Naphthalene balls, sometimes known as mothballs, are small, white, volatile balls that are employed as pesticides or insecticides.
They can be used both inside and outside. Naphthalene balls are usually made up of the substances Naphthalene and Thionaphthalene, which are derived from coal tar or petroleum distillation, respectively.
When naphthalene transforms from a solid to a gas, it emits a harsh odor that is poisonous to moths and other insects. Naphthalene balls are designated as home chemical substances for insect repelling by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The FDA has been aware that certain members of the public use naphthalene/mothballs to cleanse drinking water and to cure stomach pains, measles, and diarrhoea.
Other than repelling insects, these methods of use may cause major injury to the users, hence the public is highly urged to avoid them.
Indeed, studies have shown that improper usage of naphthalene balls can cause serious health problems in consumers, including severe anemia, respiratory tumors, reproductive issues, headaches, nausea, sweating, jaundice, confusion, malaise, abdominal pains, and eye and nose irritations.
Furthermore, the constant discharge of these balls into bodies of water and the environment has the potential to harm aquatic life.
As a result, the FDA recommends the public to refrain from using naphthalene balls in ways that are not permitted by the FDA, and instead utilize them as a household chemical item that is only approved for repelling insects and pests.
To this end, the FDA will continue to work with relevant institutions to educate the public on the proper use of naphthalene balls as well as the potential harm that can come from their misuse, in order to protect the public’s health and safety.
Other regulatory initiatives, such as the recently introduced Street Food Vending Permit initiative, are being implemented in an effort to ensure that no chemical contamination happens and that Good Hygienic Practices (GHP) are followed at all times.