The agency warns of the environmental risks of insect repellents

When the mosquito season is in full swing, is more familiar with the regulations for the use of insect repellents.

Although the mosquito repellent manufactured by Thermacell caused controversy last year because of its harmful effects on the environment, it is not the only repellent of concern according to the Finnish and Chemicals Agency (Tukes).

The device approved by Tukes contains prallethrin, a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide that the agency says is dangerous to pollinators and other insects.

"All risk assessment performed at Tukes and at EU level is based on the product manual. If people followed the instructions, the risks associated with the use of insecticides would be at an acceptable level," Elina Rydman told Tukes Yle, a senior expert at the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency.

The agency has approved the use of the Thermacell device on porches and terraces, and stated last June that when the poison is diluted in the air, the effects are expected to be local. However, the use of the device in the forest, for example, is prohibited.

Insect control habits

According to a recent study by Yle, four out of five mosquito repellent users say they follow the instructions for use, although some admit that they care little about the product’s potential harmful effects on the environment, as insecticides prevent mosquito bites.

Of the 250 respondents to the study, many said they trusted Thermacell specifically to prevent mosquito bites, and some, though few, admitted to using the device outside their porch or patio.

“The Chemicals Act requires that biocides be used in accordance with the instructions for use, so non – compliance with the instructions is illegal." Rydman reminded me of Tukes.

Rydman further pointed out that the discussion on harmful chemicals was a welcome step, but the treatment of Thermacell alone was not necessarily justified.

“The risks associated with Thermacell are not the greatest, even though its active ingredient is toxic.” Rydman said he added that the discussion should be extended to other insect repellents.

“For example, ant poisons are widely used, although there is usually little reason to use them. They are also very dangerous for pollinators, ”Rydman explained.

By Olli Vapalahti, Professor of the Research Unit for Viral Zoonoses at the , the use of mosquito repellents in is rarely necessary. Most of the negative health effects are due to allergies or being infected by a mosquito, Vapalahti said, adding that mosquito-borne diseases are very rare in Finland.

Source: The Nordic Page


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