In 2002, the US-EPA banned all indoor uses of insecticides that inhibit cholinesterase. This ban included all indoor uses of organophosphorous and carbamate insecticides and affected pesticides commonly used indoors such as Dursban and Propoxur. This has led to changes in strategies for indoor pest management and the use of alternative products. This ban has protected the health of the US public reasonably well. There have been a few exceptions that resulted in people becoming ill from illegal indoor use of insecticides. Some states and other interested parties have lobbied to allow exceptions for the treatment of bed bugs, but the rules remain in effect.
The Canadian government has not banned the indoor use of all cholinesterase inhibitors. Now in Ottawa, Canada, the Charles H. Hulse School has been closed due to the use of a propoxur spray in response to a cockroach problem. Over 30 students and staff reported symptoms of nausea, dizziness and eye irritation consistent with the poisoning effects of propoxur. Students and staff have been temporarily relocated to another school. Remediation of the school to make it safe to inhabit may require removal of drywall sprayed with the pesticide.
The Canadian government reviewed the indoor use of propoxur in 2014 and recommended that some uses be phased out by 2016. One of the arguments against the ban of some pesticides is a lack of viable alternative replacements. Incidents such as this highlight the need for new, safer methods and products for management of indoor insects.