Dangerous pesticide still being sold on black market years after ban

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The Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals Control Board (PTCCB) says although the insecticide known locally as “3-steps” or Tres Pastois has been banned for over 10 years in Antigua and Barbuda, the Board continues to receive reports and sees cases where the item is sold on the black market.

According to PTCCB, 3-steps, which is often used as a rodenticide and contains the active ingredient Aldicarb – for which there is no antidote – is highly toxic to humans and pets. 

Registrar of Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals within the ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs, Jonah Ormond, told our newsroom that in the interest of public safety it is important to remind people that 3-steps is a prohibited substance.

“We are still seeing incidents in the public where people are using it and selling it on the black market or the underground, so we believe that there is a need to advise people or remind them that it is a banned substance and that it could pose a risk or a hazard to human health and the environment,” Ormond stated.

He said the product could easily be mistaken for food, thereby posing an even greater threat to the public.

“It looks almost like rice; it could easily be mistaken for food and, to make the situation even more grave, it is being sold on the black-market which means that it is repackaged and sold in packages where it is not labeled, and that makes it easier to be mistaken for something else. Imagine if some child gets a hold of it or it accidentally went into some food preparation,” the registrar noted.

“There are incidences where we have encountered people selling it in the same establishment where they sell food to the public,” he added.

The PTCCB is further reminding the public that the importation, sale and use of banned or unregistered chemical products is an offence liable on summary conviction to fines up to $25,000 or to imprisonment for up to 12 months – or both.

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