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The Effects of Inhaling Raid Ant & Roach Spray

Updated July 18, 2017

Ants and roaches are among the many insect pests that can turn your home into a miniature wildlife preserve, and in sufficient numbers, their skittering presence can all but hold you hostage in your own living environment. Fortunately, there are chemical sprays that can kill these insects in short order --- among them the longtime favourite Raid Ant & Roach spray. One problem, however, is that the same substances that vanquishes six-legged intruders can be toxic to human beings if inhaled.

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Raid Ant & Roach Killer is an aerosol product touted by its manufacturer as killing pests on contact without leaving odours behind. It is available in four fragrances: Lemon Scent, Country Fresh, Outdoor Fresh and Fragrance Free. It kills various common bugs in addition those in its name, including waterbugs, silverfish, crickets, spiders and the multicoloured Asian lady beetle. Its effects last for up to four weeks.

General Precautions

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Household Products Database, there are no acute, or immediate, health effects from inhaling Raid Ant & Roach spray. However, users are warned not to inhale the compound and to ventilate areas where it is sprayed before returning to them. In addition to keeping children and adults from breathing the spray, remove pets --- including birds and fish --- from the area to be sprayed. The USDHHS states that the product may be harmful if swallowed or absorbed through the skin.

Toxic Ingredients and Effects

Raid Ant & Roach spray, unlike insect repellents designed to be applied to human skin, does not contain DEET. However, among its six active ingredients are pyrethrins, a mixture of organic compounds with strongly insecticidal properties. Pyrethrins have a host of known effects on humans if inhaled, including difficulty breathing, coughing, alteration of consciousness owing to oxygen-level fluctuations; larger amounts can lead to tremors, seizures or an upset stomach with or without vomiting.

If You're Exposed

If you or anyone else inhales Raid Ant & Roach spray, intentionally or otherwise, immediately move to a place offering fresh air. Before contacting emergency medical personnel, have available the affected person's age, weight and condition, the time the Raid was inhaled and how much of it was inhaled. You can call the National Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222 from anywhere in the United States 24 hours a day, seven days a week to get further information and help.

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About the Author

L. T. Davidson

L.T. Davidson has been a professional writer and editor since 1994. He has been published in "Triathlete," "Men's Fitness" and "Competitor." A former elite cyclist with a Master of Science in exercise physiology from the University of Miami, Davidson is now in the broadcast news business.

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