Fluoride Action Network


Structural fumigations using sulfuryl fluoride for the extermination of dry-wood termites are conducted by the thousands in California and other warm-weather states. Sulfuryl fluoride is an odorless gas that targets the nervous system and can cause respiratory irritation, pulmonary edema, nausea, vomiting, seizures, and death. Structural voids or compartments such as wall sockets, crawl spaces, cabinets, or cells in air mattresses may create ongoing exposure after a structure has been certified as safe. The authors describe a case of potential sulfuryl fluoride exposure to a family following home fumigation. Despite regulation, sulfuryl fluoride poisonings from structural fumigations continue to occur. This article examines the physical characteristics of sulfuryl fluoride and the regulatory oversight of its application, in an effort to understand how and why these poisonings happen. Increasing aeration times of fumigated structures, overseeing monitoring efficacy, and using technology to capture clearance data could reduce sulfuryl fluoride exposure and illness.