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It was removed from usage in the early 2000’s after it was discovered that the methyl bromide gas was very harmful to the earth’s atmosphere and so an industry wide phasing out of the chemical began. Because of this, it is no longer in use today by pest control companies and it would be rare to find one who offered such as treatment. It’s replacement Sulfuryl Bromide (commmonly sold as Vikane gas) was believed to be much more environmentally friendly, however recent research suggests that sulfuryl bromide may also be very harmful to the earth’s atmosphere.
Methyl bromide is also a highly toxic chemical that is known to cause serious damage to the health of those who are exposed to it for long periods of time. Side effects include nausea, fatigue, mental impairment and other neurological effects.
Not only was methyl bromide used extensively as a pest control fumigant but it’s use was also widespread amongst the agricultural industry, particularly used in soil sterilisation often in the form of a herbicide. This usage in the agricultural industry occurred most frequently in the Europe and North America.
What happened to the poisonous Methly Bromide?
Methyl Bromide was phased out of usage after the 1987 Montreal Protocol that set out international laws aimed at reducing the amount of ozone depleting greenhouse gases. Because of this most countries no longer use the gas, however there are some exceptions to these rules.
In 2004 in the United States, 7 million pounds of methyl bromide were used in California under the “critical use” clause so that they could be used in vegetable growing. The country of Chile still has yet to phase out it’s agricultural use, though it plans to do so in the near future. Also, New Zealand continues to use methyl bromide as a fumigant in treating some of it’s woods for export.
If you’re reading this and are thinking about using methyl bromide as a fumigant to treat termites then I strongly recommend you consider some of the methly bromide alternatives. First of all, if you’re considering a fumigation with methyl bromide then you maybe only able to use sulfuryl fluoride, as methyl bromide is banned in most developed countries.
Secondly, consider using a thermal treatment process. Large amounts of hot air will be blasted into your house – this is used to eliminate mostly drywood termites that have infested your home. If however subterranean termites are the problem then think about using a baiting system. This will work by spreading the bait/poison throughout the tunnels and colonies of the termites. There are also many natural and organic solutions to termite problems.
So in summary, methyl bromide has many negative effects which can harm both yourself and the environment. Because of this, it is much better to use one of the alternatives to methyl bromide for treating termites.