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Allethrin in mosquito repellents is toxic

Allethrin in mosquito repellents is toxic

Summers bring with them a multitude of problems, not the least of them being mosquitoes and their irritating itchy bites. The only respite for most of us is the use of mosquito repellents to ward off the nuisance. However, leading medical authorities have warned that some mosquito coils and mats emit toxic fumes that are harmful for health. According to experts, mosquito repellent mats emit fumes that contain a substance called Allethrin and its products that may cause health hazards like cancer and complications in pregnant women. At a recent seminar conducted by the Indian Medical Association on "Challenges of today and the glimpses of future in medicine", leading doctors cautioned that prolonged use of mosquito coils is harmful to health and their use should be avoided or discouraged. Allethrin is a potent insecticide and is widely used as a mosquito repellent. Direct skin contact with allethrin causes itching, burning and tingling feeling. When inhaled, it may worsen asthma in individuals who suffer from the disease. In others, it may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and coordination difficulties. It is especially dangerous for infants, young children and pregnant women. The scenario in India makes it more vulnerable to the effects of these toxic fumes. If these mats are burnt in the open, they are not as harmful. However, people usually use mosquito mats indoors and with many people sharing the same room, the effects are worse. A child or an infant is exposed to these fumes for an average of 10 hours per night. In spite of reports of health hazards of mosquito mats, their use has not been banned in India. The next time you use a mosquito repelling mat, remember that it may be more dangerous than an annoying mosquito bite.
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