Vapona products in cancer scare

Sara Lee withdraws products as Government investigates exposure risks

Sara Lee Household & Body Care is ceasing the production of household insecticide products Vapona Fly Killer and Moth Killer strips over fears they could cause cancer.

Some UK retailers have also considered refusing to stock any product containing dichlorvos, Vapona’s active ingredient.

Boots says that it has decided to stop selling products that contain dichlorvos, including Vapona and its own Slow Release Fly Killer.

According to the Government’s Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP), the sale, supply and use of products containing dichlorvos should stop, as it poses a cancer risk.

But a ban has yet to be announced, as the Government feels manufacturers need time to respond to findings released last year, which say there is a small chance long-term exposure to dichlorvos could cause cancer.

The ACP will meet the Government’s Committee on Mutagenicity (COM) on March 4 to decide on a ban.

Sara Lee maintains that there are no safety issues surrounding Vapona, since in 1999 the Health & Safety Executive granted a five-year licence to market the product.

A Sara Lee spokeswoman says: “The decision to stop production has been taken for consumer safety reasons. We would like to reassure consumers that these strips are licensed as safe for household use.”

According to Friends of the Earth charity, the evidence about dichlorvos being carcinogenic has been available for at least ten years. In 1992, the World Health Organisation classified the chemical as “hazardous”.

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