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Home / India News / Need safer alternatives to household toxicants

Need safer alternatives to household toxicants

According to a December 30, 2019, research in the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal, adults with a higher exposure to pyrethroid pesticides were at a higher risk of death from cardiovascular diseases and other causes.

india Updated: Jan 20, 2020 03:10 IST
Bharati Chaturvedi
Bharati Chaturvedi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Adults with a higher exposure to pyrethroid pesticides were at a higher risk of death from cardiovascular diseases and other causes. (Representative Image)
Adults with a higher exposure to pyrethroid pesticides were at a higher risk of death from cardiovascular diseases and other causes. (Representative Image)(AP)

Public memory around environmental science is weak. We recall Bollywood and political gossip from decades ago, but who remembers the case of household toxicants? Conversations about how the stuff we used at home was killing us had turned into a national concern.

A new study tells us we should resurrect it to remedy this crisis urgently.

According to a December 30, 2019, research in the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal, adults with a higher exposure to pyrethroid pesticides were at a higher risk of death from cardiovascular diseases and other causes.

In simple terms, the team of Wei Bao and others tracked 2,116 adults in the Unites States across 14 years and found that those exposed to these pesticides were likely to live less.

The problem with this is that pyrethroids are in most Indians lives. Most of our household insecticides contain these. We burn them in various forms at home. We breathe them. They touch our skin. They are used to control malaria. Are we also reducing our lives?

Mosquito management is a public health issue. At the core is protecting public health, and these chemicals serve one part but create other problems.

We must work on safer means. The Delhi government rolled out an impactful campaign this monsoon, for example. India is full of knowledge about how to do this — using mosquito larvae eating fish, for example, and local action to ending potholes that serve as breeding grounds.

Whatever the means, India has to quickly turn its attention to this forgotten nastie.

(The writer is the Founder and Director of Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group)