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EPA to Track Down and Prosecute Dealer of Toptoxin

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Officials of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are working to track down and bring to book the company with the registered tradename of Toptoxin, the pesticides that allegedly killed three children in Accra at the weekend.

The EPA said it was also deepening collaborations with the law enforcements agencies and the assemblies to clamp down all unlicensed sellers of such restricted chemicals to unsuspecting public.

Toptoxin is a registered trade name of a fumigation tablet for the control of insecticides in stored grains, processed food and feeds.

Dr Sam Adu-Kumi, Director in charge of Chemicals and Registrar of Pesticides at EPA, told the GNA in an interview that the officers would be working, especially in Accra and Kumasi and that the owner of the product could easily be tracked for prosecution.

He said the initial calls to the office of the said company were not answered but the officials of the Agency were seriously following up to bring them to book.

He said that particular pesticide contained an active ingredient called Aluminium phosphide, in a gaseous form, mainly used to control insects in cereals and grains, especially maize.

Dr Adu-Kumi said it was registered as a restricted substance, not meant for public use, in 2015 and would expire in June 2018.

“When we register it, we provide the owners of the tradename with the conditions of use and all these things are also stipulated on the label of the chemical. What it actually means is that an individual should not be able to buy that chemical if he doesn’t have the knowledge to use it”.

He said it was illegal to buy such chemicals from mobile vans or street vendors who were not licensed adding that a lot more households around Nima were using the product for pest control.

Dr Adu-Kumi, therefore, said called the need for education and awareness creation among the citizenry, especially those in the suburbs.

He said there was the need to sensitise hospital staff on such products since they had little or no knowledge about these pesticides.

The EPA was also to develop education materials on simple steps to control pests at homes for distribution to the communities as well as work with the Poison Information Centre to sensitise communities on where to find help during such incidence.

There would also be a review of the granting of licensing to vendors, especially on the sale of restricted-use products, while regulations on the commercial pest control activities would be tightened.

Commenting on EPA’s level of investigation into the incident, Dr Adu-Kumi said the Agency received a call in the afternoon of Friday, April 20, on a reported case of pesticide poisoning from the 37 Military Hospital where two officers were dispatched to investigate.

The EPA team was told by health officials that the product that poisoned the family of five and killed the three children was identified as Toptoxin, and that it had been registered by a Kumasi-based company.

The father bought the chemical after a friend at Nima had recommended it to him from a mobile vendor for the control of household pests.

The victim subsequently applied 50 tablets of the product in their room on Thursday morning between 0700 and 0800 and left for work and returned later that evening around 1800 to clean before finally retiring to bed around 2300 hours

The father of the children began feeling nauseous and weak after which he was rushed to Maamobi Polyclinic for treatment but was later informed in the morning that his wife and children had also been rushed to the 37 Military Hospital where it was established as a case of pesticide poisoning.

The hospital staff had earlier told the EPA that there were no known antidotes to the chemical.

Source: GNA

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