31 March 2011

Toxic Watchdog Raises Alarm on "Miraculous Insecticide Chalk"

A group promoting consumer safety from harmful chemicals has sounded the alarm bell over the unregulated sale of “Miraculous Insecticide Chalk” in the local market.

The EcoWaste Coalition warned that the insecticide chalk, considered an “illegal pesticide product” in the USA, is rampantly sold by ambulant vendors in Quiapo and elsewhere as if it is benign and safe.

"Miraculous Insecticide Chalk" is not registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency that regulates household hazardous substances, the group also said.

The "made in China" insecticide chalk is commonly sold in sidewalks or public markets for only P10 per box. Each box contains a white chalk that appears like regular blackboard chalk. The chalk is used to repel and kill ants, cockroaches and other crawling insects.

“While the packaging claims it is ‘safe to use,’ insecticide chalk is a dangerous product that can harm humans, especially children, because of its toxic component,” warned Thony Dizon of the EcoWaste Coalition Project PROTECT (People Responding and Organizing against Toxic Chemical Threats).

“Insecticide chalk contains a toxic pesticide called deltamethrin as active ingredient,” he pointed out.

Deltamethrin has several chemical synonyms including decamethrin, according to the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Pesticide Database.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the EcoWaste Coalition said, considers deltamethrin as “one of the most toxic pesticides of its kind” and advises consumers that “insecticide chalk should be avoided at all times.”

Toxipedia, the free toxicology encyclopedia, describes deltamethrin as “the most powerful and therefore the most toxic of the synthetic pyrethroid pesticide.”

The EPA is principally concerned about insecticide chalk because young children may mistake the insecticide for blackboard chalk. “Children often take it in their hands, write with it and put it in their mouths,” the EPA said.

According to the EPA, overexposure to some chemicals found in samples of insecticide chalk can provoke serious health effects, including vomiting, stomach pains, convulsions, tremors, and loss of consciousness. Serious allergic reactions are also possible. Several children in the US have been hospitalized in the past after eating insecticide chalk.

As a concrete measure to ward off potential poisoning incidents due to the ingestion of insecticide chalk, the EcoWaste Coalition urges the authorities to stop the importation and sale of the toxic anti-pest chalk.

To repel ants, cockroaches and other household insects the non-toxic way, the EcoWaste Coalition recommends the following practical steps:

1.Remove the attraction that draws ants and roaches: store food leftovers in containers with tight-fitting lids, sweep up crumbs and scraps, compost organics, and wash recyclables with grey water before tossing them into the recycling bin.

2.Use warm soapy water to wipe clean kitchen counters, cupboards, appliance surfaces and the like where sticky hands or food/drink spills may have left some insect-drawing residues.

3.Fix leaking and dripping water from the pipes, especially leaky pipes under the wash basin that attract roaches in.

4. Squeeze calamansi into holes or cracks, or seal them, to remove insect access into your home.

5. Create barriers to keep insects out such as spreading cucumber peels in places where ants enter or applying garlic or chili paste to shut them out.

6. Mix equal parts of baking soda and sugar and scatter around the area where roaches go.

-end-


Reference:

http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/illegalproducts/chalk.htm

http://toxipedia.org/display/toxipedia/Deltamethrin

http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_Chemical.jsp?Rec_Id=PC33475

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