French poisoning themselves in efforts to kill bed bugs

PARIS, Dec 6: People seeking to ward off a plague of bed bugs in France are running the risk of poisoning themselves with illegal insecticides, the authorities in Paris warned on Tuesday.

Inspections have discovered the use of a product banned in 2013 that goes by the name of Sniper 1000 EC DDVP, the Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety Agency (ANSES), said.

ANSES reported that 206 people had been affected by poisoning between January 2018 and June this year. It warned that the products could cause illness on contact or being swallowed, or even death on being inhaled.

Reports with images of bed bugs did the rounds on social media in France in the summer, with cinemas, public transport and other areas affected.

ANSES reported that the insects had been spreading increasingly over recent years. Around 11 per cent of all households had been affected between 2017 and 2022, it said.

Bedbugs are resistant to virtually all commercially available insecticides, and are best eradicated by heat, steam or freezing, according to the agency. Professional assistance should be called in as a last resort.