Watchdog Calls on Government to Ban Harmful Insect Repellents as Bulgaria Recalled PH-Made Mothballs

An environmental and health watchdog today
called on the government to review its regulation on naphthalene mothballs
after a European country ordered their withdrawal from the market.

“The withdrawal in Bulgaria of mothballs imported from the Philippines should
be a wakeup call for makers and users of naphthalene-based pest control
products,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project

“Despite the health concerns that prompted European countries to ban naphthalene
balls, these cheap repellents against moths and silverfish bugs are still
widely available in the local market,” he pointed.

“Our market surveillance shows that naphthalene balls are sold in formal stores
in packs that say ‘naphthalene may cause hemolytic crisis,’ or the rapid
destruction of large numbers of red blood
cells causing acute anemia,” he said.

“On the other hand, those sold by street vendors are simply packed in clear
plastic bags with zero product labels or health warnings,” he noted.

The European Union, which includes Bulgaria, has banned naphthalene mothballs
as a moth repellent product since 2008.

Citing information from the European Union’s Rapid Alert System for Non-Food
Dangerous Products (RAPEX), the EcoWaste Coalition said that Bulgaria recently
withdrew from the market the “Bug-Off Naphthalene Balls” imported from the

“The product poses a chemical risk because it contains pure naphthalene, which
is toxic by inhalation, ingestion and dermal absorption,” according to a
notification published on the RAPEX’s website last December 27.

“The marketing of naphthalene products is prohibited according to Regulation
(EC) No 2032/2003, Regulation (EU) No 528/2012 and Commission Decision
2008/681/EC,” it said.

The “Naphthalene General Information” published by UK’s Health Protection
Agency (HPA) warned that “naphthalene is toxic by all routes of exposure,
whether it is ingested, inhaled or comes into contact with skin and eyes.”

“Breathing fumes containing naphthalene, drinking solutions or swallowing solid
naphthalene can cause nausea, vomiting, pain in the abdomen, diarrhea,
confusion, sweating, fever, fast heart rate, rapid
breathing and may lead to convulsions, coma and possibly death,” the HPA said.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified naphthalene as a
possible human carcinogen.

“As a precaution against health-damaging exposure, we urge the authorities to
impose a ban on the use of naphthalene and other hazardous substances such as
paradichlorobenzene for pest control,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.



(please click Report 51)