Are Pesticides Safe? A Response to ‘Phosphine pesticide used to kill bedbugs causes Fort McMurray baby’s death’

Bed Bug on Skin

Sad News and a Wake Up Call for Canadians

You may have heard some very sad national news earlier this week about a mother in Alberta who while trying to kill bedbugs with illegally imported pesticide accidentally poisoned her 5 children, killing her 8-month old baby and leaving her other 4 hospitalized children in critical condition. You can read CBC’s coverage of this story here: Mother using phosphine pesticide to kill bed bugs causes Fort McMurray baby’s death

*Update February 27, 2015: The second youngest child in this family, a 2-year-old boy, has also died due to exposure to the highly toxic phosphine tablets.

This is an extremely unfortunate situation. As a team member of Advantage Pest Control Inc. I feel obliged to comment on this, although it is a truly difficult subject to discuss.

Government Regulations Serve a Purpose

What I would first like to emphasize is the importance of learning from this so that similar mistakes are avoided in the future. Most importantly to note, pesticides, especially potent ones such as phosphine gas and other strictly regulated chemicals, are not to be handled carelessly, and government regulations of their use are not to be taken lightly. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency of Health Canada and the Ministry of the Environment (in Ontario) regulate such chemicals so that they do not cause harm to people, animals or the environment. Therefore following these regulations is not an option, it is the law. Such laws have been put in place in order to protect everyone after all, and a lack of knowledge and research on such matters can prove deadly, as demonstrated in this recent occurrence in Alberta.

In this particular case, the use and application of phosphine legally requires a licensed fumigation professional. This is important. Under Ontario’s Pesticide Licensing System, not all exterminator licenses cover fumigation.

Therefore, I sincerely urge everyone to do their research when it comes to any kind of pesticide.

The Best Pest Control Solution

Alongside your research, the best solution to a pest problem is hiring a reputable pest control company to take care of it. A reputable company will have highly experienced technicians who are fully licensed exterminators. They will handle all chemicals safely and in accordance with government regulations.

Here at Advantage especially, our number one priority is to offer quality pest control that is safe for everybody. The first thing our technicians ask when they arrive at a customer’s home is, “do you have any kids or pets?” Safety is extremely important to us. For example, when treating mice and ants, even without kids or pets, we always place bait stations in safe and inaccessible places around the home. In fact we always practice careful consideration of the environment and specific conditions with all pests.

On the opposite end of the quality spectrum, cheap costs can result in some very unfortunate incidents as many already know. It is usually more of a waste of money to hire a cheap exterminator whose credentials are questionable anyhow, as results are usually reflective of the service cost. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Therefore hiring a qualified pest control professional is the best way to go.

What about those who cannot afford professional pest control services?

Be Smart, Be Safe, Educate Yourself

If hiring a professional is not within your budget, make sure you educate yourself on any and all DIY pest control products you wish to use before using or even purchasing them. Do your research. Make sure any pesticides or non-chemical products you use are legally available to the public, and make sure you carefully read and follow all label instructions exactly as written. Do not take a risk when it comes to your health and well-being, as well as that of your family, pets, neighbours, and environment. Life is too precious to be wasted due to a lack of awareness. Therefore, ask questions, educate yourself and pass on this message to others.

We Are Here To Help Everyone

On our part, our pest control specialists here at Advantage are always willing and happy to answer any questions you may have or offer any advice you may need regarding pest control, even if you do not purchase any products or services from us. We are a family-owned company and so we care about you and your family.

So if you ever have any questions regarding any pest issues, please do not hesitate to call us at 416-840-4040

or email us at

Our specialists are available to speak to you every day from 8am to 8pm ET.

Together, let’s help prevent incidents such as these from happening again and help pest control be practiced as safely as possible in Toronto, the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada, and eventually around the world.




Advantage Pest Control Inc. © 2015


Please also read: Health Canada Warns Canadians Not to Use Unregistered Bedbug Control Products