Health experts have raised concerns over the indiscriminate use of Sniper pesticide in the control of mosquitoes, cockroaches and other household insects, warning on its dangerous effects, especially to respiratory organs and even carcinogenic risks.
Sniper, is a DDVP, 2,2-Dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate compound, marketed in Nigeria by Swiss-Nigerian Chemical Company, as a synthetic organophosphorus but which many Nigerians have converted to an indoor insecticide.
A person may be exposed to the associated risk of DDVP through inhalation, absorption via the skin, ingestion, and eye contact.
According to CDC, effects of exposure may include irritation of eyes, skin; miosis, ache eyes; rhinorrhea (discharge of thin nasal mucus); headache; chest tightness, wheezing, laryngeal spasm, salivation; cyanosis; anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; sweating; muscle fasciculation, paralysis, dizziness, ataxia; convulsions; low blood pressure, cardiac irregularity.
The popularity of Sniper use amongst Nigerians as an insecticide has grown in recent times, owing to its effectiveness in killing insects better than well-established brands of insecticide.
The demand is also fuelled by its affordability.
A 100ml of Sniper goes for between N200 and N300 as against Baygon of N700 for 100ml or Killit of N750.
“It kills insects faster,” volunteered a housewife, Stella Esharive.
“Very active,” noted another consumer, Nduka Abili, both Lagos residents.
However, what Nigerians may be paying a heavier price with their health in the long term, if the trend is left unchecked.
Experts warn that exposure to Sniper and other insecticides made from DDVP may affect injurious effects on the eyes, skin, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, central nervous system and blood system.
A family physician, Dr Ikechukwu Okoroafor, who confirmed the risks associated with exposure to chemical, warned that Sniper and other similar products which contain DDVP are poisonous and may be injurious to vital organs such as the lungs and kidney and may cause cancer.
“It is poisonous. It can kill if it enters the blood stream. Sniper contains DDVP, 2,2-Dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate, an organophosphate that readily binds to the lungs and kidney causing cancer.
It causes weakness, chest tightness and respiratory problems,” Dr Okoroafor said.
A public health expert, Dr Samson Deji who agreed with Okoroafor said that insecticides containing DDVP can trigger or worsen existing respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, Asthma or cause lung cancer.
“Prolonged exposure can provoke bronchitis, can cause cancer.
If a person has been inhaling it over and over, he is exposure to lung cancer.
The effects are worse in those with respiratory diseases like Asthma, bronchitis”.