The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has placed a ban on the use of Methyl Bromide as a fumigant in pest control.
The agency revealed that information filtered to her that some unscrupulous individuals have been illegally importing Methyl Bromide for use as pesticide in Nigeria. “NAFDAC is currently carrying out surveillance to identifying such illegal importers and they would be severely sanctioned in line with our extant laws”.
In a press statement sent to pharmanewsonline.com, NAFDAC warned farmers, exporters of Agricultural produce and Agro input dealers to desist from using Methyl Bromide as a pesticide, noting that safer alternatives are available.
The agency has also directed anybody in possession of Methyl Bromide to submit it to the nearest NAFDAC office.
The agency described Methyl Bromide as a colourless, odourless, noncorrosive and non-flammable, highly toxic to a broad spectrum of insects from egg to the adult stage. It was primarily used as a fumigant in stored product pest management.
However, NAFDAC explained that Methyl Bromide was placed on the prohibition list because of it several hazards to human health, as it is referred to as a Class I Ozone Depleting Substance (ODS). It depletes the ozone layer due to the release of bromine atom upon the breakdown 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. 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.
“Methyl Bromide is an extremely toxic vapour. In humans, Methyl Bromide is readily absorbed through the lungs. Most problems occur as a result of inhalation. Methyl Bromide is a dangerous cumulative poison. 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”, the agency stressed.