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Did you know EPA allows sellers to put pesticide in your packages?

Pesticide Sheet for Packages IMG_0933Recently, I received a package with a sheet of plastic in it that said “Micro-Pak Enhanced PE Sheets.” Wondering what it was, I saved it.

Micro-Pak Enhanced PE Sheets are intended to control, inhibit, and mitigate odor causing bacteria, mold, and mildew on products enclosed in packaging intended for shipment, according to an amended master label approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Items that may be packaged and treated with the sheets include footwear, clothing, luggage, handbags, purses, wallets, gloves, hats, belts, leather goods, sporting goods, furniture, packing boxes, carpets, photo albums, musical instruments, toys, bracelets, jewelry, dolls, lamps, vases, baskets, footwear components, bedding, tablecloths, housewares, and floral products.

Micro-Pak stickers and sheets are activated by moisture, so they don’t start working until they’re needed, the Micro-Pak website states. When the relative humidity reaches a preset level, the sheets release a pesticide within the box or polybag to actively eliminate mold spores. The pesticide spreads throughout the package to do its work.

I couldn’t find any information on whether these sheets are dangerous for consumers to handle. I’ll contact the EPA and see what it says.

Since my father died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is linked to pesticide exposure, and I had pesticide exposures as a child, how pesticides are used concerns me.

If you see these sheets in your packages, I’d put on disposable gloves and put of them in the trash right away.

I would certainly like to see the sheets labeled as containing pesticides. It's difficult to understand why they aren't labeled with that information.

The sheets are different from silica gel, a drying agent that comes in small, clear beads or rock crystals placed in little packets made of paper or cloth. The packets are put in products, such as food, clothing, medication, supplements, and electronics, to prevent moisture damage. The small particles can absorb large amounts of water. Silica gel is non-toxic, but it’s a choking hazard for young children when put in small packets.

Update: I received an email from EPA on background, meaning the person who sent the message didn’t want their name to be used.

My question: I was surprised that these sheets contain pesticides. Why aren’t they labeled as pesticides so consumers know to throw them away immediately?  It’s not only troublesome that the pesticides aren’t labeled, but, also, that they’re allowed to be put in consumer packages.

EPA answer: Registered in 2013, the Micro-Pak Enhanced PE Sheets  product contains the antimicrobial active ingredient sodium chlorite that preserves materials and has specific registration requirements. Micro-Pak Enhanced PE Sheets are intended to control, inhibit and mitigate odor-causing bacteria, mold and mildew on products enclosed in packaging meant for shipment. According to the master label, this product is sold in bulk at 5000, 1000, 100 and 50 sheet increments.  Though not on individual sheets, the product container has the required labeling.

Before registering a product, EPA determines if there are human and ecological risks from exposure to antimicrobial pesticides. Based on the risk assessment for this active ingredient, EPA has determined that this antimicrobial pesticide product is not anticipated to pose risks to human health or the environment.

My question: Why aren’t silica gel packets sufficient?

EPA answer: EPA does not promote or market a specific product, including different types of pesticides. Whether or not to use silica gel packets is at the discretion of a packing facility or company.


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Given how much influenced EPA is by the chemical industry and that EPA does NOT test pesticides before permitting temporary (or permanent registration) but relies on the chemical corporation's test results (or the commercial lab that does the testing), I think the precautions you've taken are wise and realistic.

You may need assistance from the offices of one of your Senators or Congressional Representative to get any information re: which pesticides are present on that sheet since it's very easy for whichever corporation manufactured that sheet to claim that the pesticide used is proprietary information (in manufacturing the sheet). It's how the tobacoo industry has avoided disclosure of all the many & various "ingredients" in cigarettes, et al, for years--except to the FDA and apparently the FDA can't disclose that information without permission. I don't know for sure that the proprietary information exception would apply, but generally people are just told, oh, it's "safe" if used properly. After all, that's what Bayer-Monsanto's claimed/claiming about Roundup & glysophate. Rarely a mention of the IBT scandal years ago. IBT was a lab often used to 'test' pesticides re: safety. Turned out IBT often didn't do the work it was supposed to do, but issued analytic reports re: "safety", etc. anyway. , EPA never required the corporations whose pesticides/herbicides hadn't been properly tested by IBT to provide accurate analysis/testing performed by a different lab before approving temporary or permanent registration, and worked w/Congress to exempt those chemicals from having to be retested/to continue registration. See pp. 134 to 198, A Bitter Fog: Herbicides and Human Rights, by Carol Van Strum, for a more in depth description of the IBT scandal and EPA's failure to protect the US public (and Canada's response--at the time, Canada generally relied upon US testing/EPA's actions).


Yes, it will be interesting to see what EPA has to say.

I didn't know about Carol Van Strum's book. I'll get it.

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