Fumigation means handling Toxic and Dangerous Gases, let the Expert do the job for you.
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Fumigation is a method of pest control that uses a toxic gas to exterminate pests in an enclosed space. The space is sealed to prevent the gas escaping to areas that are not being treated, for environmental and public safety, and to keep the gas at the required concentration for the appropriate time to be effective.
Few important terms those are important to understand are:
The gases used to conduct fumigation process are known as Fumigants, two widely accepted fumigants are Methyl Bromide, or MBr and Aluminium Phosphide or AlP popularly known as Phosphine or Celphos tablets.
NSPM: National Standards of Phyto-Sanitary Measures set out guidelines for assessment, audit and accreditation of Fumigation Agencies for undertaking fumigation with Methyl Bromide (Schedules in NSPM12) and Aluminium Phosphide (Scheduled in NSPM22) as per the provisions contained in the Insecticides Act 1968 and rules 1971.
Any individual, company or organisation who is authorised by an appropriate authority for undertaking fumigation operations to control insects infestation is termed as Fumigator.
Any kind of treatment that is applied for quarantine purpose for elimination of pests in accordance with phytosanitary regulations of the importing country are called quarantine treatments.
The state governments are responsible for issuing a licence and to maintain a detailed record of sale, stock and usage of these Gases (MBr and AlP) only after necessary verification of certificates of registration granted to fumigation agency with accredited fumigation operator by PPA.
This is the responsibility of the fumigation operator to:
- Maintain proper record on stock and use of fumigants and issue fumigation certificates.
- Follow the guidelines stipulated in NSPMs and the instructions issued by the PPA from time to time.
- Only a trained operator knowing toxicological properties and having technical and technological skills can handle the fumigation gases properly.
- Ensure not to undertake fumigation in forbidden places unsafe for human of animal lives or of forbidden commodities.
- Make sure that the enclosures are airtight and well protected.
- Under no circumstances the fumigation operator be allowed to the exposure above the concentration allowed as safe in standards.
- Submit the information to the Directorate of PPQ&S regarding any change in address, transfer, retirement, resignation or death of fumigation operator.
- Gas detectors, masks, safety equipment and all necessary precautions are to be checked thoroughly before starting the process.
- The recommended dosage of the gases are given in the standard, however if there is any specific stipulation by the importing country in respect of the given parameters, the same is to be adopted.
- Aluminium Phosphide generates Phosphene gas, PH3, the composition is as under:
- Active Ingredients: AlP 56% w/w/minimum
- Other Ingredients: Fillers, Wax, Ammonium salt 44% w/w/maximum
- A 3 gm tablet generates 1 gm PH3 along with NH3 and CO2
- Methyl Bromide is a colourless and Odourless gas, its accumulative and harmful to humans.
- Dosage may vary depending upon insect species, but 48gm/Cu mtr for 24 hours is done normally on the pallets for exports.
Monitoring of the concentration of these gases are important because any leakage can send the entire fumigation process for a toss. Monitoring tubes should be crush proof, preferably of nylon hydraulic tubing material.
Degassing of the fumigation area be it a stack, warehouse or a container must be carried our properly with record of residual gas monitored for concentrations to be lower that the harmful range, before any human of animal be allowed to enter the marked area. On completion of fumigation process the fumigation operator must vent the fumigant from the fumigation enclosure. They can do this either through natural airing or through forced ventilation with the use of fans.
At the end of successful fumigation the fumigation agent will issue a fumigation certificate in the format as prescribed in the NSPC Annexures in confirmation with these standards.
Nobody should be allowed to smoke, eat or drink in the area even after the completion of the fumigation process for at least 3 hours.
For Exports, we need to be 100% sure and we have little time so we use MBr globally as a fumigation gas, but for domestic storage, where we are not in hurry to ship and we can leave the covers for 8–10 days, the guidance we have is to use AlP only. We learnt about the criticality of handling MBr in our last blog but handling AlP is also not a child’s play, although it is not as dangerous as MBr but it has its own precautions and limitations of use.
While doing ship fumigation, the fumigation operator must organise a meeting with the captain of the ship to discuss about the details of fumigation procedure and the cargo required to be fumigated.
Also the fumigation operator is required to conduct an initial discussion with the responsible ship’s officer must be carried out to seek information and access to areas of ship, which may be needed to ensure a safe and effective fumigation. Also discuss plans for evacuating all crew from the ship.
It is the responsibility of the fumigation operator to comply with all local, state, national and international maritime regulations and knowing what not to be done.
We have a lot of chemicals being used around us, but as a common man we are not aware about their short term and long term adverse effects on our own health or the environment. A large number of substances in use are dangerous to the health of living beings as well as contaminating soil, ground water or air. Therefore these substances must be handled carefully by experts only and all fumigation jobs are to be carried out by the accredited fumigation operator.
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