Say no to killer pesticides aluminium phosphide in homes

DUBAI A leading pest control company has intensified its public awareness campaign against the indiscriminate use of pesticides in UAE homes after a newborn baby died from inhaling toxic gas from a neighbouring apartment in Sharjah recently.

The Syrian boy, 21 days old, died of suspected aluminium phosphide poisoning in Al Nadha, while his sister, 3, and parents were rushed to hospital after inhaling the fumes which reached their apartment from an adjacent flat where the pesticide was used.

Sean Baker of National Pest Control (NPC) said aluminium phosphide pellets and tablets are approved only for controlled commercial use in food, storage and agricultural facilities. “This product cannot be used in residences. It is a highly toxic fumigant which turns into an invisible gas that penetrates through cracks, crevices, doors and AC ducts into non-targeted areas. Inhalation of this gas results in respiratory distress, nervous system shutdown and even death,” he said.

Strict controls

He said the public should understand that this product cannot be handled by laymen. “There are strict controls on the import of this product and there is no way a common man can get hold of it except through unscrupulous sources and unethical means. The authorities have very tight controls but there is a missing link here and the product is somehow getting into the wrong hands,” he said.

As a step towards tackling this menace, he said: “Individual landlords should allow only certified and licensed companies to do pest control in their buildings and educate tenants on the dangers of do-it-yourself exercises. It’s not about the product, but how it is used and who uses it.”

NPC Technical Manager Dinesh Ramachandran said aluminium phosphide cannot be handled casually. “Licensed companies make a thorough risk assessment of targeted areas, barricade them, place warning notices and restrict access when they handle the pesticide. They wear full face respirators and are trained and equipped to handle the pesticides. They also digit-ally check for leakages and are trained to handle any untoward development.”

He said the pesticide comes in the form of 3gm tablets, each of which releases 1gm of gas which is sufficient to prove fatal.

He said residents should be aware that pests can be controlled without chemicals. “Identifying the source and removing it is often very effective in the control of cockroaches, ants, fruit flies and other pests. Proper food hygiene and waste management and other preventive measures go a long way in dealing with these pests.”

Post date: 19 Mar 2015

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