UAE | General

12 workers in Sharjah hospitals with suspected pesticide poisoning

Investigation launched after incident at workers accommodation in Sharjah

  • By Aghaddir Ali, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 21:20 September 23, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
  • Mohammad Alal from Bangladesh recovering at the Al Qassimi hospital.

Sharjah: Twelve Asian workers were rushed to Al Qasimi and Al Kuwait hospitals Sunday morning from a workers’ accommodation in Industrial Area 10 in Sharjah with symptoms of suspected pesticide poisoning.

All the workers had earlier complained of dizzy spells and vomiting. It is learnt that workers living in a room adjacent to the one whose occupants reported sick may have used banned chemicals for fumigation.

The workers, who sources say are Bangladeshis, were questioned by Sharjah Police and an investigation is continuing. It is not clear if any charges have been filed against anyone.

Three men whose condition was reported to be more serious than the others were admitted to Al Qasimi Hospital and the rest were admitted to Al Kuwaiti Hospital where they will remain under observation for the next 48 hours, Dr Safiya Al Khaja, a doctor at Al Qasimi Hospital, told Gulf News.

Authorities initially suspected the workers were suffering from food poisoning, but hospital officials said they believed chemical poisoning from banned pest control products may be responsible.

Doctors initially treated the case as food poisoning but on speaking to the affected men, were told that  workers in the neighbouring room at the workers accommodation had used pesticides.

“Many of the workers vomited and some fainted,” said Asif, a Pakistani foreman of a furniture factory four of whose employees took ill. “We found four pieces of pesticide in the neighbouring room,” he said.

Hospital officials said only licensed and certified companies are permitted to administer pest control products in the UAE, and the municipality must approve each professional. “This is an education issue. People have to know what to do before and after treatment,” Dr Safiya said.

Earlier this month, two-year-old Habiba Hesham Abdul Rahman died after exposure to pesticides. Her brother Abdul Rahman was left critically ill in hospital but has since made a recovery. Seven suspects have been arrested for running unlicensed pesticide companies. “Controlling pests is really the job of experts,” Dr Safiya said.

The hospitalised workers are suspected to have been poisoned by aluminium phosphide, a highly toxic substance used to kill insects and rodents.

Comments (5)

  1. Added 13:59 September 24, 2012

    I think its high time the authorities take immediate steps for this bugs menace. It prevails in UAE in general. Everyone has this bugs problem at home. With Centralised AC its always dangerous if a neighbour does pesticide.....

    shanti, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 13:08 September 24, 2012

    I REQUEST AUTHORITY TO TAKE SERIOUS ACTION AGAINST UN-LICENSED PEST-CONTROL CO. EVERDAY I FIND IN MY ENTRANCE DOOR OF MANY PEST CONTROL PUBLISHMENTS. HOW CAN WE KNOW THE BEST AND SAFEST PEST CONTROL CO? INSTEAD TAKING THESE TENSIONS, ITS BEST NOT TO DO.

    RUPESH KOSALRAM, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 10:32 September 24, 2012

    With so many insects in Dubai the pesticides are progressively increasing day by day! There must be a solution for this.

    Paula, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 10:09 September 24, 2012

    When will this stop? Can someone please list those banned pesticides so people will be aware as well.

    RPG, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 09:50 September 24, 2012

    For sure it's annoying when you hear the same story being repeated because these guys holding an authorised company should be jailed since they know very well they are not doing the right thing. In my flat i suspected the smell of bedbug pesticide since its very strong when i switch on the AC. I felt very bad since i have an infant and i had to open the window and then switch on the AC and i left the flat for 1hr. You know i keep asking myself what i know in uae they are very strict but how come these people are still managing to do these kind of things? how many ppeople we will looe beause of them? Please health authorities do something to end this dangerous game...so scared.

    becky, sharjah, United Arab Emirates

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