Toxicity and Exposure
Effects on Various Household Items
What is the typical Vikane fumigation process and how long does it take?
The fumigation process usually takes 24 to 48 hours. Your professional fumigator seals your home with tarps or other methods and releases a warning agent into the home. Vikane is then introduced into the structure. Your professional fumigator will carefully calculate the amount of Vikane needed, based on a variety of factors including the target pest, temperature, and size of the home.
The typical house fumigation involves approximately 18-24 hours of exposure. After the fumigation is complete, your fumigator aerates the fumigant from the structure following label instructions, and tests the air with sensitive gas monitoring equipment to confirm that it is safe to re-enter the building.
Does Vikane leave any surface residues?
Unlike some treatment options, Vikane does not remain in the home after fumigation. It completely dissipates, leaving no surface residues behind.
Does Vikane cause corrosion or other damage?
Sulfuryl fluoride in the gaseous state does not react with most materials and thus is highly unlikely to cause damage to structures or their contents when properly applied. If water condenses from the air during Vikane fumigations due to reaching the dew point because of too rapid Vikane introduction, water condensation forms, which may tarnish or stain certain materials. Fumigators are trained to use fans and introduction hoses to control the introduction rate and rapidly disperse Vikane in a structure to avoid fog-outs.
Sulfuryl fluoride disrupts the glycolosis and citric acid cycles within cells throughout the insect body, thereby depriving insects of the necessary energy for survival.
Can the air conditioning be left running during fumigation?
Leaving the air conditioning on is desirable when homeowners have temperature sensitive items inside the house, such as wine cellars, computers that must be kept cool, etc. In most residential homes the air conditioning may be left running during the fumigation, provided the compressor unit, which normally sits outside the structure, is NOT covered by the tarps. Window air conditioning units are not suitable to be left on because they would normally be covered by the tarps.
Is there a better time of year to fumigate?
In warmer weather, less fumigant is required to eliminate pests, so this is a better time to fumigate. The cooler the temperature, the greater the dosage of fumigant required to eliminate an insect pest, because the pests have lower metabolic rates. Vikane can be used unless the temperature at the site of pest activity (with the exception of rodents) is below 40˚ F. Because temperature is an important factor in determining the dosage of Vikane required, the Vikane Fumiguide calculator includes temperature as part of its calculations.
Once a home is fumigated, how long is the treatment guaranteed against future infestation?
Fumigation with Vikane® does not prevent future infestations.
What precautions are taken to ensure my family’s safety?
Your professional licensed fumigator will do three things:
- Release a warning agent to deter entry to the home.
- Secure doors on your home using barricades or additional locking devices to prevent unauthorized entry.
- Use specialized equipment to test the air to ensure that Vikane has dissipated, so that you may re-enter your home. The Vikane level must be below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirement (1 ppm or less) in all breathing zones. Therefore, as soon as the fumigator clears the structure, you may return to your home.
Is the amount of chloropicrin used during a Vikane fumigation harmful to people?
Chloropicrin is used at a very low application rate of 1 fluid ounce or less for every 10,000 cubic feet of fumigation space, resulting in a controlled concentration of chloropicrin within your home. After the fumigation period, your fumigator will aerate the Vikane and chloropicrin following rigorously tested procedures, so when you return home, you do not need to be concerned with any toxicological effects. What is chloropicrin?
Will Vikane affect my pregnancy?
Your fumigator is required to test the air in your home using specialized equipment to ensure that the Vikane level is below the EPA requirement before allowing you to re-enter your home. The EPA requirement is 1 ppm or less in all breathing zones. At such a level, no fetal effects or long-term health effects would be expected.
I double-bagged my food in Nylofume bags prior to fumigation and was careful to get all the air out, but when I returned home, the bags appeared to have air in them. Is it safe to consume the food?
It is possible that the Nylofume bags expanded yet remained airtight. If the bags were filled on a cool morning and they warmed up during the fumigation, the air would expand inside the bag. However, if there is evidence that Vikane penetrated the bag, such as holes in the bag, do not eat the food.
I consumed food that was left in the house during the fumigation. Will that cause me harm?
No adverse health effects would be expected from consumption of some food items inadvertently fumigated with Vikane. The residue that can form in unprotected food items exposed to Vikane is fluoride, which naturally occurs in food and water. Nonetheless, fumigated food should be discarded and should not be consumed because there are no legal tolerances for Vikane gas fumigant in food. If unprotected food items are consumed, and you have concerns or questions, please call our Human Exposure line at 800-992-5994 (option 1) for specific medical information related to the incident.
Do we have to drain and remove a waterbed mattress?
No, you do not have to do anything with a waterbed.
Does Vikane cause staining or discoloration of fabrics?
Vikane in the vapor phase does not cause staining or discoloration of fabric or other materials typically found in a building under fumigation.
Does Vikane react with plasma display televisions?
No – Sulfuryl fluoride was tested under laboratory conditions in the presence of various types of electronic equipment, including an assortment of computer devices. Those tests were performed at dosages far exceeding the maximum allowed on the Vikane label. Also the temperature for those tests was approximately 122 degrees F. There was no adverse malfunction to that equipment even when the equipment was left on.
Will Vikane harm my photographs?
No. Vikane has been used to fumigate commercial photographic establishments containing films and photographic papers. A brown cast has been seen on color prints developed with exposed solutions. No problems have occurred with photographic paper or plates.
If you have professional photographic materials, we recommend placing developing materials and fixing solutions in sealed bottles or creating new solutions after the fumigation. Do not leave developing materials in open trays.
What are the effects of Vikane on textiles, historical/antique artifacts?
Since first marketed as Vikane in 1961, sulfuryl fluoride has been used to fumigate more than two million buildings, including museums, historical landmarks, rare book libraries, government archives, and scientific and medical research laboratories.
Vikane does not react with common household furnishings when properly applied. This is why fumigation with Vikane is an established method used to eradicate pests infesting delicate and rare biological and historical museum artifacts.
What is chloropicrin?
Chloropicrin is a colorless liquid with a very strong odor that causes eye irritation and tearing when used in small quantities.
Why is chloropicrin used?
Chloropicrin is used as a warning agent to serve as a deterrent to unauthorized or accidental entry into a structure under fumigation. Unlike Vikane, which has no odor and cannot be readily detected without specialized equipment during fumigation, chloropicrin is experienced as an irritant at very low concentrations. Chloropicrin is used at concentrations that provide adequate warning without causing lingering odors or other adverse effects for homeowners or the environment.
Your fumigator will release chloropicrin into the structure at least 5 to 10 minutes prior to introducing Vikane.