Saturday, 15 June 2013

MALARIA: Smoke from one mosquito coil equals 100 cigarettes

  • Written by  Blessing Ekum
  • Saturday, 15 June 2013 00:00
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  • Nigeria, like most other third world tropical countries, still suffers from malaria. According to the United States Embassy’s Nigeria Malaria Fact Sheet, “malaria is a risk for 97 per cent of Nigeria’s population and the remaining 3 per cent of the population live in the malaria-free highlands.” It adds that there are an estimated 100 million malaria cases with over 300, 000 deaths per year.
    To combat malaria, preventive campaigns have usually revolved around killing the vector, infected female anopheles mosquitoes, or preventing its bites. Use of Long-Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLIN), Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS), clean surroundings, mosquito coils, insecticide sprays and so forth has been on the top list.
    Although mosquito coils are mostly meant for mosquito repelling, a large number of people use them as general insect repellent. It is not uncommon to find then in homes, shops and restaurants and other indoor places. Despite the fact that they are reportedly effectively in repelling flies and other insects, recent research has shown that smoke emitted from one mosquito repellent coil is equivalent to those of 100 cigarettes.
    In a Malaysian study published in the journal, Environmental Health Perspective, entitled: “Mosquito Coil Emissions and Health Implications,” it was discovered that the damage done to the lungs by one mosquito coil is equivalent to the damage done by 100 cigarettes.
    According to the researchers, the smoke that is emitted by these mosquito coils may contain pollutants that can be of serious health concern, posing “significant acute and chronic risks.”
    In the study, it was discovered that significant amounts of volatile organic compounds in it, including carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals), were found in the smoke from mosquito coils.
    “Burning one mosquito coil released the same amount of particulate matter as burning 75-137 cigarettes would emit. The amount of formaldehyde (an irritating carcinogen that effects many processes inside body) emission from one mosquito coil was as high as that emitted when 51 cigarettes are burnt,” the researchers said.

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