Just Asking: Why are mosquito coils so expensive now? And weren't they banned?

Samoa News has received calls about mosquito coils — asking why are they expensive now that they are being sold again on island, and why is there a shortage of coils, when ZIKA, Dengue, and other assorted mosquito-borne diseases are common on island.

Samoa News reached out to AS-EPA for answers, as one of our callers said he was told that it was the AS-EPA that had banned their sale on island.

REPLY:

According to the AS-EPA Air & Land Division Manager, William Sili, mosquito coils are not banned on island.

However, the AS-EPA does not allow the use and sale of any pesticide products, including mosquito coils that do not have valid US EPA Registration and Establishment Numbers.  (Note: There may be some instances where a product had a US EPA Registration and Establishment number in the past, but it was later cancelled by the US EPA).

He said, the AS-EPA is currently working with importers (e.g. wholesale/retail store owners, private companies, public) on ensuring that any pesticides products, including mosquito coils, that are proposed for use and sale in American Samoa comply with US EPA and AS-EPA rules and regulations governing pesticides.

The sample of the mosquito coil dropped off by one of our readers asking about mosquito coils was “FAMILY” Citronella Mosquito Repellent Coils. Samoa News asked the AS-EPA if it was acceptable, to which Sili replied “yes”.

AS-EPA has approved the FAMILY Citronella Mosquito Repellant Coil product as shown in the photo/ graphic, which has been approved by the US EPA.

He said the Active Ingredient (Citronella) for this product is exempted under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 25b. The label is approved by the US EPA Headquarter’s Pesticide Office.

According to Sili there are two other brands that have been approved for sale on island. They are the “KING Citronella Mosquito Repellent Coils” product and another called the “PIC Mosquito Repelling Coils”.

The PIC brand does require a US EPA Registration and Establishment Number due to its Active Ingredient, while the KING Citronella brand is similar to the FAMILY Citronella brand, with an exemption due to their Active Ingredient — Citronella.

Based on the information given out by Sili, Samoa News notes to make sure it’s a safe product to use, you should go to the back of the package, and see if you can find an EPA Reg. number – usually found at the bottom of the package. The FAMILY and KING Citronella brands will not have such a number, but they should be safe according to the EPA exemption.

Of importance is that on the back of the mosquito coils products are the safety measures that should be taken while using the product. For example, all three products warn: To Keep Out of Reach of Children; that they are outdoor products, not for use in an enclosed area such as the inside of a house; how to store the coils safely; and all three have graphics that show how to safely light the coil.

As to the price of mosquito coils on island — that’s a supply & demand issue. Right now, Samoa News found the product varies from store to store, when it can be found. It has a price tag of nothing lower than 80¢, which is about 20¢ higher than the old product used to be. However, it’s certainly cheaper than the DEET products, which average around $7 per can or bottle spray.

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