EcoWaste Coalition: Manila Vendors Defy Ban on Toxic Insecticides

Quezon City.  The government’s public health warning against unregistered household insecticides has so far fallen on deaf ears in Manila.

The EcoWaste Coalition, an advocate for zero waste and chemical safety, made this observation after finding insecticides banned by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) selling like hotcakes in the city’s bargain shopping hubs.

“We are saddened by the vendors’ open defiance to a directive meant to prevent people’s exposure to hazardous substances in synthetic insecticides,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“We urge sellers and buyers of such products to take the government’s health advisory to heart.  To the sellers: please return remaining stocks to your suppliers at once for safe disposal by manufacturers.

To the buyers, please shun pest control products with nasty chemicals that can put the health of your loved ones and pets at risk,” he said.

In an online report sent to the FDA today, the group identified at least 65 retail outlets in malls and streets in Divisoria, Quiapo and Sta. Cruz that sell banned products for exterminating cockroaches, flies and mosquitoes.

Last Wednesday, August 28, the FDA warned the public against buying 9 brands of aerosol insecticides, 7 brands of mosquito coils and 1 brand of insect repellent that the agency had described as “harmful, toxic and imminently dangerous to human and animal health.”

In test buys conducted on September 1, the group’s AlerToxic Patrol managed to buy the following banned anti-insect spray products for P65 to P80 each: 1. Baolilai Aerosol Insecticide, 2) Big Bie Pai Aerosol Insecticide, 3) Big Bie Pai Extra Power Flying Insect Killer, 4) Butiki Water-Based Multi-Insect Killer, 5) General Toad Aerosol Insecticide, 6) Read a Dream Insecticide, 7) Sun Universe Frogking Insecticide Aerosol Lemon, 8) Tianshi Insect Killer, and 9) Wawang Frogking Insecticide Aerosol.

The group also bought banned mosquito coils for P20-P25 per box such as 1) Read a Dream Black Mosquito Repellent Incense Coil, 2) Tianshi Black Mosquito Repellent Incense Coil,  and 3) Wawang Mosquito Coil.

In addition, the group also procured other products not listed in the FDA List of Registered Hazardous Products such as 1) Black Swirl Wind Aerosol Insecticide, P200/can, 2) Kingever Insect Killer Spray, P75/can, 3) Sky Warriors Aerosol Insecticide, P100/can, and 4) Grand Lion Yao Lengen Micro-Smoke Mosquito Repellent Incense, P20/box.

Based on the group’s market surveillance, the dangerous insecticides are sold far and wide in Manila and are often seen on top of display counters and on store shelves and floors.

Numerous stalls at 11/88 Shopping Mall, 168 Shopping Mall, 999 Shopping Mall, 698 Shopping Mall and Lucky Chinatown Mall Annex in Divisoria; Carriedo Center and Manila City Plaza in Quiapo; and Good Earth Plaza in Sta. Cruz were found to be selling the proscribed goods.

Some street vendors in Carriedo, Evangelista, R. Hidalgo and Villalobos Streets, Quezon Boulevard and Rizal Avenue were likewise selling the dangerous insect killers.

To lessen consumer dependence on toxic insecticides, the EcoWaste Coalition reminded the public to adopt ecological ways to cleaning our homes and managing household insects, stressing the need to reduce, if not eliminate, wastes and toxics at home.

Here are some commonsense “Ligtas-Linis” tips from the EcoWaste Coalition for dealing with household pests:

1. To drive cockroaches away, put some raw pandan or tanglad (lemongrass) leaves in cupboards.

2. To make a cockroach trap, half fill a bottle with a sweet drink and add a tablespoon of oil. The sweet drink will attract cockroaches into the bottle, and the oil will prevent them from climbing out. Bury the dead cockroaches afterwards.
3. To repel ants, crumble dry bay leaves in doorways and window sills; or mash chili in water, or mix 1 part vinegar and 1 part water and apply to counter tops; or squeeze calamansi juice into the hole or crack where ants come from.

4. To keep houseflies at bay, scratch the skin of citrus fruits and hang on windows or doors.
5. To fight off mosquitoes,  plant basil, citronella, malvarosa, marigold or tanglad around the house; refrain from using mosquito coil or chemical spray and opt for mosquito net (kulambo) instead.
6. To repel rats, put fresh or dried mint leaves or moisten small balls of cotton wool with clove oil in closets and cupboards.

For more information, please refer to “Debug Your Home the Natural Way: A Quick Guide to Safer Pest Control at Home” at www.panap.net