The use of pesticides to control house pests is an everyday occurrence and usually safe. However, people should learn about the consequences that can come from using pesticides without proper supervision. Use of certain pesticides without the right kind of protection or precautions can cause a variety of health and safety risks for the occupants and others nearby. Because many pesticides feature a high toxicity, the consequences can easily be fatal when misused or mishandled.
Authorities are growing concerned over increasing instances involving aluminium phosphide as a pesticide. The Pest Control Section of the Dubai Municipality recently recorded several cases of suffocation stemming from the toxic and deadly compound. Aluminium phosphide has proven popular for preventing and stopping rat and insect infestation. It is also a compound that is commonly distributed by people who are not licensed to sell or handle the material.
Aluminium phosphide often comes in the form of grey-coloured tablets. According to Hisham Abdul Rahman Al Yahya, head of the Pest Control Section, aluminium phosphide is sold in cheap plastic bags without any warning labels to unsuspecting homeowners. This means that consumers often lack the knowledge about the dangers that are present when using this pesticide.
The danger of aluminium phosphide cannot be overstated. If the compound comes in contact with moisture and air, it can produce deadly phosphine gas that can seriously poison or kill unsuspecting people. As a result, at least eight people died and over 200 poisoned in the UAE during the past two years due to contact with the poisonous gas. Hisham constantly warns consumers against using aluminium phosphide without the proper supervision of a trained person. Zuhoor Hussain Al Sabbagh, Director of the Public Health Services Department, also warns against using the compound without trained officials around to help. According to Zuhoor, "aluminium phosphide should be used only in specific areas by the licensed specialists."
The department offers several educational programs that help homeowners see factors and practices that add to the spread of insects and rodents in their homes. In addition, it also provides education about pesticide use. The programs encourage homeowners to follow instructions and guidelines governing the use of certain pesticides. The department also works to make sure important information such as trade name, manufacturer, expiry, illustrations and safety guidelines for children and first aid are present on the packaging.
Zuhoor states that Local Order No 11 of 2003 on public health and safety of the community to Article 37 prohibits the import and trade of pesticides without permission from the governing authority. Therefore, the use of aluminium phosphide should be restricted to competent professionals with experience in handling the pesticide. Akkad Pest Control is one of the many pest control companies in the Dubai area that are licensed and experienced in properly handling aluminium phosphide and other types of pesticides. Akkad Pest Control also operates throughout the Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ajman areas. Allowing the proper licensed professionals to handle these toxic pesticides with care can prevent further instances of poisoning and possible death.