Saturday, February 9, 2008


Before it was banned in 2000 for indoor application, the organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos was widely used. Chlorpyrifos treatments for cockroaches in a home-based aviary resulted in the eventual loss of the entire breeding bird population of 15 pairs and their offspring. The toxic nature of the chemical as well as actions by the parties involved contributed to this unfortunate outcome. The applicator called the pesticide "safe" and did not appear to know its potential danger to birds, although the owner specifically questioned him about it. The aviary owner accepted the exterminator's assurances of safety and failed to get a second opinion from those knowledgeable in pesticide toxicity to make certain that the pest control methods used truly afforded the lowest possible risk to birds. In an ironic twist, the owner was able to collect financial compensation for theoretical damage to his own health that the birds' deaths had indicated.

Reference: "Clinical Avian Medicine - Vol I and II" by Harrison and Lightfoot