Sunday January 21, 2018

When pest control kills people

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source: wisegeek.com
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When Dhawal Lahagania and Mandira Chaudhary, both in their early twenties, checked into an empty flat in Nigdi, Pune on October 31, they didn’t suspect anything was wrong. But soon after, they started to experience suffocation and breathing problems. Dhawal called a friend, who got them admitted to a hospital. The couple succumbed to their afflictions within a day.

What Dhawal and Mandira weren’t aware of was that a pest control company had fumigated the apartment under instructions from Dhawal’s parents, who had left the flat to stay away for the mandatory 12 hours.

In July 2013, 22 school children died in Bihar, and dozen others needed treatment after eating the midday-meal which was contaminated with insecticide.

It was in 1968, that an Insecticide Act was passed to regulate import, manufacture, sale, transport, distribution and use of insecticides. In 1970, the power to enforce the act shifted form the Health Ministry to the Agriculture ministry.

A Central Insecticides Board & Registration Committee was set up, and states were advised to appoint functionaries to implement the Act. To undertake pest control operations, a licence is required, which must be renewed every five years. The job to license and monitor this was given to a district-level agriculture officer.

Pest control operations mostly remain by unregulated. Following the Nigdi incident, an inquiry showed there are only 450 licensed pest control operators in Pune district.

According to officials, the pest control operator in the Nigdi case was not licensed, and the agriculture officer overseeing the proceedings has every right to file a complaint against the agency. However, deaths resulting from pesticides and insecticides poisoning has failed to stir the government. Pest control operators usually only meet when a mishap has occurred. Training aspects are stressed on in these meetings but soon after they lose any semblance of importance.

870 insecticides were listed under the Faridabad-based Central Insecticides Board & Registration Committee until November 2014.

Common pesticides include pyrethrin, deltamethrin, diazonin and fenitrothion, which are used against cockroaches, mosquitoes, houseflies, bedbugs and rats. They are classified by toxicity, and colour-coded for users to dilute appropriately. These chemicals are dangerous and inhalation, ingestion, or prolonged exposure to them, can be life-threatening.

Headaches, dizziness, nausea, stomach cramps and diarrhea are some of the symptoms of internal exposure, while chronic exposure may result in loss of appetite, weakness and weight loss. Severe damage can be caused to the liver, kidneys and the nervous system if rodenticides are ingested.

A 2005 study by the US National Institutes of Health also found a statistically significant increase in cancer mortality among municipal pest control workers who were exposed to a wide variety of chemicals.

Organic pest control methods, such as tulsi-based mosquito repellants, are difficult to prepare and there is not much awareness about them as well. As such, even though the natural alternatives cause no harm to the environment and the body, chemical based pesticides are the ones preferred by the market and people.

The pest control business needs a more serious approach. Proper precautions must be made mandatory both with regard to the person on the job and the common people in the vicinity. The pest controller must be licensed and the worker must wear protective clothing and treat different pests with the particular insecticide meant for them. Food must be covered and doors and windows kept shut. If the chemicals are too strong, one must make sure not to remain in the vicinity to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.

(Inputs from Indian Express)

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Teenaged mothers at high risk for heart diseases later

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Teenaged mothers at high risk for heart diseases later(Pixabay)

New York, November 2,2017: Women who became first-time mothers during their teenage years may be significantly more likely than older mothers to have greater risks for heart and blood vessel diseases later in life, according to new research.

The findings showed that women reporting a first birth before the age of 20 scored significantly higher on “Framingham Risk Score” — a measure commonly used to estimate the 10-year cardiovascular risk.

Conversely, women whose first births occurred at older ages had lower average risk scores. The lowest cardiovascular risk, however, was among women who had never given birth, the researchers said.

“Adolescent mothers may need to be more careful about lifestyle factors that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, including maintaining a healthy body weight and sufficient physical activity,” said lead author Catherine Pirkle, assistant professor at the University of Hawaii.

“Clinicians may need to pay more careful attention to women’s reproductive characteristics, and more intensive screening of cardiovascular-disease risk may be required of women reporting early childbirths.”

For the study, detailed in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the team examined 1,047 women between the ages of 65 and 74 and were from Canada, Albania, Colombia and Brazil.

However, the findings must be confirmed because this study relied on self-reports of childbirth history which could be affected by memory loss in this older population even though participants were screened for dementia.

In addition, many young mothers from the poorer countries may not have survived to the ages of 64-75 years represented in the study, limiting the strength of the results, the researchers said.

“If adolescent childbirth increases the risk of cardiovascular disease risk, then our findings reinforce the need to assure that girls and adolescents have sufficient sexual education and access to contraception to avoid adolescent childbearing in the first place,” Pirkle said.(IANS)

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