Post by email@example.com
When did mothballs become napthalene?
When this movie was made, i.e. when I was a kid, what we called ‘mothballs’ was formaldehyde in some sort of plasticizer / solidifier that ‘melted’ over time ... I’m guessing a sublimation of the volatile bits, with the only residual being the horrific smell left on the wool clothing, but it was the only reliable way to keep moths from eating up your winter wardrobe so people just dealt with smelling as though they’d just come from the morgue.
Mothballs were never made from formaldehyde. They used to be napthalene
(sometimes with camphor), which smells a bit like formaldehyde. Later
some used dinitrobenzene; but not for much longer.
Napthalene mothballs have been banned in the EU for about 10 years,
dinitrobenzene is likely to be banned soon.
Modern mothballs contain things with lots of numbers in their very long
names, like 2,3,4,5-tetraflourobenzyl
really a thing in mothballs) which no-one has gotten round to banning,
or even properly investigating, yet.
-- Peter Fairbrother