THE raid Monday on a Danao City store selling toxic mosquito coils was long in coming. The presence of illegal coils in Cebu was reported as early as 2013 but there was no big haul until that raid.
The Danao raid was conducted after a police officer posed as a buyer and succeeded to get the BaoMa from the store. Personnel from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), Regional Special Operations Group and the Danao City Police Station seized more than a hundred boxes of BaoMa black mosquito repellent coils from the United General Merchandise, a report by SunStar Cebu said. BaoMa is one of the China-made products banned by the FDA for posing danger to public health, it added.
Mosquito repellent coils are cheap and accessible from neighborhood stores that consumers resort to using them. But there are dangers to using coils, especially those that did not pass screening.
The FDA in the Philippines issued on Aug. 28, 2013 a public health warning on buying “unregistered toxic household insecticides in the market.” Its advisory said, “Buying unregistered insecticide products is dangerous to health since the active ingredient is unknown and may cause harm to consumers. There are insecticides that are banned in the Philippines, and these toxic products are being smuggled and dumped in the country.” (www.fda.gov.ph)
It listed insecticides in aerosol cans, mosquito coils and body spray that, it said, did not pass safety and efficacy assessment. Included in the list was the BaoMa black mosquito repellent coil from China.
The FDA called on the Bureau of Customs to monitor the entry of these and other fake products from China since they pass through Philippine ports. Not only illegal drugs apparently escape scrutiny by the Customs bureau. Fake products, including mosquito coils from China, have been known to pass screening.
The advisory also called on local government units to do their part to ensure unregistered toxic insecticide products are confiscated, away from the reach of consumers. Cebu was one of the areas identified by the FDA where the BaoMa mosquito repellent coil was sold.
The FDA should pursue action against the Danao store and the product distributor to show seriousness in its campaign to ensure public health.
In 2013, Cebu-based mosquito coil manufacturers complained about unregistered mosquito repellents and coils reaching the market. They said they complied with government regulations to ensure safety of their products but there are cheaper varieties in the market that do not have any registration.
The seizure in Danao should be the start of a consistent, systematic campaign.
Devotees to the Our Lady of Peňafrancia, patroness of Bicolandia, are invited to join the nine-day novena masses at the Capitol parish starting this Friday, September 15.
Weekend novena masses will be held every 5:30 p.m.; weekday masses will be at 6:15 p.m.
The masses will run until September 23, to be followed the next day, September 24, a Sunday, with the fiesta mass to be celebrated by Bicolano priests.
The Bicol Association of Cebu Inc. is organizing fiesta activities.