Warning issued against unlicensed pest control companies after boy dies in Sharjah

Sharjah Municipality calls on residents to ensure the companies they hire to fumigate their homes are licensed

Eng. Hisham Abdul Rahman Al-Yahya, Head of Pest Control Section said it is danger to use toxic and deadly aluminium phosphide in homes for the eradication of rats and insects as this pesticide reacts with moisture, air, and produces phosphine gas. The lack of awareness and misuse may result in poisoning or death. (Photo Courtesy-Dubai Municipality) FOR RAMONA RUIZ STORY 
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Government officials have issued a stark warning to residents against using unlicensed pesticide companies, days after a boy died from inhaling poisonous fumes in his flat.

Sharjah Municipality called on residents to ensure the company they hire to fumigate their homes are licensed and use government-approved chemicals that are safe to inhale.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Municipality said illegitimate companies often leave advertisements on the doors of houses but said these should not be contacted or trusted. It advised reporting such companies by calling 993, saying a list of licensed companies can be found on the Municipality website.

Thabit Al Tarifi, director general of Sharjah Municipality, said the government body strictly regulates the licensing of pest control companies to reduce the risk of illegal chemicals being used. Pesticide companies must obtain a certificate from the municipality and a commercial license from the Sharjah Economic Development Department before beginning operations.

Mr Al Tarifi said the municipality carries out frequent inspections to ensure only licensed companies are operating in the emirate.

Companies that fail to comply with safety standards can face fines of up to Dh10,000 and can be closed down.

"I urge people to ask for the company's license and materials licence whenever they need pest control services, and to report any company that declines to do so," he told The National.

The Municipality warning follows the death of a Pakistani boy, 10, in his flat in Al Nahda on Friday.

Komal and Khuzimah with their father, Shefi Ulleh Niazi. Courtesy family
Komal and Khuzimah with their father, Shefi Ulleh Niazi. Courtesy family

Police said the family’s neighbour used pesticides, that have been banned from public sale since 2009, to fumigate their home before leaving the country.

The fumes seemingly travelled through the air conditioning vents and caused the family to be overcome with aluminium phosphide poisoning.

The boy, Khuzaimah Khan, died in hospital but his twin sister, Komal, and parents recovered. He will be buried at Al Shahaba Mosque in Sharjah today.