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Question DetailsAsked on 4/21/2016

Safety concerns: Vikane (Sulfuryl Fluoride) home tenting - after procedure and re-entering your home.

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3 Answers


The pest control company doing the extermination is required by law to provide you with a safety brochure on what you need to do up-front BEFORE the fumigation day, what cannot stay in the house, how to safely bag any foods that stay in the house, and so forth.

Basically, on re-entry to the house it should be quite safe for you - typically the second or third day of the operation they turn on fan ventilation, then the final day they will untent it and fully ventilate the house for several hours (while removing the tent and packing up) before letting you back in. Commonly they untent first thing in the morning and let it air out for a couple of hours before letting you back in around 1 PM to 5 PM - testing the air for detectable presence of the fumigant in the process. Commonly what indicates it is acceptable to come back in is not the lack of detectable fumigant - it is the time for the irritant or indicator gas to dissipate. Most fumigants have no odor or taste, so they put in a readily detected and objectionable indicator chemical like mustard oil (NOT mustard GAS) or tear gas as a warning that the fumigant may still be present. When safe, they will remove the warning signs and secondary door locks, and post a reentry notice on the door stting it is safe to reenter.

Your move-in actions are generally limited to having the gas turned back on (it has to be off during the tenting as a safety measure - they commonly turn it off but require you get it turned back on), dumping out any icecubes, and moving back in the things you removed. Of course, for added safety it is recommended that you maintain excellent ventilation through the house for a day after moving back in (leave windows open and such, and especially ventilate the basement because it tends to have exposed wood that might outgas some gas longer than normal and generally has poorer ventilation and possibly soil exposure that the gas might have penetrated).

And of course if there is someone in the family with respiratory issues or responds badly to irritants having them stay out for another day while the house is thoroughly ventilated would be a good idea. I have heard of a couple of cases where individuals with lung function issues have had a reaction to the irritant gas. Ditto if anyone has had eye, ear, nose, throat surgery or illness recently, because trace irritant can cause secondary issues in those cases. Supposedly an EPA warning and info brochure on that issue and regarding preventative safety for infants is in preparation, which as I understand it will recommend 24 hour ventilation of the house before such individuals come into it AFTER the detenting.

You can find lots of info on the safety issue by googling the following search phrase - how long after removing fumigation tenting can occupants come back into house

Stay with the fumigation company or government articles and websites - there are also a lot of alarmist sites out there which have a lot of misleading info on them, or refer to deaths from Vikane that were really due to people not following the safety rules.

The primary safety issue after moving back in is to not open anything that is closed unless it was tightly air-tight sealed. Everything (cases, cupboards, safes, etc) should have been opened to free gas access before the treatment and left open during the treatment (except optionally safes though they have to be inspected if large enough for a person to hide in), and afterwards safes would be opened up to air out. If you later discover a container or sealed area (other than factory sealed containers or double-bagged in the food sealing bags they give you) that was not open to ventilation and might have gas trapped in it, call them for advice on how to handle it.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD



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Answered 3 years ago by Member Services


To be safe, don't use Sulfuryl Fluoride (trade names "Vikane", "Zythor", "Profume") - instead use the highly effective and proven, tried and true, non-toxic methods.

"Old Island Fumigation vs Barbee" law suit where people where poisoned by sulfuryl fluoride - it was determined that fumigation with Sulfuryl Fluoride is:

"an Ultra-Hazardous activity as it necessarily involves a risk of serious harm to the person, land or chattels of others which cannot be eliminated by the exercise of the utmost care..."

In 2016, Dr. Thomas Kodadek, Ph.D., Professor, Chairman, Department of Cancer Biology, Department of Chemistry of Scripps Florida stated that "one single molecule [of sulfuryl fluoride] released into the air is a safety risk." And that "even sub-lethal doses of this [sulfuryl fluoride] really have long lasting neurological effects."

Cancer rates are sky-rocketing at a meteoric rate but the EPA has never required sulfuryl fluoride to be tested for carcinogenicity. Also, fumigation companies tell homeonwers to remove plastic coverings on beds and baby bottles because the gas can infiltrate plastics and rubber and become trapped. And there are countless places this neuro-toxic gas can become trapped from insulation, to mattresses, sofas, pillows, AC and Heating ductwork and there are reported cases off-gassing occuring for many days after the building is cleared for re-entry. And fumigation companies state that all food and medicine must be removed before the fumigation - but they contradict themselves by declaring at the same time that the gas leaves no residue. If it left no residue, there would be no need to remove food before the fumigation! Also the EPA states in countless documents that sulfuryl fluoride leaves a residue and even though it is a neurotoxic gas the EPA, incredibly, allows it to be sprayed directly on "non-organic" foods in the United States of America, thus allowing certain amounts of residue on food for human and animal consumption, despite the studies that show sulfuryl fluoride damages the brain and lowers IQ.

For over 20 years tens of thousands of homeowners and business owners have chosen 100% non-toxic alternatives for whole structure termite treatments such as the heat method (ThermaPure Heat, headquartered in Ventura, CA) ( and the Diatomaceous Earth/Amorphous Silica method (Home Saving Termite, headquartered in Los Angeles, CA) that are more effective at killing termites than the ultra-hazardous fumigation that is capable of brain damaging or killing humans and animals. Fumigation companies give disclosures that state that insects can return to a building immediately after the fumigation is complete (!), whereas the non-toxic methods provide a barrier against future infestation. In the heat method, Borite is applied to the wood which makes it inedible to termites - and diatomaceous earth kills ALL insects that come into contact with it while it is non-toxic to humans. Government officials (such as those in Florida) who actively dispense false information regarding the non-toxic pest control methods and who actively mislead consumers into believing that the "sulfuryl fluoride" fumigation is the only way to perform whole structure termites treatments are opening themselves up to liability when injuries to humans and animals occur, and there have been countless people and pets who have been sickened or died from sulfuryl fluoride fumigations. The government officials charged with regulating the pest control industry are deemed "experts" and therefore they must stay informed of the advancements in the pest control industry. And as far back as 2009 scientists at MIT and Scripps published the finding that - as a greenhouse gas, sulfuryl fluoride is 4,800 times more potent than carbon dioxide - with an atmospheric life span of 30 to 40 years. In states like Florida, global warming is causing rapidly rising water and building codes need to be re-written to address the large scale flooding.

The number one best way to remain safe is to avoid chemicals that can kill you and harm the environment and opt instead for the highly effective non-toxid alternatives.


Answered 2 years ago by VanessaVaughn

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