Occupant re-entry times following insecticidal remedial treatments of timber in dwellings
R J Orsler, G E Holland, G M F Van Eetvelde
This work was carried out principally to obtain quantitative data on the aerial concentrations of permethrin and white spirit likely to arise following the remedial treatment of timber in buildings, using insecticidal formulations. Such data are needed to allow assessments to be made of the length of time buildings should remain unoccupied following such treatments prior to re-occupation, and the likely levels of exposure of the occupants to the treatment products concerned. Two large, free-standing, wood-lined chambers were treated (in separate experiments) with a dilute oil-in-water emulsion and a micro-emulsion, both containing 0.2% m/m permethrin. The atmospheres in the chambers were sampled at intervals and analysed for their permethrin content. In addition, the aerial concentrations of white spirit were determined following treatment with the dilute oil-in-water emulsion. Results indicated that the aerial concentrations of permethrin following treatment never exceeded 20 µg/m³. Comparison of the measured levels with the threshold limit value (TLV) for permethrin (modified to a TLV/40 to represent the value associated with 24 hours-a-day continuous occupancy) indicated that such levels of permethrin constituted no significant risk to occupants. Aerial concentrations of white spirit in the test chambers from the dilute oil-in-water emulsion product indicated by calculation that the TLV/40 of this solvent would be attained approximately 10 hours after treatment in a model domestic situation having the relatively low air exchange rates of the test chambers. This work has shown the importance of further studies needed to identify the rate determining step in the evaporation of deposited constituents from the surface of timber and to quantify the effect of different air exchange rates in treated premises on the aerial levels of formulation constituents.
Keywords: REMEDIAL TREATMENT; AERIAL CONCENTRATION; PERMETHRIN; WHITE SPIRIT; EMULSIONS