Hospital workers are often helpless when faced with pesticide poisoning.

Industry experts warn that many small shops in Dubai sell pesticides that were banned by the government for being highly dangerous and toxic.

The ministry banned 167 chemicals in 2009 because they could kill people and 32 other substances were regulated so they could only be used by licensed operators.

The warning comes after a series of deadly events where consumers sprayed their homes or apartments with pesticides.

It can also affect residents in nearby places, as the death of two five-month-old babies showed. The boys died after inhaling pesticide fumes from an adjacent flat that had been fumigated.

Using pesticides indoors has long been frowned upon by health authorities because many pesticides have been linked to serious health condition, and death.

Some pesticides banned for high toxicity

One example is methomyl, an insecticide once commonly used on alfalfa grass but now banned because it is too dangerous. Despite the ban, it is sold illegally in many small shops and on the black market in Dubai.

Diazinon, once used to kill cockroaches, ants and fleas, is another example of a banned substance easily available on the black market.
Phostoxin tablets, although not banned for use by professionals, are restricted.

Still, the tablets are finding their way into the hands of the public, who use them without safety measures. The tablets release phosphine gas, which is lethal to many animals even in low concentrations.

False labeling and long-term effects most worrisome

False labeling is another worrying trend in the country. The practice can be dangerous for users, who need to know exactly what substances they are using, especially in cases of emergency.

If pesticides are inhaled or ingested, hospitals check the chemical’s packaging to know exactly what treatment to offer.

While cases of death and grave injury attract the most public attention, the real danger in misusing pesticides lies in the long-term effects.

The fact that a person is not suffering symptoms immediately after handling banned pesticides does not mean they are out of danger. Serious health symptoms can develop years after exposure, and they are difficult to trace back.

Source: The National

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