(MENAFN - Arab News) Many of the recent fatalities in accidents in Jeddah were caused by pesticides or toxic substances found in sprays commonly used in homes.
The Jeddah Health Affairs is planning to host an awareness meeting on Sunday on "chemical poisoning and reporting mechanism" under the patronage of the Director General of Health Affairs in Jeddah, Dr. Sami Badawood and the assistant Director General of Health Affairs at the municipality premises in Jeddah.
Dr. Mohammed Abdul Jalil, an environmental health specialist and organizer of the forum said the main aim of the event is to raise awareness of the dangers of chemicals, especially aluminum phosphide in pesticides and other sprays. The event is targeted at hospitals and the public at large.
"It is very important to spread awareness among doctors and nurses in emergency units in government and private hospitals about how to deal with cases of chemical poisoning generally and with aluminum phosphide in particular; the importance of infection control and the role of the Center for Toxicology and Chemistry legitimacy in the diagnosis of cases," he said adding that aluminum phosphide fatalities occur because the chemical is odorless.
He further said that the event will showcase ways to diagnose cases of chemical poisoning and methods of sampling for laboratory tests as well as clarify the reporting mechanism for cases of food poisoning.
Jalil explained that the large number of deaths due to pesticide use in homes had prompted the suggestion to remove such dangerous chemicals from market shelves. The insecticides are available in the market at very low prices to kill roaches and other pests.
Jalil stressed that research centers and universities should research alternatives to aluminum phosphide. He said that until then, pesticides containing this and other harmful chemicals should only be used by experts under the supervision of specialized staff.
Jalil noted that the Jeddah authorities had pledged to target the shops selling aluminum phosphide without a license especially in the wake of the recent deaths owing to the misuse of the chemical.
"Aluminum phosphide combines with water or acid to release a highly toxic gas, phosphine which caused the deaths in Jeddah, many of whom were children," he said.