Health Risks from Using Mothballs

August 21, 2015

Loraine placed some mothballs inside her cabinet, after one week, the mothballs were all gone. What happen to the mothballs?



August 22, 20150 found this helpful

If the place they are put is hot or humid, mothballs can melt.

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August 22, 20150 found this helpful

Mothballs evaporate. If you get one of those big chunky ones with its own embedded hanger and hang it in a closet, you can see it shrink every day. They just evaporate into thin air. The chemicals in them are very dangerous. You should try not to breath them. You're better off using lavender or cedar to repel moths.

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August 24, 20150 found this helpful

Mothballs evaporate. But I would advise you to use something else, as they are so toxic and the smell permeates the closet and is an awful stench.

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Susan Sanders-Kinzel
November 27, 2006

We get so many requests about how to get rid of pests and invariably people say to use mothballs or were given this advice from exterminators.

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4 More Questions

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March 20, 2010

I have a dog and I need to know if mothballs are harmful to pets.

By annette williams from Spartanburg, SC


March 20, 20100 found this helpful

Moth balls are not actually used to kill moths, but rather contain a substance which is used to repel moths from your closets. Either naphthalene or para dichlorobenzene, can be used in moth balls, and both substances are toxic. This chemical tends to change it's state from a solid to a gas form very quickly. If inhaled it can be fatal, and if ingested moth balls are extremely harmful.

Do not induce vomiting if ingested - rather drink plenty of water and consult a veterinarian as soon as possible. Moth balls can cause hemolytic anemia, a decrease in red blood cells, or the amount of hemoglobin the body produces. This can inhibit the blood from supplying the required amounts of oxygen to the body. Symptoms can include: weakness, lethargy, increased heart and respiration rate, pale mucous membranes, jaundice, vomiting and abdominal pain. Urine may also contain traces of blood. Hope this helps and everything is okay!

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March 22, 20100 found this helpful

Yes! Mothballs can be deadly to 'any' animal and to humans, especially children, as well!

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March 22, 20100 found this helpful

Yes mothballs are potentially very harmful to pets and you, too. If you are having trouble with moths, try cedar in some form. You can buy cedar balls, small planks or oil to hang into your closet. It smells a whole lot better than mothballs too.

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August 11, 2014

Do moth balls affect humans with chest problems?

By Dawne H. from Roslyn, P N.


August 13, 20140 found this helpful

Mothballs are poisonous, which is why they kill moths. They are poisonous to humans and pets as well. I wouldn't have them in the house, or anywhere else for that matter.

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March 4, 2013

My husband threw moth balls in our basement this winter. It got into our ventilation and went throughout the whole house. Are there any health risks involved? How do I get rid of this stench?

By Marcia from IN


March 5, 20130 found this helpful

I think there might be health risks involved. Moth balls are poisonous, - naphthalene - and are for killing moths. Certainly, smelling that horrible odor will not do you any good. I do not know how you would get rid of it other than locating and disposing of the mothballs, but I certainly urge you to do so.

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