NAFDAC bans use of Methyl Bromide for pest control in crops

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has banned the use of Methyl Bromide as a fumigant in agro pest control.

The agency announced the ban on Wednesday on its website.

According to the statement signed by the Director-General of NAFDAC, Moji Adeyeye, Methyl Bromide is toxic and dangerous to human health.

As a result, the agency has advised the general public and in particular agro-dealers on the ban of the use of the chemical as a fumigant in pest control.

Methyl Bromide is a colourless, odourless noncorrosive and non-flammable substance. It is highly toxic to a broad spectrum of insects from egg to the adult stage.

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Mrs Adeyeye said the chemical is not meant to be in the country because Nigeria phased it out in January 2015.

“Nigeria effected the phase-out of Methyl Bromide by January 2015 and since then the product has not been permitted for importation into the country.”

According to her, the agency got information that some “unscrupulous individuals have been illegally importing Methyl Bromide for use as a pesticide in Nigeria.”

She said NAFDAC was carrying out surveillance to identifying the illegal importers. He said those caught would be severely sanctioned in line with extant laws.

The DG, however, warned farmers, exporters of agricultural produce and agro-input dealers to desist from using Methyl Bromide as a pesticide.

“Safer alternatives are available. Contact nearest NAFDAC office for advice on safer alternatives

“Anybody in possession of Methyl Bromide should submit it to the nearest NAFDAC office, she said.

Methyl Bromide was used extensively as a pesticide until being phased out by most countries in the early 2000s.

It was primarily used as fumigants in stored product pest management.

Methyl bromide is often used as a gas fumigant against insects, termites, rodents, weed, nematodes and soil borne diseases.

It can also be used to fumigate agricultural commodities, grains, elevators, mills, ships, clothes, furniture and greenhouses.

The substance was banned because it is a Class I Ozone Depleting Substance (ODS).

It depletes the Ozone layer due to the release of bromine atom upon the break down of the molecule.

Methyl Bromide is a scheduled chemical under the Montreal Protocol for Substances that Depletes the Ozone Layer and was placed on a Phase-out Procedure from 2001.

Methyl Bromide is also an extremely toxic vapour.

In humans, brief exposure to high concentrations and prolonged inhalation of lower concentrations are problematic.

Methyl Bromide is readily absorbed through the lungs. Most problems occur as a result of inhalation.

At varying exposure level, it can lead to death depending on the duration of exposure. It is a dangerous cumulative poison.

According to the statement, first symptoms often are due to damage to the nervous system and may be delayed from 48 hours to as long as several months after exposure.

“This delay, combined with methyl bromide’s lack of odour, means that the victim may not realize that exposure is occurring until much time has passed,” it said.

Source:  Ayodamola Owoseye, Premium Times

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