RaidpackHow inconclusive PBO research threatens millions of Third World lives

The ineffectiveness of Raid ‘ONE-SHOT’ against house flies looks like the result of two things: alarmist medical research about fly sprays; and a less than honest marketing policy by SC Johnson, the producers of the brand. The Slog investigates, and concludes we may have proliferated the house fly population by the use of a spectacular own-goal.

Ask a sample of consumers about the relative health hazard of flies and cockroaches, and they will say cockroaches are infinitely more dangerous. But they would be wrong: the World Health Organisation reckons flies are thirty times more dangerous. The humble house fly is responsible for millions of Third World infant deaths per year as a result of dehydration caused by diarrhoea.

flyBut the fly has been able to gain resistance to fly sprays in recent years. This is a comment from 2011 on the comment thread of games-freak supplier Facepunch:

‘….a few must have been improperly sprayed, and survived the toxicity of the Raid, and i’m assuming that they laid their mutant maggots somewhere unseen, for this morning i woke to find more flies than usual…
HOWEVER, amongst the healthy flies that were drifting around the kitchen, vomiting all over our food, were some rather odd looking “pods”, weird flies that didn’t make any sense to me at all, so i treated them like flies: with a full-on blast of Raid to the fly.Alas, amongst the chorus of buzzing, these strange flies seemed immune to the spray, some of them died but most didn’t…. One of them is healthy enough to fly, so i have to keep an eye on this jar and make sure that fly doesn’t find another to mate with, or we’ll have a new species of fucking epic flies!!!’

As I type this post now, there are seven flies on my laptop screen. They seem to thrive on Raid One-Shot.

In fact, what seems to have happened is that the flies first mutated into dead ends, but then did mate with healthy flies to produce a new hybrid house/blow fly completely resistant to Raid. I’ve had this problem for three years now here in France: during August and September the house is infested with flies – and none of the major brands work. I’ve tried US, French, German, Greek and Spanish brands.

But Raid is the biggest brand on the planet, and has for years used the advertising strapline ‘Raid Kills Bugs Dead’. The TV campaign in the US by Foot Cone & Belding has won a cupboard full of creative awards over the years. So let’s talk about Raid.

Raid One-Shot in particular is completely ineffective against the common house fly.

The process of immunity seems to have began around the 2006-8 period. Drilling down into the subject suggests it started in southern Europe, reached New Zealand in 2013, and has now spread to every square metre of land on the planet including southern South America.

Yet it needn’t have happened.

A substance called piperonyl butoxide (PBO) was an ever present ingredient in all multinational fly spray brands until researchers at various med schools began studying it. One such project, at the Duke University School of Medicine, got everyone really worried. This is an extract about the report – my emphasis:

‘The testing showed that piperonyl butoxide (PBO) disrupts a biological signaling system that is “critical in neurological development,” the researchers reported in the abstract of their paper, published in the May 2012 edition of the journal Toxicological Sciences. The study found that the disruption of this critical pathway “may be the molecular basis for profound developmental defects in children exposed in utero to PBO.”

The answer – on the basis of one study – was ‘maybe’. Anyway, multinational brands have since removed PBO from their products: look at your can of Raid One-Shot spray, and it will confirm that the substance is 100% absent. Without PBO, it would still have killed flies….just more slowly. But the speed issue has delivered unto us a much bigger problem.

You see, PBO kills flies within ten seconds. That means there is no time to mate and mutate. But when allowed to die slowly post PBO, the affected flies still produced maggots, which begat mutant flies….which mated with healthy flies to produce Supeflies that are completely resistant to the spray.

As Reuters had already reported in 2011, the results of studies so far ‘don’t prove that PBO in itself causes developmental delays’ in children. But SC Johnson, the producers of Raid, said they would ‘review’ the formulation. It looks like they did, and removed the PBO. It also looks like they didn’t bother to tell anyone either, because Google appears to be information-free on the subject. (Cue three anoraks who will now find the announcement: the point is this – did you notice it?)

