NAFDAC Bans Use of Poisonous Methyl Bromide Fumigant on Crops

NAFDAC Bans Use of Poisonous Methyl Bromide Fumigant on Crops

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Wednesday issued a ban on the use of Methyl Bromide as a fumigant in pest control.

Methyl bromide is 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.

NAFDAC’s Director General, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, explained in a press release, that Methyl bromide is a Class I Ozone Depleting Substance (ODS, which depletes the Ozone layer due to 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

“Information is available to the Agency 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,” she said.

Inhalable Poison

NAFDAC disclosed that Methyl Bromide is also an extremely toxic vapour and a dangerous cumulative poison to humans, who inhale it, as it is readily absorbed through the lungs.

“Most problems occur as a result of inhalation. 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,” NAFDAC said.

The agency strongly advised anybody in possession of Methyl Bromide to submit it to the nearest NAFDAC office.

“Farmers, exporters of Agricultural produce and Agro input dealers are hereby advised to desist from using Methyl Bromide as a pesticide. Safer alternatives are available.  Contact nearest NAFDAC office for advice on safer alternatives,” the DG stated.

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