Dispatch: Sleep Tight & Don t Be Afraid Of Pesticides

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New York City health officials are taking on a new fight, and this time, it’s against bedbugs. A top entomologist will spearhead the city’s public awareness campaign against these pesky critters, which are estimated to have invaded the homes of one of every 15 New Yorkers last year.

Though not known to spread disease or become a serious health hazard, bedbug bites ”can cause breaks in the skin, and even the tiny ones can lead to serious infections, especially in the immunocompromised,” says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross.

Not one to just simply complain, Dr. Ross offers an explanation and solution to the bedbug outbreak as well. “The resurgence of bed bugs — not to mention the nationwide West Nile Virus epidemic we could have nipped in the bud in 1998 — can be at least partially attributed to the prohibition of DDT and other highly effective pesticides. Unfortunately, because of the draconian restrictions instituted against use of the pesticides — due to superstition and chemophobia — bedbugs now have the upper foreleg here.”