Yet Raid and its competitors are still being sold worldwide. Based on my experience, they’re all completely ineffective in killing flies, but they sell it and the major supermarkets sell it on. I can’t believe they don’t know it’s useless; so why is Raid One-Shot still in distribution?

If I may I’d like at this point to review some comparative data to see if everyone is now buying a useless product, but at least there’s a good reason for it. Bear in mind from what we know already, PBO is linked to arrested child development in tests, but not causally. Hold those thoughts.

Raid is the world’s Number One pest control spray. It was launched in 1956. Think on that: nearly 60 years ago. During that time, not one consumer has sued the company on the basis of harmful effects of PBO on child development. The company has been sued several times on the basis of other elements in the product making adults ill – but only the pyrethrins and pyrethroids. The cases I’ve reviewed seem to me classic examples of allergies.

Now it could be of course that the reason so many people seem to me dumb today is that their mothers were using Raid One-Shot as an overall body spray during pregnancy some time in 1975. But somehow, I doubt it: if there was a real danger with PBO, we would surely know about it by now. Whereas what we do have is a few scientists saying that there might be.

As a result of this dubious conclusion, by contrast what we now have is a very serious potential problem. Joking apart, flies aren’t just a nuisance: they are a massive health hazard. The house fly Musca domestica alone carries some pathogens on its feet and body which contaminate food easily: The house fly is known to be a contact vector of some deadly diseases, including typhoid fever, dysentery, yaws, salmonella, polio, anthrax, and conjunctivitis.

Raid One-Shot appears, as far as one can ever reasonably prove anything with zero doubt, completely ineffective against this killer: but it continues to be sold without PBO – containing a mix of Prallethrin and D-Phenothrin – and is the World’s Number One brand.

I went to Auchun, Intermarché, Casino and Lidl supermarkets in France last week, and asked for an effective fly killer spray. None of them mentioned the problem of PBO-free products not working. As such.

So I suppose what I’d like is two answers: why have we let a major cause of death proliferate on the basis of unproven laboratory research? And why have we not been told that Raid is ineffective?

Over to you, medical school pointy-heads and SC Johnson.


  1. The best way to avoid house flies from entering is to screen all doors & windows, the material is widely available and if one has not the technique to apply it then others will.
    “It all makes work for the working man to do”


  2. Whoflungdung… excellent piece of kit! Might be a bit smelly inside a house though!
    Perhaps fly papers may be a better Idea than Raid John? Unsightly I know, but effective nonetheless.


  3. good one Wfd… it seems a safe answer to flies.. corporations don’t care if what they sell does what they advertise. most things they say are lies or dangerous.. they are wolves and politicians are letting them feed on tax payers, hence the need for austerity.. Why not avoid dangerous chemicals as much as possible.?


  4. Because, John, because smoking kills everyone; everybody knows that! So why look for anything else?

    Here’s a complete nut on the subject of tobacco smoke…


    Tobacco bans and it’s everso useful Template, utilised to eliminate the practice of smoking tobacco throughout in the world. was, IMHO, the thin end of the wedge. Welcome to the thick end…

    “But… but… but…”

    Nice choice of pix, Click, here have a Song…


  5. I worry more about the medical antibiotics that don’t work any more because the infections have built up resistance.
    In many cases they are down to ‘last resort’ treatments that have serious side-effects.


  6. Why not use an old tea towel to swat/whip/flick them with (obviously don’t dry the dishes with it afterwards…) ? That way you even get a bit of excercise and practise with the old hand-eye co-ordination.

    Once a fly is spotted in our house its life expectancy drops dramatically – it’s probably the only unregulated form of hunting still allowed in blighty and fun for all the family ! I usually open the back door to give them a chance to escape, mind you – I’m very sporting that way.

    /fully expecting door being kicked in at 4am by the newly formed RSPCF for posting this, sigh.


