Vaccinating Homes Against Bugs with Pesticides in Paint

[Leslie Carol Botha: Well this is a sure fire big mistake.  Sounds like the inhabitants will be eliminated along with the bugs.  Can you imagine pesticides being slowly released in your home?  Will consumers even know?]

Pesticides in paint vaccinates homes against bugs

San Francisco Chronicle
Nick Leiber
Sunday, May 20, 2012

For decades, nets and sprays have been the only effective methods for controlling the mosquitoes that cause malaria and dengue. Pilar Mateo thinks she can do better.

The Spanish chemist has invented a way to embed pesticides in microcapsules stirred into house paints at her Valencia company, Inesfly. The insecticides are released from the paint slowly, remaining effective for two to four years, while sprays typically need to be reapplied at least every six months.

“The paint acts like a vaccine for houses and buildings,” she says.

Mateo says she’s received offers to buy her patent but refuses to sell out. Instead, her new venture, Inesfly Africa, will produce it commercially at a $13 million factory in Ghana. After years of donating paint to poor people in Latin America and Africa, Mateo wants the venture to fund her broader humanitarian efforts.

“It’s not just the insects that are the problem,” she says. “It’s the poverty.”

The minute amounts of pesticides released from the paint aren’t harmful to people but are devastating to insects, according to independent tests by scientists. The paint is already approved for use in 15 countries, including China, Germany, and Spain. Mateo is seeking approval in the United States and a recommendation from the World Health Organization. Her idea is to sell it as an affordable alternative to sprays.

“It makes sense,” says Adriana Costero-Saint Denis, a program officer at the National Institutes of Health. “You want something that has slow release, which is effective for a long period.”

Mateo didn’t plan to spend her life killing bugs. While earning a Ph.D. in chemistry from the Universitat de València, she settled into a comfortable routine, tinkering with formulas at her father’s paint factory, Industrias Químicas Inesba.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.