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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Beware of Mothballs !!!! Naphthalene Poisoning | SERVPRO® of Hershey/Harrisburg East (717)-533-FIRE

11/12/2014 (Permalink)

mothballs | SERVPRO® of Hershey/Harrisburg East (717)-533-FIRE

According to the EPA – “Naphthalene is used in the production of mothballs.  Acute (short-term) exposure of humans to naphthalene by inhalation, ingestion, and dermal contact is associated with hemolytic anemia, damage to the liver, and neurological damage.  Cataracts have also been reported in workers acutely exposed to naphthalene by inhalation and ingestion.  Chronic (long-term) exposure of workers and rodents to naphthalene has been reported to cause cataracts and damage to the retina.  Hemolytic anemia has been reported in infants born to mothers who "sniffed" and ingested naphthalene (as mothballs) during pregnancy.  Available data are inadequate to establish a causal relationship between exposure to naphthalene and cancer in humans.  EPA has classified naphthalene as a Group C, possible human carcinogen.”

If you can smell the mothball – detectable in the air at just a few parts per billion by the human nose – that means you’re also inhaling the same noxious gas that the CDC says can cause a significant amount of unpleasantness:

“Headache, confusion, excitement, malaise (vague feeling of discomfort); nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain; irritation bladder; profuse sweating; jaundice; hematuria (blood in the urine), renal shutdown; dermatitis, optical neuritis, corneal damage.” It also causes cancer in rats.  

If your home is affected by Napthalene – SERVPRO of Hershey / Swatara can remediate the situation and rid your home of the cointamination.  The process involves many of the same steps involved in the proper remediation of mold contamination and the removal of smoke odors.  Basically – the first thing that must be done is to remove the source of the contamination. When the mothballs have been removed, we thoroughly clean the area and employ techniques to expedite release of the VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) from the material in the home (including clothes and linens). 

Fortunately, once the mothballs are removed and remediation starts - it does not take long to eliminate the contamination.  Given the nature of the compound and its half-life, proper application of heat to the affected material and proper control of air flow - air quality can return to normal in just a few days. Air quality tests - pre and post remediation provide confirmation of success. 

If you find yourself affected by Napthalene exposure – you should first seek medical attention and then give us a call to remediate the impact in your home. 

Call SERVPRO of Hershey / Swatara at 717-561-1404 and we can help!

For more detailed information on Napthalene – see the following links:




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