Dubai: Pesticide experts are warning people not to attempt pest control themselves and instead go through reputable firms after a 10-year-old Pakistani boy died in Sharjah on Friday from suspected toxic gas poisoning.
The boy’s twin sister and parents were also hospitalised after inhaling toxic gas from black market pesticides that had leaked out of an adjacent apartment in Al Nahda.
Dinesh Ramachandran, technical safety, health and environment manager at Rentokil Pest Control UAE, said: “These industrial strength pesticides are available for use only by professionals, but even they need approval from the ministry to use them.
The general public have to check with their municipality to get a list of licenced companies, they should never attempt to do pest control by themselves.
“They are meant to be kept in airtight containers and used only in enclosed areas for a period of time until controlled fumigation is complete, because they are highly toxic.
“You can’t buy them off the shelves, but unfortunately some rogue operators and traders, who don’t know about the safety regulations, are obviously passing them on.
“The general public have to check with their municipality to get a list of licenced companies, they should never attempt to do pest control by themselves. These are toxic chemicals and it’s only the trained technician that makes them safe,” he added.
Pillamari Pramod, managing director of Universal Pesticides Trading and Services, agreed: “Pest control is up there with health, we’re next to doctors, in terms of getting dosages right, and advising how many hours to vacate the property for.
Some of these unlicensed firms however are either using or passing on industrial strength fumigation tablets intended for commercial use. To use them for residential use is 100 per cent wrong.
“Unfortunately people try to do this on the cheap, but this is not from trained individuals who are monitored and approved by the municipality. Instead of Dh400 a flat they are paying Dh150.
“Some of these unlicensed firms however are either using or passing on industrial strength fumigation tablets intended for commercial use. To use them for residential use is 100 per cent wrong.
“The municipality should conduct seminars and distribute flyers to tell people to refrain from using random companies or trying to do it themselves to get away from this unwanted problem.”
Both agreed good checks and balances were already in place for licenced operators by the municipality, to ensure such situations would never arise, including an ID card system for technicians to show to the building’s watchman to prove they were from a licenced firm delivering an authorised service. However, both agreed industrial strength pesticides meant for commercial use were still finding their way into residential properties due to rogue elements.