Doctors warn against use of bleaching powder, say can't repel larvae
Kolkata: The city doctors and virologists have warned against the unscientific use of bleaching power in various government establishments, hospitals and other places as it would have an adverse effect on people.
In many places bleaching powder is spread with a concept that it would kill the mosquito larvae. But the doctors are saying that bleaching powders can never destroy mosquito larvae, instead, it causes respiratory distress among people. Those having Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD) might become a chronic patient if he or she is exposed to bleaching powder.
According to Professor Nemai Bhattacharya who is in-charge of the Virology department at the School of Tropical Medicine said that bleaching power cannot be used as mosquito repellent as it fails to destroy larvae. The concept of the using bleaching power as mosquito repellent is grossly wrong. On the hindsight, it can cause lung ailments and can also result in serious infections.
Bleaching power in right proportion is used to purify water as a result of which the various civic bodies use bleaching powder to purify water in tanks. According to the experts, chloroform and chlorine gas are produced out of bleaching powder that contribute to purify water. Chlorine in the form of calcium hypochlorite Ca(ClO)₂ is available in bleaching powder. Chlorine is widely used to disinfect water and kill diseases causing pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and protozoans.
But due to lack of awareness, many civic bodies and government departments are found sprinkling bleaching powder as mosquito repellent. It may be mentioned that people get a burning sensation in their eyes where it is sprinkled. If a COPD patient inhales the dust of the bleaching powder for over a period of time, he or she can develop a chronic problem. This apart, it can also cause allergy on the skin.
With the number of the incidents of fever going up in the city and surrounding districts, sprinkling of bleaching powder has become very common with people thinking that it may help in keeping mosquito-borne diseases at bay.
A senior Health department official of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) admitted that some people are sprinkling bleaching powder to fight mosquitoes but the method is hardly effective. The official, however, said that KMC uses herbal oils including 'temephos' to fight mosquitoes instead of bleaching powder.
The Health department carries out the guideline as prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to check mosquitoes, the official said. He also stressed on the importance of campaign against the use of bleaching powder as mosquito repellent as it has an adverse effect on health.