Home Insecticides Products business comprises Rs 2500+ crores annually. The products manufactured and marketed include mosquito coils, liquid repellants, vaporizers, aerosols, etc for household usage. These products are used mainly to combat nuisance of many insect species such as mosquitoes, cockroaches, house flies. Mosquitoes and other insects pose greater challenges as they act as vectors of many diseases like malaria, filarial, dengue, chikun gunya. During outbreak of such diseases Home Insecticides become the mainstay for protection. They play a “”lifesaving role during deadly epidemics.
HICA’s aim is to facilitate the growth of the Home Insecticides Sector, while at the same time to protect the interest of its members, and introduce self- regulation and governance.
HICA over the years has proactively redressed following issues for the benefit of its members.
1. BIS certification and enhancement of fees, ISI Mark etc.
Although DAC had taken a decision long ago to delete Sub-clauses 6 and 7 u/s 9 of the Insecticides Rules 1971 regarding compulsory ISI marks, it has not been implemented as yet due to some procedural problems. DAC and Pesticide Industry Associations are exhorting each other to solve the problem but unfortunately the stalemate refuses to get resolved. Mr. Mahender Reddy of CAPMA stated that the dealers have to pay Rs.7,500/- for renewal of licences which is a steep rise from Rs.500/- charged earlier, according to him. He emphasized that huge amounts will have to be paid to clear the arrears for the last 15 years which is beyond the means of most of the dealers.
However, Mr. UK Singh maintained that the arrears must be cleared.
There was no discussions on the enhancement of registration fees.
Thus virtually no progress was achieved at the meeting so far as withdrawal of Sub-clauses 6 and 7 u/s 9 of IR are concerned.
Since there was some time the following unlisted issues were also taken up for discussions.
2. Draft Rules - The Insecticides (Amendment) Rules, 2015-The Gazette of India, Extraordinary Part II, Section-3, Sub section (1) – G.S.R. 92(E)
JCM handed over CCFI’s letter No. CCFI/MoA/2015/143 dated 21st May 2015 to Mr. UK Singh JS)PP) giving “Objections and Suggestions” to those rules, sub-rules, clauses and sub- clauses of the proposed G.S.R. 92(E) which are relevant to CCFI.
The main “Objections and suggestions” submitted by CCFI are in respect of the minimum qualifications of pesticide dealers or technical personnel under their employment (Form VII, Clause 3) proposed by DAC. There are more than two lakh pesticide dealers but there are neither proper courses available in the universities/institutes nor the infrastructure in the country to train such a mammoth number of dealers.
CCFI pointe4d out that while it fully appreciated the Government’s perception and concern about the necessity of upgrading the knowledge of dealers or their employees in order to enable them to advise the farmers properly regarding use of right pesticides in right manner and at right time for solving their insects / pathogens / weeds problems, sufficient time is required to achieve this. Even five years may not be enough to achieve this goal.
Another important issue on which CCFI gave comprehensive “Objections and suggestions” was in respect of medical examination of Factory Workers. It has been pointed out that some tests like X-ray Chest, Serum Cholinesterase Level etc. were either not necessary or the frequency should be minimized or should be done selectively.
CCFI has also given “Objections and suggestions” on several minor points.
A copy of our aforementioned letter had been already circulated to you vide our email dated 22nd May 2015.
It may be mentioned here that the proposed amendments will result in substantial advantages to the pesticides industry,
3. Gazette Notification G.S.R. 797(E) – Labels and Leaflets
We had already written to Mr. UK Singh vide our letter dated 25th March 2015 that there are several serious problems due to which the above mentioned Gazette Notification will be almost impossible to be implemented by the pesticide industry.
The main problem was the impossibility of accommodating all the prescribed information on the label in three languages, for the minimum prescribed label sizes, viz. 130 sq.cm for 2-panel and 210 sq.cm for 3-pqanel Labels. Many of the prescribed information will have to be included in the leaflet which is an integral part of the Label. Language restriction on the label would also make interstate stock transfers of pesticides during exigencies extremely difficult, is not impossible.
Therefore, at the meeting, we requested Mr. UK Singh to keep the Gazette Notification in abeyance.
Mr. UK Singh seemed to appreciate the problems facxed by the industry and suggested a meeting on 3rd June 2015 to discuss the various issues. He also mentioned that no instructions has been sent to anybody so far for implementation of G.S.R. 797(E).
The meeting ended with vote of thanks to chair
Dr. JC Majumdar
4. Home Insect Control Association’s (HICA) laboratory tests show the presence of toxic carbamate pesticide in Balaji Relax Citronella Incense Sticks
Recently conducted laboratory tests by the Home Insect Control Association (HICA) on Balaji Relax Citronella Incense Sticks show the presence of toxic carbamate pesticide ‘Fenobucarb’ in the product. These tests also confirm that there are no traces of Citronella (commonly known as lemon oil), a renowned plant-based insect repellent that the product claims to contain.
Incense sticks or ‘agarbattis’ as they are known, have been an integral part of Indian tradition for centuries now. They are commonly used for aromatic and medicinal purposes.
Balaji Incense Sticks, which are widely available across Karnataka and its neighbouring states, have been around since 1957. The company has recently launched a new product called ‘Balaji Relax Citronella Incense Sticks’, which claims to use Cintronella to ‘kill mosquitoes and keep away flies’. HICA’s tests on the product however, show alarming results. Not only do these incense sticks show no traces of Citronella, but they in fact, contain the toxic carbamate pesticide, Fenobucarb.
Commenting on this situation, Secretary, HICA, said: “One of the key responsibilities of HICA is to educate consumers about health and safety in the context of household insecticides. Our members have recently brought to our attention, that a number of misleadingly branded incense sticks are being manufactured and sold across the country under the brand names of Sleep Well, Balaji Relax and Relief among others. We have conducted lab tests on these products and the results confirm that there is no trace of Citronella (a natural insect repellent) in them. We have found that they contain a non-registered pesticide called Fenobucarb. This is being used without obtaining a prior license from the Central Insecticide Board.”
Fenobucarb is an extremely cheap and toxic pesticide, which is being phased out of use globally, including in India. Inhaling Fenobucarb can cause various health complications, such as irritation in the eyes and skin, dizziness, excessive sweating, central nervous system depression and abdominal pain. Overexposure to the chemical can also lead to nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, headache, runny nose, watery eyes, pinpoint pupils, muscle weakness, bronchospasm, difficulty in breathing, wheezing, a slower or faster heart rate and seizures.
Much to HICA’s concern, the product packaging of these Balaji Relax Citronella Incense Sticks does not mention this pesticide. Nor does it follow the mandatory guidelines mentioned under Chapter V of the Insecticides Rules 1971 or the other mandates required by the Legal Metrology Act, 2009.
Sources reveal that it is highly likely these sticks are being imported from China, pre-smeared with Fenubocarb. Balaji then repackages them in an attractive green cover, with the tag line ‘Want to relax? Use relax’. By doing so, Balaji is not only misleading its consumers but also putting the health of millions at jeopardy.
The agarbatti industry in India is a labour-intensive cottage industry. By importing Chinese products, the company is also eating in the market of small-scale industries in India and possibly leaving thousands of rural women jobless.