Not surprisingly, that report unleashed a flurry of phone calls and emails from subscribers wanting clear answers about how dangerous this chemical is and what to do if the charges are true and Fipronil was used on their trophies. Unfortunately, clear, concise answers are very difficult to come by. Frankly, at this point we aren't sure that even a trained chemist or chemical engineer could give clear answers. But here's what we know so far.
Termidor (a trade name for the chemical Fipronil) is a very widely used pesticide typically applied by pest-control professionals around home foundations to eliminate and prevent termite and ant infestations. The general public also applies Fipronil, since it is also used in lawn care pest-control products and spot-treatment for fleas and ticks on pets. It is also used in the enclosed "baits" that homeowners typically put out to control ants and cockroaches.
The issue with the treatment of trophies is not as much with the chemical used as with the fact that no risk assessment had been performed on this product in this application. Typically, these risk assessments are a lengthy, detailed and expensive process, and the government takes very seriously any attempt to circumvent these safety controls.
Several of the readers who called expressed concern that the chemical might be poisoning the air inside their homes. When we called the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC), (800-858-7378), we were directed to a Fipronil Technical Fact Sheet (http://www.npic.orst.edu/factsheets/fiptech.html), which indicated that........(continued)