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Moth Balls

box of moth balls

What is it?

Moth balls are round and white and look like big marbles. They have a very strong, unusual smell. They don't smell very good. Moth balls are used as a repellent. They keep insects that eat natural fibers like wool and paper, away from clothes or books that may be stored in your closet, attic or basement. Moths and silverfish are examples of insects that do damage to things in storage.

The type of repellant in moth balls can also be shaped like a flake, a thick disk or like a bar of soap. Maybe you have seen one in a baby's diaper pail or in a blanket chest. Your parents are the ones who would pack things up and put moth balls in them. But you may come across these products if you get into cardboard boxes, trunks, or closet bags where things are stored in your house. Remind you parents to always "Read the Label First" to know how to properly use these products and for safety information.

What's in it?

The pesticides in moth balls are chemicals known as naphthalene or para-dichlorobenzene.

What health and safety things do you need to think about with moth balls?

Coming in contact with moth balls can cause an irritation, like a burning feeling to your eyes and skin. You can get quite sick if you eat or breathe the fumes from moth balls, especially those containing naphthalene. How sick you could get depends on your exposure to them. As a general rule, if you get any chemicals on your skin or in your eyes, wash it off with lots of water right away.

What do you do if you or someone you're with has an accident with household products?

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