Friday, November 17, 2006

Naphthalene not to be confused with Naphtha

People often interchange the two, but Naphtha is different: it is an industrial solvent which is the main content in lighter fluid.

Whereas Naphthalene is the content of old fashioned mothballs,
PARADICHLOROBENZENE is the newer version of mothballs banned in the state of California.
Although not as immediately toxic as Naphthalene, it is a known carcinogen whereas Naphthalene is suspect.

Intro: A study in the danger of mothballs.

This is a short, true story of what happened to me and why I believe you should be aware of the dangers
of Naphthalene.

In Spring 2006, I was goint to attend a wedding. I went into my slider closet that contained my dress coats, only to find that the newest one had a moth hole eaten in the collar.
Alongside it was a 500 dollar Camel hair coat that had gotten attacked once before but been repaired. It seemed to have been untouched. I had cedar in the closet, but it had lost its smell.

So I went out and got a box of mothballs, cracked open the top, and put it in the closet.

About a month later when my fiance came into the house, she said: "It smells like cedar mothballs in here. "

I said: "That's not good." So I went into the closet and found that the box had tipped and they were scattered on the top shelf. Out went the mothballs! Except for a few that I placed in the pockets of the two of the dress coats.

Periodically, if the closet was left open, the place would smell moth balls. An easy fix was to shut the closet and air the room out. No problem.

Bythe first week of October 2006, my fiance had gone out to visit her family for a month.
This is New England, and it was getting cold at this time, so I turned the heat on in the house.

I also took the comforter and sleeping bags out of the bottom of that closet and put it on my bed.

About a week later, I was not feeling very good. This continued for the next two weeks. Symptoms included sinus problems (though I did not have any congestion) headache, irritability, and even sudden panic attacks.
I was also short tempered and tired at work.

Finally when she came back she said "Hey. You smell like mothballs."

"What?" I asked her to come into the bedroom. She said it smelled faintly of mothballs.
No big deal. We aired it out.

Well, it was a big deal, at least when the heat came on late at night when we were sleeping. There is a basedboard to the left of the closet, and when it turned on it was drawing the naptha fumes out from under the door and poisoning me while I slept. When I woke up in the morning I couldn't smell it because I had been exposed all night, and when I came back home from work in the evening the heat was off and all that was left was a faint oder in the room which went away when the door was openned.

We pulled everything out of the closet and the oder was overwhelming.

I had been suffering from classic signs of Naphtha poisoning.
Fortunately, this was not the newer type of mothballs, which are milder but labelled as a true carcinogen in California. The jury is still out on the carcinogenic properties Naphtha, but what is known is that it is not good.
Aside from a blood and neuroligical poison, it is believed to prevent the bodies' immune system from terminaing abnormal cell growth, which occurs on a daily basis.