June 2015

Watchdog group raises alarm over unregistered aerosol insecticides

An environmental watchdog group in the Phillipines warned against buying unregistered household pesticides, mostly from China, and urged the Food and Drugs Administration, which earlier issued advisories against the products, to take urgent action to stop their proliferation.

The EcoWaste Coalition listed 14 of the illegal products, all aerosol sprays, which the group said contain “cypermethrin”:

  1. Angel Insecticide Aerosol (Lemon)
  2. Angel Insecticide Aerosol (Rose)
  3. Bidia Aerosol Insecticide
  4. Baolilai Aerosol Insecticide
  5. General Toad Aerosol Insecticide
  6. Jin Ma Insect Killer (Jasmine)
  7. Jin Ma Insect Killer (Sunflower)
  8. Kingever Aerosol Insecticide
  9. Kingever Insect Killer
  10. Palaka Insecticide Aerosol
  11. Sargent Mosquito, Flying Insects and Small Crawling Insects Killer
  12. Power Boss Aerosol Insecticide
  13. Tang Shi Insect Killer
  14. Tianshi Insect Killer

FDA Advisory 2015-001, issued this January against three of the products, described cypermethrin as “a broad spectrum insecticide which kills target and non-target beneficial insects as well as susceptible animals, especially aquatic organisms.”

The agency first issued a warning on the insecticides in 2013, “FDA Advisory No. 2013-031 || Public Health Warning on Buying Unregistered Toxic Household Insecticides in the Market.”

However, EcoWaste said it found out that the sale of Baolilai, Big Bie Pai and Tianshi insect sprays, the subjects of the FDA’s January 2015 advisory, “goes on unabated, making a brazen mockery of the government’s regulation,” during test buys in Caloocan, Makati, Manila, Marikina, Pasay and Quezon cities from June 10-13.

“More disturbingly, we have seen new brands of cypermethrin-containing insect killers mushrooming at popular bargain hubs such as Baclaran, Divisoria and Quiapo.  All of these come in tall colorful aerosol cans with some items even deceivingly showing angel and cherub images on the labels,” Thony Dizon, coordinator of EcoWaste’s Project Protect, said.

“The unchecked sale of aerosol insecticides with cypermethrin as an active ingredient by retailers in public markets, sidewalks and budget shopping malls has become a ubiquitous sight as if these products are legal and safe,” Dizon said.

“If we fail to put a stop to this dangerous trade, we might end up wiping out all insects, including the good ones, and even poisoning our children,” he warned.

Dizon cited a 2014 incident reported by the National Poison Management and Control Center at the Philippine General Hospital that involved a three-year old boy who experienced abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea after spraying himself with Big Bie Pai insecticide.

In a letter to the FDA, EcoWaste asked the agency to:

  1. Issue a new public warning to caution consumers against buying unregistered household insecticides, particularly those containing cypermethrin, citing their potential adverse effects to health and the environment and the penalties the will be meted out to violators.
  2. Swoop down on retailers selling the unregistered household insecticides in coordination with the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police.
  3. Enlist the support of business and industry associations to ensure that the unauthorized household insecticides are not offered for sale in shopping malls, public markets and in the streets.
  4. Put out paid announcements in print and broadcast media to ensure that the FDA’s public health warning against toxic household insecticides reaches every Filipino’s home.

The group also asked the Bureau of Customs to intercept the entry of the hazardous goods.