According to a press release issued (September 16, 2020) the DEC's Bureaus of Pesticides Management and Law Enforcement receives numerous calls every year regarding the misuse of mothballs.

They receive complaints that mothballs are being used to repel domestic pets and wildlife in neighborhoods.

They want to remind people that mothballs like other pesticides must be used in accordance to their directions. According to the DEC release, mothball's labeling states that they must be used in tightly closed containers to kill clothes moths and other fabric pests. It goes on to say that mothballs are not effective in keeping unwanted visitors out of yards, gardens, interior walls of building and that includes drop ceiling.

The NYS DEC also want the public to realize that using mothballs in any manner not listed on the pesticide label is dangerous and illegal. The press release includes this information:

Why Should I Be Concerned? 

  • Mothball active ingredients are either paradichlorobenzene or naphthalene. 
  • The vapors from mothballs are toxic. 
  • Incorrect use and long-term exposure may cause health problems, harm children, and contaminate soil, water, and plants 

You can visit the National Pesticide Information Center for more on mothballs and their proper use. You can also contact pestmgt@dec.ny.gov or call 518-402-8746.