EcoWaste Coalition Finds More Unregistered Household Insecticides in the Market, Cautions Public from Using Insect Killers from China with Cypermethrin

The EcoWaste Coalition, a chemical safety and zero waste advocacy group, has cautioned the public against  using unregistered insect killers after finding six brands of household insecticides with cypermethrin as an active ingredient.

Taking its cue from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) which recently ordered the seizure of cypermethrin-containing Baolilai, Big Bie Pai and Tianshi aerosol insecticides, the EcoWaste Coalition’s AlerToxic Patrol went to Divisoria and Santa Cruz, Manila last Friday and Saturday to look for similar insecticides imported from China that are illegally sold without authorization from the FDA.

“Apart from finding aerosol insect killers already forbidden by the FDA, we found six other brands of cypermethrin-containing insecticides that should be banned and taken off store shelves without delay,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

These six brands of imported household insecticides, sold for P75 to P90 each and packaged in tall colorful aerosol cans with net weight of 750 ml and with cypermethrin content ranging from 0.05% to 0.15% as stated on the labels, include Angel Insecticide Aerosol, Boclliai Aerosol Insecticide, Kingever Aerosol Insecticide, Kingever Insect Killer,  Power Boss Aerosol Insecticide and Txaksi Insect Killer.

In addition, the EcoWaste Coalition also found three variants of Brother Powerful Insecticide with no cypermethrin content, but like the above-mentioned insecticides had no FDA market authorization.

The group yesterday alerted the FDA of its findings through an e-mail.

“The public should know that these insecticides are dangerous to human and environmental health and should desist  from bringing them into their homes where these products can present real hazard, especially to young children,” Dizon said.

Dizon sought the cooperation of the Bureau of Customs to prevent the entry of such dangerous insecticides into the country’s ports as he called upon importers and retailers to abide by the law and discontinue the illicit trade.

Cypermethrin, according to the FDA advisory, “is a broad spectrum insecticide which kills target and non-target beneficial insects as well as susceptible animals, especially aquatic organisms.”

“Effects on test animals include, but are not limited to, reduced fertility and reproductive rate, carcinogenic and co-carcinogenic effects through topical route, and systemic genotoxicity in mammals as it causes DNA damage in vital organs,” the FDA said.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has classified cypermethrin as a possible human carcinogen.

According to a fact sheet published by the Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PANAP), cypermethrin is the "most frequent child chronic pesticide exposure in UK," "children have been poisoned in Nicaragua and Mexico"and that "death from contaminated food has occurred." 

In the Philippines, the UP National Poison Management and Control Center reported  that a three-year old boy accidentally sprayed himself in August 2014 with Big Bie Pai insecticide and experienced abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.

Symptoms of poisoning with cypermethrin include dizziness, nausea, headaches, burning skin, tingling, anorexia, muscle twitching, seizures  and coma, the PANAP said.

As for its environmental effects, cypermethrin is highly toxic to fish, algae and aquatic invertebrates, as well as to bees, beneficial insects and earthworms, the PANAP said, adding that in terms of environmental fate cypermethrin is a severe marine pollutant, is persistent in soil and has the potential for bio-accumulation.