Silent ‘killer’

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Toxic chemicals which are harmful to human beings have been found in the mosquito coil Godzilla.

Traders have been bringing this mosquito repellent from Myanmar in huge quantities since a decade back and it practically becomes a household name. A packet costs approximately Rs 30 and contains 10 coils. Its use is widespread in many households and very popular in all the districts of the state.

The company Godzilla, Anti-Mosquito Products manufacturing plant is established in the year 2001, under the license of Myanmar Pesticide Registration Board, Ministry of Agriculture. It is owned by Myanmar Citizen. 101/102, Cherry St., Ind. Zone (1), Shwe Pyi Tha Tsp, and manufactured by Diesel King Company Ltd.

According to experts, the most common active ingredients in coils are various pyrethroids, such as allethrin, d-allethrin, pynamin forte and ETOC. Octachlorodipropylether (S-2) is sometimes used as a synergist or active ingredient and as such use of such coils exposes humans to the levels of bis-chloromethyl ether (BCME), which is an extremely potent lung carcinogen. Some imported mosquito coils contain this chemical and is banned in many countries.

Other compounds, released during the burning of mosquito coils (aldehydes, formaldehydes, fine and ultrafine particles,benzene, benzo [a] pyrene, benzo [b] fluoranthene, benzo [k] fluoranthene are also classified as probable human carcinogens. Some of these chemicals are said to be partly insecticides and some found in the Godzilla mosquito coil.

Such chemical use is to be regulated under the Indian Insecticide act, 1968. A main chemical called meperfluthrin, a toxic chemical is used in the Godzilla coils which is very harmful to humans is a major cause for lung cancer, according to experts.

Mosquito coils burn for about 4/5 hours without flame and kill or repel mosquitoes. Although they are recommended for outdoor use or for use in semi-enclosed patios and porches, coils are often used overnight in sleeping quarters.

As a result people are exposed to a chemically complex mosquito-coil smoke containing small particles, metal fumes and vapours that may reach the alveolar region of the lung.

Burning of one mosquito coil would release the same amount of particulate matter as burning 75-137 cigarettes, the emission of formaldehyde from burning one coil can be as high as that released from burning 51 cigarettes.

It may be mentioned that certain consumable and non-consumable products coming from Myanmar contain unregulated chemicals including canned fish, other coloured edible items, etc.

The authorized products are to be imported by those having an import export license and the product should carry a batch number and expiry date. Many products from Myanmar are unregulated and unsafe for human consumption. The Godzilla coil is also another main toxic product and is a slow killer.

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