For many years, methyl bromide was used globally as a broad-spectrum fumigant in commercial structures and agricultural settings.
However, in the past two decades, new research has demonstrated the harmful effects that this gaseous chemical can have on human health as well as the negative impact it has on the environment.
We regularly receive enquiries about methyl bromide and whether it can be used as part of our fumigation services.
So, in this article, we discuss everything you need to know about the law surrounding its use in fumigation treatments and the potential risks involved.
Is methyl bromide legal?
Since 2005, methyl bromide has been banned in Europe and the UK due to its damaging effects on the environment.
It was found that once it has been released into the air, it will rapidly dissipate into the atmosphere, depleting the ozone layer and allowing increased ultraviolet radiation to reach the surface of the earth. As a result, it was banned under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
The fumigant has also been found to be a serious threat to human health, particularly to the fumigators applying the treatment.
In 2019, Public Health England published information about methyl bromide stating that exposure to high concentrations of the fumigant can cause a number of health concerns. This could present as mild skin, eye and airway irritations, but in more severe cases, it has resulted in fitting, comas, liver damage, jaundice and even death.
As a result of the detrimental effect methyl bromide has on both the ozone layer and human health, it was scheduled to be phased out of all fumigation processes by the start of 2005.
Is methyl bromide still used for fumigation?
No, methyl bromide is no longer used as part of the fumigation process in the UK and in many countries around the world. While it was previously used as a fumigant for pest control in shipping and agricultural settings, its negative impact on the environment and human health exceeds its benefits.
There are, however, a range of other fumigants that can be used in its place that are just as effective and, more importantly, safer.
How is methyl bromide applied?
Similar to other fumigants our team at Fumigill uses, methyl bromide would be applied as a gaseous chemical in a secured structure or treatment area.
The fumigant will then be held at a set concentration for a specific period, decided by the fumigator on site.
Once enough time has elapsed, the space will be safely aired and left until the air quality is within safe workplace exposure limits.
In agricultural settings, methyl bromide would often be injected into the soil, which is then covered with a number of tarping materials to hold the fumigant at the correct concentration. The tarps will be carefully sealed and usually held in place for several days before being removed and allowing the area to air out.
Why methyl bromide is not recommended for domestic fumigation
Commercial and domestic fumigation are different processes and require distinct approaches. Fumigation is already a hazardous process, and spreading gaseous chemicals throughout a domestic property is no small task.
By choosing in the past to use methyl bromide in a domestic setting, you were not only putting yourself at risk but everyone else living at the property too.
If the fumigation process is carried out incorrectly, the health of everyone residing in the property, neighbours and even pets is put at serious risk. Plus, even with the correct safety measures and procedures in place, the high toxicity of this fumigant means there is no guarantee that you will not still be affected.
We always recommend employing the knowledge and expertise of a professional fumigation specialist, whether it is for a commercial or domestic property.
Which chemicals do Urban Hawks use for fumigation?
The safety of our team, customers and the general public is our number one priority when carrying out any fumigation service.
Although we regularly receive enquiries about methyl bromide fumigation, it is not a fumigant our team uses.
Instead, we opt for the safer and more widely administered Pro Fume fumigant, sulfuryl fluoride. This gaseous chemical is a broad-spectrum fumigant that has been carefully developed alongside leading researchers and pest control professionals around the world.
By using this gas fumigant, our team is able to control all life stages of unwanted pest species, such as insects and rodents hiding in structures used to transport, store and process all manner of raw and processed goods and commodities.
Sulfuryl fluoride is quick, effective and safe to use in a range of settings and allows our team to ensure any pests are eradicated in one treatment.
Urban Hawks also use Phosphine and Profume chemicals for fumigation.
Want to learn more?
If you are interested in learning more about the types of fumigants we use, fumigation certificates or the fumigation process, feel free to visit our UK Fumigation Services, or you can get in touch with our team today on 01513456854 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are happy to answer any further queries and offer a free consultancy process to discuss the pest issues thoroughly before actioning a procedure.