Better living through chemistry (not) …

or “Look what I found in Dad’s garage!”Chlordane front label 02

If you live long enough, especially in recent decades, the world moves out from under your feet and a new one slips into place. My grandmother knew how to make fried chicken, starting by catching a hen in the back yard and wringing its neck. Mother played with little droplets of mercury brought home by Grandaddy the chemist. Did you know you can turn a gold ring silver by putting mercury on it? Cool! The color lasts until the mercury rubs off, on your skin of course. I remember adding freon to a ’74 Mustang by hooking up hoses and setting the can in a pan of hot water out in the driveway where the gas could fly away to widen the nearest hole in the ozone layer. What? It was fun to feel how cold the can got.

Nowadays folks buy boxes of ladybugs to eat aphids in their gardens, rather than seasoning the leaves with Sevin Dust. Maybe you, dear reader, wouldn’t dream of using chemicals in your yard, but recent generations were happy to use the little gem below — the best thing ever for killing termites. Take a gander at this bottle of sure-fire pest control.

vcm_s_kf_repr_355x480Chlordane by Green Light

Directions for Use [excerpts]
Regular Mixture: 8 ounces per 25 gallons of water or 1 tablespoon per 1½ gallons of water.

LAWN PESTS: For ants, sod webworms, fall armyworms, crickets, mole crickets, tarantulas, scorpions, fleas, chiggers, wood ticks, sow bugs, spray regular mixture at the rate of 1 gallon per 100 square feet. Do not water lawn for several days afterwards.

SARCOPTIC MANGE MITES and LICE ON DOGS: Wet animal thoroughly with regular mixture. Do not spray dog if suckling young, nor on cats.

WARNING: Do not use on humans or cats. Contact with skin can cause toxic symptoms. Avoid breathing spray mist and skin contact. In case of spillage on skin, wash immediately with soap and water. Avoid contamination of feed and foodstuffs. Harmful if swallowed. Keep out of reach of children. [etc, etc..]

Here’s the good bit…

This product will kill fish and wildlife. Birds feeding on treated areas may be harmed. Keep out of lakes, ponds, and streams. This product is toxic to bees and should not be applied when bees are actively visiting the area.


So it kills bugs but – oopsie – it also kills wildlife? It’s OK to apply it all over the dog, but don’t get it on the cat? Is the warning not to water the lawn for several days supposed to “keep out of lakes, ponds, and streams”?

As startling as these statements printed on the label are, the effects we now know about are downright chilling. “Documented health problems can include child cancers, neuroblastoma, leukemia, chronic infections, bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis, infertility, neurological disorders, aggression and depression.” Holy crap!

Uh, now I have a nearly full bottle of this on my desk. Which I’m afraid to touch. At least it’s no longer in the hands of someone who might see it as “just the thing” for that recurring termite problem.

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