Deadly pesticide sparks campaign

The Dubai Municipality has launched an awareness campaign against the dangerous pesticide, aluminium phosphide, after its illegal use led to several hospitalisations including some deaths this year.

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Published: Tue 20 Nov 2012, 12:49 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 1:28 PM

The Department of Public Health Services will print at least 50,000 leaflets to warn the public against the pesticide, generally referred to as “bomb”.

The substance, banned for use in residential buildings is often used for eliminating bed bugs.

Hisham Abdul Rahman Al-Yahya, Head of the Pest Control Section for the Department of Public Health Services, said: “We want people in Dubai and other emirates to be safe. Apart from distributing these awareness materials in Dubai, we are teaming up with the Ministry of Health to distribute the same in key areas in other emirates.”

The misuse of the pesticide can give off highly toxic phosphine gases, often resulting in illness and in some cases, death. “Consumers obtain aluminium phosphide from illegal sellers, who are neither licensed nor qualified to sell or use this product. They pack it in cheap plastic bags with no warning labels on them,” Al Yahya said.

Senior Pest Control Studies Specialist Dr El Mahi El Tilib Gubran said there were at least five cases of hospitalisation due to pesticide poisoning linked to aluminium phosphide reported in Dubai this year.

In Dubai, the death of a nine-year-old boy in April was suspected to have been caused by the pesticide and in Sharjah, the link to the killer pesticide was conclusively established when toddler Habiba died in September.

Several other cases from the emirate were also linked to the deadly pesticide, prompting the awareness campaign by civic authorities in both the emirates.

The Director of Public Health Services Department, Dr Zuhoor Hussain Al Sabbagh, said aluminium phosphide has been registered by the Ministry of Water and Environment for restricted use in specific areas and only by licensed specialists.

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