JEDDAH: Another case of the use of industrial-grade insecticides has claimed lives after being used in a domestic setting.
Two Ethiopian brothers in Jeddah died and their mother is in intensive care after the family used an insecticide containing ammonium phosphate — a product that is not supposed to be sold in the Kingdom for domestic use but is available as an agricultural product.
Dr. Kidr Abdul Al-A’al from the hospital said that the poisoning came from ammonium phosphate. The head of the medical affairs in Jeddah, Dr. Sami Badawood, told Al-Madinah daily that they have distributed a number of brochures that warn against such insecticides.
The head of the Civil Defense in Jeddah, Muhammad Al-Ghamdi, said that they have formed a committee consisting of members of the Civil Defense, the municipality, the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Agriculture with the aim of cracking down on the sale of these insecticides.
Arab News has toured around a number of agricultural-supply stores that sell various insecticides. When asked, vendors have said the products are no longer available. One salesman admitted the product is available, but warned that the product should not be used at home, citing reports in the local media of deaths that have occurred. The salesman then offered a different brand to Arab News that also contained ammonium phosphate and cost less than SR25.
The product contains warnings on the label written only in Arabic that states the dangers of its use, including the inhalation of the fumes.
Agricultural officials have warned local agricultural-supply stores about the sale of this pesticide.
The death of two Ethiopian boys is only one of a series of stories that appeared in the media of people who use industrial pesticides at home, causing deaths. Arab News reported previously about a Pakistani father who lost three of his children after he purchased the insecticide.
Last September two children died in Jeddah after their neighbor used an insecticide in his home before leaving on vacation. The fumes spread outside the apartment and six families were evacuated from the building, according to police reports. In August 2007 two Egyptian sisters died in Jeddah of the same insecticide. In October 2007 a Filipino woman died due to inhalation of ammonium phosphate.