‘Pesticide cowboys’ killer threat to Dubai residents

Smuggled products on the market not approved by Dubai Municipality

The practice of unauthorised parties – or cowboys - selling services or products to eliminate rodents or insects in residential buildings can lead to poisoning or death, according to experts.

Two cases of poisoning in the month of May alone have led to hospitalisation, due to the unauthorised use of pesticide products.

In 2011, six individuals were caught delivering pesticide control services to unaware residents without having the authority to do so.

“Cases like these could be fatal,” says Motaher Hossain, pest management specialist of the Pest Control Section of Dubai Municipality.

The recent increasing number of cases of pesticide inhalation reported in the emirate of Dubai led the Pest Control Section of Dubai Municipality to raise awareness, warning against the consequences of using pesticides in houses without the proper supervision of concerned authorities.

“All pesticide products can be harmful. It is poison, meant to terminate something. Therefore, it is important only to allow authorised companies or individuals to use these products,” explains Motaher.

Unauthorised parties either sell products, or sell their services to residents facing trouble with rats or insects for attractive prices. They advertise online or by the word of mouth, and people attracted by the good prices feel tempted to accept these offers.

In May this year, two people were hospitalised after they had used aluminum phosphide without proper supervision.

“Consumers buy aluminum phosphide, which is usually in the form of tablets in gray color from individuals not licensed to sell or circulate or not qualified to use them. It is packed in cheap plastic bags with no warning labels on them,” Hisham Abdul Rahman Al Yahya, Head of Pest Control Section said.

“This product is not supposed to be used in residential areas; it is a product used for pest control in warehouses,” explains Motaher. The pesticide reacts with moisture, air, and produces phosphine gas, explains Yahya and improper use of this products may result in poisoning or death.

According to Motaher, the danger is more in the people using the product than in the product itself.

“There are products on the market that are not approved by the authorities. These are smuggled products.
We sometimes find people using products of which the source cannot be traced.

“But, apart from that all products entering the UAE are monitored by the Ministry of Health and approved by Dubai Economic Department (DED).

“Therefore, it is necessary to only allow the use of pest control products by authorised parties.

“These parties can be trusted in using the approved products only, and in applying these products in a responsible way.”

The Pest Control Section of Dubai Municipality urges residents to always check whether the person delivering the service has been approved by DED.

“The person or company in charge should always carry a card which proves of this approval, and they are obliged to present this card. If it is not presented, one should ask for it. Without seeing this card, the service should not be accepted,” says Motaher.

 “This list is updated every month. When companies or individuals do not comply with the rules, they will be taken of this list,” says Motaher.

Residents can consult the Pest Control Section for the list of approved companies or individuals, by calling 800900, or 043474448.

Image from shutterstock

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