DUBAI // Authorities are warning the public not to use potentially deadly illegal pesticides or hire unlicensed pest-control companies.
Dubai Municipality is concerned about aluminium phosphide (also known as AIP) tablets reaching the open market and has warned against using pesticides in the home without proper supervision.
Aluminium phosphide, most commonly used to kill small rodents and insects, becomes active when it enters the digestive system. However, improper application can cause the tablets to become active in the open air, releasing a highly toxic, odourless gas.
"This pesticide, when placed in warm and moist areas, will release toxic gas," said Eng Hisham Abdul Rahman Al Yahya, head of the public health pest control section.
"The lack of awareness and misuse may result in poisoning and even death."
The death of a two-year-old girl and severe poisoning of her six-year-old brother in September were linked to aluminium phosphide tablets found in a flat opposite the family's home in Sharjah.
"Aluminium phosphide is usually in the form of grey coloured tablets. Illegal sellerspack it in cheap plastic bags with no warning labels on them," said Eng Al Yahya.
Zuhoor Hussain Al Sabbagh, director of public health services, said: "All pesticides should comply with the specifications approved by the department.
"Aluminium phosphide has been registered by the Ministry of Water and Environment for use in specific areas and only by licensed specialists.
"People should contact the public health pest control section to obtain a list of pest control companies licensed by the municipality," added Ms Al Sabbagh.
Further information can be obtained by calling the Dubai Municipality hotline on 800900.