating because it will
make you sick. But don’t let that worry you. Mortein make NaturGard, but they have competition. Here’s how one company, the reliably named DoItTV describe the effects their product has on its target: “This spray not only kills when you spray directly onto the insect but it also leaves an invisible residue on surfaces which is fatal to any bug or insect that comes into contact with it. And it keeps on killing for months without having to reapply.” Months! I can have my backyard infected, sorry, protected, for months with just one spray. And if kids come over and eat dirt, lick a leaf, or touch a piece of decking have sprayed… well… that will be fine because I am sure it’s only microtraces that are just enough to kill hardy cockroaches on contact.

Why care about these chemicals when clearly people are living longer lives? While many chemicals may be absorbed into our system without ongoing harm, many cancers continue to claim people at all stage of life with no known cause. Afflictions including depression and ADHD are on the rise, and few people stop to think if choices to live in a mist of chemicals could have an impact on the chemicals in their brain. (This point, obviously needs more probing.)

Lastly, can I recommend a bit of subterfuge. No one will complain if you quietly disconnect the deodorising spray you may have in your office bathroom. These, like innocent old oil burners, spread sweet-smelling fragrances that you then breathe in all day.

It’s less than smart, masking odours by getting you to breathe in carcinogens that smell only slightly better.

Not everything should be an easy fix. But it can be without being so harmful.

What ever happened to a bowl of Pot Pourri?

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