  7. Pester your MP to get the drug companies to research new antibiotics then. I heard they don’t do it because there’s not enough potential profit.


  8. The own goal referred to is a good example of the human response which flies in the face of both sound science and common sense; the well rehearsed arguments regarding antibiotics being a further demonstration of how we sabotage our own efforts to avoid the natural world. Have you tried an insectocutor?


  9. Best answers to any pests is a physical trap; mouse-traps for mice, fly-trap for flies, etc. When I did a stint on an Israeli kibbutz many years ago, I used to wonder why there were virtually none flying around, until I found the traps in a small shady area (which the flies liked, in order to escape the heat) and there were millions of flies in them. Every week, the odd-job chappie used to add a cupful of anything spare that was flammable, and then throw a match on.

    It also helped enormously that the nearest Arab town was only a mile away, and they used to slaughter cows in the street, leaving the intestines on the pavement all day.


  10. ” …….molecular basis for profound developmental defects in children exposed in utero to PBO.”

    Really liebling ? What do they do in your country(ies) ? Spray it up the fallopian tubes to determine gender ?

    We would bever do this to our indigenous populatiobs but …. on the other hand ….abroad ….hmmmmm…….Get me Mengele in Manaus schnell”


  11. Jackie
    New antibiotics will just make it worse. Bill is making a vital point: we ditched immunisation in favour of antibiotics – it was a big mistake: they make the disease mutate, and obliterate our natural defences. Pasteur had the right idea.


  12. Just to say folks, I’ve written an investigative piece about a major scandal and a stupid medical establishment. Judging from the comments, you wouldn’t think so. Heigh-ho.


  13. Mr Slog,

    Thy serious play

    Our thoughtless hands
    Have brushed away.
    Are not we
    As angry as thee?

    Or do we too oft

    Take the pee?

    For we dance

    And drink,
    And sing

    Till some blind hand

    Shall brush our wings.
    If thought is life

    And strength and breath

    And the want 
of thought is death;

    Then are we
    A crappy fly
    If we live,

    Or if we die?

    (With Apols to JAW and William Blake)


  14. But John, the same applies to vaccines as it does to anti-biotics: protect the body from one bug with a vaccine, and the bug will mutate into a form that is vaccine resistant.


  15. It is why I do not use chemicals in my home or my garden; I know that there are areas where I can’t avoid them – like buying organic apples in a plastic bag that’s probably stuffed with all manner of nasties – at least I have an awareness of the problem.


  16. Slightly off topic, but doesn’t this business of spraying insects with pesticides remind you of a government dealing with a problem by printing money – rather than deal with the problem itself? After all, it seems that economic flies are now resistant to being sprayed Quantitative Easing (TM).


  17. John,
    the evolutionary pressure on bacteria, viruii and pest species by medical innovation is well documented. Selling products whose social costs outweigh private profits has been BAU for the last 40 years, increasingly so as corporate ownership of politicians has increased. Perhaps the problem here is most of your commenters are people who don’t routinely use fly sprays, air fresheners, fabric conditioners, anxiety tablets, anti-bacterial wipes, strawberry flavoured antacids, sugarfree gum, etc. etc.
    Have a quality infinitechan thread instead: Ask A Syrian Anything


  18. The best thing for swotting flies, I found, was the Spiderman costume that belonged to one of my boys (when they were little). The thickness of the padding in the shoulders and chest area, coupled with the stretchiness of the material meant no fly was quick enough to escape my swing… they never saw me coming ;)


  19. I appreciate the brevity of the essay but, unfortunately it is just another injustice to add the the myriad of others that we endure on a daily basis, the sole intention of which is to add to the enrichment of others and the detriment of us. Hey Ho.


  20. The 1972 “ban” by the US EPA has been estimated to have caused ~ 50 million deaths, mostly women & children in the 3rd world. A greater holocaust than Hitler caused.
    “ban” is in quote marks because it was never actually banned. 3rd world rulers were just told: “order DDT, you get no foreign aid money.” Foreign aid bribery for NWO depopulation program.


