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CDC: Bug Bombs Make People Sick

June 8, 2000

ATLANTA (AP) _ Automatic pesticide dispensers used in restaurants and other public places have sickened 97 people, the government said Thursday.

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the illnesses occurred from 1986 to 1999 and most of them resulted when the dispensers were placed within 12 feet of food handling, dining or work areas. In some cases the devices were placed too close to ventilation currents.

Thursday’s report is the first to document pesticide-related illnesses caused by the automatic dispensers, commonly used in schools, hotels, offices, supermarkets, hospitals, day-care centers and nursing homes.

The CDC said the devices can reduce the number of flying insects when used properly but can be a health hazard when they malfunction or are installed improperly.

Dispensers typically are set to automatically spray a mist of insecticide every 15 minutes.

The chemicals can cause various health problems ranging from dermatitis and eye irritation to asthma, dizziness and vomiting.

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