Mothballs are insecticides that slowly give off a toxic gas that kills moths and other insects. They are meant to be used in closed, airtight containers so the fumes they produce are trapped. If mothballs are used in the open, they can harm people, pets, or wildlife that may touch or eat the mothballs or breathe their vapors. It is illegal to use mothballs for any other purpose or to use any method of applying them not specified on the product label.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has issued a compliance advisory to educate the public on the proper use of mothballs.