Illegal mosquito repellent incense sticks are dangerous and poisonous, think before you buy them | Health News

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COVID-19 scare is for real. Humanity across the world is dealing with an unprecedented challenge, affecting families and loved ones. We want to be safe and healthy. 

In such an hour, one doesn’t want to face more trouble. But do you know there is a real threat lurking at your home, which can put your and your family’s health in danger? 

Well, it’s the season of malaria and dengue and it is natural to use cheap and low-cost mosquito repellent incense sticks at home to protect your loved ones. However, it’s a big mistake. These incense sticks that you use can affect the health of your loved ones and is a slow poison.

Please note that we are not talking about your regular agarbattis or fragrance sticks you use at home for pooja/worship, but mosquito repellent incense sticks. While the approved and branded mosquito repellent incense sticks are safe, there are many such incense sticks made by fly by night operators. 

As per Indian Government regulations any household insecticide product including mosquito repellent incense sticks, needs to be approved by Central Insecticide board (CIB).  Rigorous tests of such products are done by the CIB on toxicity and safety.  There are many such companies making spurious or unapproved mosquito repellent incense sticks and people are oblivious of the health hazards. These are locally manufactured with no government approvals. The content of chemicals and pesticides used in such incense sticks differs. Since these illegal incense sticks are laced with chemicals and pesticides, they kill mosquitoes but the smoke of these incense sticks are equally harmful for humans. 

While the sellers and manufacturers of the incense sticks sold under names such as Comfort incense sticks, Relax, Killer, Kwick Sleep, Moonlight, Night Surakhsa claim, that they (repellents) are natural and contain Citronella (lemongrass), when actually they use a non-registered toxic carbamate pesticide called “Fenobucarb”/ Dichlorvos, or similar one. This has been proved by an independent lab test conducted by BTRA (Bombay Textile Research Association) and Geo-chem. This toxic pesticide is used in agarbattis without appropriate authentication from the Central Insecticide Board.

And how does it affect you? 

Let’s hear it from Dr. Shampa Nag, Consultant of Caritas, a grassroots level development and social organisation, said, “Vector-borne diseases like malaria, dengue, chikungunya, etc. remain public health threats in India.   Due to continuing threats of mosquito-borne diseases, people in urban and rural areas look for quick and affordable solutions to protect themselves. That is when spurious and illegal players emerge, manufacturing and selling all kinds of mosquito repellents including incense sticks (agarbattis), which at times even have toxic ingredients like pesticides and other harmful chemicals.  While it is essential to be protected from mosquito bites and possible dreadful diseases, it is sensible to use only government approved formulations & products. Information on appropriate personal protection measures should be widely & persistently promoted, amongst other strategies.”

Any usage of these illegal incense sticks is highly risky for citizens across age groups especially kids and elderly. The toxic pesticide which one inhale can trigger several health issues like asthma, bronchitis, reactive airways disease and other respiratory ailments.
Yes, it is quite scary. 

Given the health threats to people, enforcement actions are carried by government authorities in Telangana, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu. A large cluster of these illegal incense sticks brands and manufacturers are based in these locations. The authorities when raid such institutions, the culprits dodge the law and mushroom someplace else, continuing with their dirty business. 

The consumers should avoid or stop purchasing such illegal and unapproved, toxic mosquito repellent agarbattis for driving mosquitoes out. 

Industry bodies like Home Insect Control Association (HICA), a non-profit making industry body promoting safe use of household insecticides, is waging war t and supporting government against these illegal incense sticks manufacturers. HICA is actively involved in consumer education and carrying out actions. It has recently unveiled a public interest campaign with an awareness film across India so that people shun or avoid buying cheap or illegal mosquito repellent incense sticks non complaint to regulations.  

Jayant Deshpande, Secretary and Director, Home Insecticide Control Association (HICA), said, “There is a need to create awareness amongst consumers about unregulated illegal mosquito repellent incense sticks in the market. Products from unscrupulous players do not go through the regulated manufacturing processes and basic checks on safety parameters of skin, eye and respiratory system which are mandated for all home insecticide products. All illegal mosquito repellent incense sticks flout norms and are not tested on the aforementioned parameters. Any usage of these illegal mosquito repellent incense sticks is highly risky for citizens across age groups.” 

Well, we couldn’t agree more. There are many such comments and reviews on social media where people have called out on the harmful effects of illegal mosquito repellent incense sticks. For eg: “Ise jalane ke baad inhalation me problem hoti hai bahut bekar hai specially jab aapke ghar me bacche hon” (we have inhalation issue after using it, it is a terrible product specially for kids).
 
The verdict is out. It’s time to be a little more cautious to win the battle.

Avoid illegal products and use reputed brands. There are also mosquito repellent incense sticks which are approved and is made of 100% natural ingredients like Goodknight’s new Neem Agarbatti. It consists of 100% natural neem and haldi to protect you and your family from all kinds of mosquitoes upto 3 hours including those spreading dengue, malaria & chikungunya. Branded incense sticks have necessary approvals from authorities and are safe to use

Choose the right and genuine mosquito repellent incense stick, be safe, be healthy!

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