    The EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, motto: Protect the Planet, Kill People, was set up on the much hyped hysteria following Rachel Carson’s 1962 anti-DDT book: “Silent Spring”, which was a hysterical scare story posing as science, exactly akin to the Global Warming, sorry, Climate Change scare stories posing as science.

    The corporate media in collaboration with the Eugenicist Banksters striving for world hegemony & depopulation.


  21. + 1, WFD. I notice the pro-fluoride people have adopted the same refusal to debate tactics of the pro warming/climate change alarmists. This robs them of any credibility, IMHO. Thanks for ref.


  22. So are the sardines, jdseanjd. This might be your silent spring unfolding… which is a strong possibility given the other things that are happening on the Pacific coast – such as algal blooms that are forming as a result of agricultural fertilizer run-off, and starve the water of oxygen – oh, and the hordes of jellyfish that are so closely packed that it looks as if you could walk across the bay on them… these latter creatures are inimical to fish populations.


  23. Antibiotics are substances that kill bacteria or stop their growth. They do not work against viruses.
    Vaccines do work against viruses, by strengthening the human immune system and training it to recognise a virus infection and kill it when it appears.

    It is complicated science, but basically, antibiotics that don’t kill all the bacterial infection (e.g. by stopping treatment too early) train the bacteria to resist the antibiotic, so that gradually the antibiotic becomes less effective.

    Vaccines don’t train viruses in the same way as they train the human immune system to kill viruses. That is how it is possible to make some virus diseases extinct. There are still some viruses that mutate quickly (like flu) and these require new strains of vaccine for protection. But it is not the vaccine that causes the mutations.


  24. I’ve got an idea: why don’t I write an article saying how ghastly a fraud is, then you lot can all variously ignore it, tell me other issues are far more important, go wildly off topic, and offer me links to your own interests?
    Or an even better idea: why not just start your own websites about those interests and one day I can go and visit them?


  25. Pingback: Raiders of the Lost Art | Library of Libraries

  26. I did. And my comment about QE was intended as an extension of your thoughts. The processes are the same, after all… albeit in different realms. That is to say, work with nature, not against it.


  27. There’s little point lamenting the loss of piperazine butoxide to mankind’s eternal battle with the housefly. If it is harmful to unborn children then too bad. Pregnant women are the most insanely paranoid humans imaginable about hygeine – even to the point where they will endanger their own foetus.
    DE’s top tips therefore are
    i) ignore the marketing (you more than anyone should know this)
    ii) red RAID (ant and mosquito killer iirc) is my swear by it insecticide in extremis (kills spiders, flies etc, etc)
    iii) a can lasts me around two years due to my own superior fly management practices:
    a) don’t leave doors wide open – they tend to come in via doors, but leave via windows
    b) don’t leave food lying around uncovered (this one is really important)
    c) if flies do come in, they will eventually get bored of flying around in triangles looking for something to eat and leave via an open window
    d) if they don’t flailing around wildly with a rolled up Private Eye usually gingers them up a bit and encourages them to exit pronto
    e) if that doesn’t work, a period of stalking with said rolled up Private Eye will usually dispatch the fly to a better place
    f) if all else fails reach for the Red RAID.

    What has always puzzled me is that they can evolve so quickly to become resistant to fly spray but have yet to show any sign of evolving to the point that they know better than to piss off humans. Riddle me that one Mr Darwin.


  28. The pesky critters don’t stand much chance against a switched on Dyson with suction pipe fully extended…..(works well on mossies too)…..(and there’s very little chance of them developing resistance)


  29. You wanted to know the US Agenda, Emma? It’s a world domination/depopulation agenda.Try agenda 21 for dummies. Try c3headlines.com
    I don’t know if you will get this, but please reply if you want more info. Cheers, John Doran (jdseanjd)


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