Authorities urge J'cans not to use the imported insect killer labelled 119
Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer
The Caribbean Poison Information Network (CARPIN) is warning the public not to purchase or use the imported pesticide labelled 119 which has been finding favour with householders because of its instant knockout effect on pests.
"The implications can be adverse on health depending on the active ingredient; however, for this particular pesticide, toxicity has to do with ingesting, inhaling and absorbing an overwhelming amount in the body," Sherika Whitelocke-Ballingsingh, poison information coordinator at CARPIN told The Sunday Gleaner.
CARPIN is also concerned that the chemical listed as an antidote on the product could cause more harm than good.
"In terms of the Atropine that is stated on the label as an antidote, this should be used under certain circumstances ... as it could have an adverse impact on the person's health," said Whitelocke-Ballingsingh.
While the manufacturer's claim that the pesticide "can kill the vermin by touching or poisoning rapidly", the Pesticides Control Authority (PCA), which brought the matter to public attention, is especially concerned about the claim that "the effect can last more than 90 days".
Michael Ramsay, registrar of PCA, says such long-lasting impact, especially for a product which is colourless and odourless, could mean that householders are inhaling and being affected without being aware of the damage.
The potential for children to ingest the product is another major concern.
Ramsay noted that the package is the size of a pack of peanuts and could be easily mistaken for a snack, especially by a child.
"The directions for use are far from adequate and although the package has only insects on the front, I have heard that it is also being sold on the street as a rat killer," said Ramsey.
The public needs to beware of any product that has the label front totally in a foreign language as it could never be an approved product.
The product is not registered by the Pesticides Control Authority and, therefore, not approved for use in Jamaica.
There is no information on the package about the active ingredient, without which the product's potential hazard to health and the environment cannot be determined.
Based on the strange information about the date of expiration ('two years' rather than giving a date), it is also prudent to assume that the product has expired. This assumption is supported by the production date seen on a package - 2009, which would mean the product expired in 2011.