NORTH FORK, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Salmon-Challis National Forest officials are warning boaters not to use mothballs around their vehicles.
Rangers working around the Corn Creek Boat Launch site say they've observed an increasing number of visitors spreading mothballs out under their vehicles. The practice is thought to deter marmots and mice from causing damage to unattended vehicles.
But, they say the mothballs actually pose a danger to visitors, employees, and wildlife.
According to the National Pesticide Information Center, mothballs are nearly 100% active ingredient of either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. Each can cause different health effects if exposure is high enough. They say that mothballs slowly turn from solids to toxic vapor, so if you can smell mothballs, you are inhaling the insecticide.
Mothballs can be dangerous if chewed or swallowed and children, pets and wildlife may mistake them for something tasty. Even one can cause serious harm if eaten by a small child.
On the forest, the use of mothballs is against federal law. Using any pesticide except for personal use as an insect repellant or by special-use authorization is a violation.